Drug testing has been one of the hottest topics in boxing for the last three years or so, since Floyd Mayweather brought USADA into the sport before he faced Shane Mosley in 2010. With VADA joining the fight in the last couple of years, performance enhancing drugs and the lack of effective testing by state commissions have been a major recurring headline in the sport.
This Saturday night, Timothy Bradley defends his WBO welterweight title against Ruslan Provodnikov on HBO, with VADA handling extra testing for the bout at Bradley's request. In an interview with Black Sports Online, Bradley said he wants to see expanded testing become the norm:
"Floyd Mayweather started this a while back. I think every athlete should be tested, especially when you are at the top level of the game. I think it's very important to know that you're going into a fight and it's fair. I think it's a way of weeding out the fake and showing people that I'm clean. I think it's edge to use performance enhancing drugs, I'm not using it so why should they? If a fighter doesn't want to take the drug test then somethings up. There's a lot of athletes out there that don't want to take the drug test; then guess what, you're not fighting Tim Bradley."
BSO: Do you believe that Boxing is doing enough to combat PED use?
"I think that each commission should do multi-test, whether they use one organization or two that do all of the drug testing. They need to work with these people to make sure all of these athletes are safe and that it's fair. Boxing is different than most sports out there. There's a lot of different promoters and organizations and it's hard to keep control of everything. There's really no one looking out for all of the fighters. I think that the boxing commissions really need to get involved."
Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) hits the nail on the head here when it comes to the almost anarchistic way that boxing operates. Promoters control the game, and the state commissions just haven't done a good enough job keeping up with the advancement of performance-enhancing drugs. Anyone who knows what they're doing can beat these drug tests and have a fighter in the ring with a chemical edge. Those who fail state drug tests, at this point, did it wrong somewhere along the way.
And yes, top guys in the cheating field could beat USADA and VADA tests, too, most likely. But the margin is much slimmer there. What they do is so far ahead of what the commissions do at the moment.
Sports will probably never be truly clean. Drugs will always be a half-step ahead of testing, it would seem. But to not use the best available testing just makes it all that much easier for an athlete who wants to get ahead that way. In a perfect world, USADA or VADA would be contracted to handle year-round testing for boxers, but it's hard to get it all together. If Top Rank wanted one thing, Golden Boy would probably want the other, and vice versa. Getting everyone on the same ship would be a major task.