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Pacquiao vs Rios: VADA to handle drug testing for November fight

VADA will be in charge of drug testing for the November 23 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios.

Jeff Bottari

VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) will handle extra drug testing for November's Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios fight in Macau, as promoter Bob Arum has chosen that agency over USADA, which has handled fights for Floyd Mayweather and most of Golden Boy's bouts in the past.

"We're going to use VADA. To me, we've had experience now in two fights with VADA, and they've conducted themselves extremely well. The fighters who have participated have nothing but praise for the way that it was handled. I'm going with the organization that I have a track record with rather than an organization that I have never used," said Arum.

"That's the point. It's the fighters who are the ones who are affected, and the reports that I received from the fighters in both of those fights -- from the winners and the losers and from everybody -- were very complimentary. In other words, the testing is very important, but it has to be done in a way that is compatible with the fighters' training."

I've got two real thoughts here:

  1. VADA being "easier" for fighters by not disrupting their routines or whatever isn't really the point. I get what Arum means, but drug testing should not be at the convenience of those being tested. I mean, that shouldn't really be a factor. It should be effectiveness.
  2. We're probably basically going to have a drug testing split, so you can add VADA to Team Top Rank/HBO, and USADA to Team Golden Boy/Showtime. Sooner or later I expect trainers, cut men, managers, mistresses, etc. to all have to pick one side or the other.

You'll probably recall that Golden Boy has not used VADA since they got positive tests last year from both Lamont Peterson and Andre Berto. Richard Schaefer had some kind of fit because of the way things were handled, which to VADA's knowledge was simply what was specified in the contract.

Since then, USADA has had Erik Morales test positive for clenbuterol last October, but he was allowed to fight anyway after eventually passing a test. Despite that ruling, Morales was later "suspended" by USADA, which the fighter has effectively ignored as he plans to fight on in Mexico.

I'm not saying one is better than the other, or that I don't trust USADA, or that I'm a Drugs Testings Experts, but I'm just saying if I had to put my own money on who I'd pick to handle the drug testing -- well, actually, I guess it depends on what my ultimate goal is.

Manny Pacquiao offered this:

"It's really important because, you never know, some fighters use drugs. It's really important to have drug testing."

Depending on your level of skepticism, this quote may be totally hilarious to you.

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