Deontay Wilder and Shawn Porter were among the most vocal of five top boxing names gathered for a discussion of performance-enhancing drugs in boxing, each man calling for a lifetime ban for those who fail drug tests.
The discussion comes in the wake of Jarrell Miller failing three drug tests and losing a June 1 fight with Anthony Joshua. Mikey Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz, and Caleb Plant also shared their thoughts.
Deontay Wilder: “I might not be the perfect guy to answer these questions because of my experience with these guys. Guys like that, drug cheats, they’ve made me miss out on a lot of money. They’ve made me go in some of my toughest moments in my career, sit back and reconsider boxing. Sit back, like, ‘Why is this happening to me? Why do these guys wanna cheat with me? Since I don’t have all the tools and the necessary need for boxing, why do they have to cheat for me?’ All this stuff goes through my head. I don’t have no place in my heart for a cheat. This sport is very serious and I’m one of the people always talking about risking our lives in the ring. When a guy uses any type of thing to make his body perform how it’s not supposed to, I don’t have no respect for you. Nobody knows who this guy is, and then he gets the opportunity of a lifetime! I’m so passionate about it because I’m disappointed in him. I’m not disappointed because of the fight, I’m not disappointed because of boxing, I’m disappointed because he allowed his family not to receive this blessing. And he has kids! But you know how it is, if you bless a foolish man, it becomes a curse.”
Leo Santa Cruz: “He’s not just affecting himself, he’s affecting his family. That’s what he works for, to support his family. So you’re gonna think bad of him. I don’t know why you take PEDs — you know they’re gonna come up sooner or later. Me, I have never done a thing like that.”
Mikey Garcia: “I’ve never obviously dealt with anything like that, so I don’t know if there are any benefits to taking them. Apparently sometimes there could be benefits, maybe sometimes it doesn’t help you. We are professional fighters, professional boxers, who know the risks of getting in the ring. And if I consciously take something that can improve my performance to hurt my opponent more, that’s a serious threat. That’s something real serious that shouldn’t be ignored. It’s not to be played with. Punishments, I mean, you have to suspend the fighter. I don’t know about indefinite, but there should be some hard consequences for them.”
Caleb Plant: “I feel like for one, it’s a lack of confidence in yourself and in your skills. If you’re at the top of the sport, as (Miller) claimed to be, he’s a man who can do this, he can do that. But then you try to up your abilities, why don’t you believe in your abilities in the first place? Secondly, I don’t know about indefinitely, that’s strong, that’s big.”
Deontay Wilder: “This man wanted popularity, he wanted fame, it just came in the worst ways for him. I don’t feel sorry for him. Not at all! What made him look so bad, he want to accuse (Anthony Joshua) of doing something like that, then he’s doing it. I know a lot of guys that does it, this is not the first one. And guess what? When this drug came out and got banned, guess what, another drug just came out. They just don’t have the technology to detect it right now, but they will. It keeps coming out and these guys keep doing it, it’s gonna be a real cycle. Only way it’s gonna stop is if somebody puts a real end to it. And he’s got to be the example, otherwise it ain’t gonna stop! ... Lifetime ban for sure. I’m so passionate about it because — man, you got an opportunity of a lifetime! Life-changing money! Win, lose, or draw, you go home with that! Come on, bro. Come on, man. ... We gotta stop being soft. We gotta stop being soft on this situation, because everybody always talks about, ‘We gotta wait until the facts come out.’ Nah, we know the facts! Lifetime ban! Count me in!”
Leo Santa Cruz: “I think if they catch you a second time, yeah. Maybe the first time, no, but if they catch you again.”
Caleb Plant: “Maybe a two- or three-strike thing. Clearly this is a reoccurring thing.”
Mikey Garcia: “If you get caught multiple times, then it should be possibly a lifetime ban. Just like in other cases, where they’ve messed with the gloves or the handwraps, and they get suspended, at times even lifetime. That can be taken — depending on the situation and the circumstances around that fighter.”
Shawn Porter: “We have every means possible to find out what we’re taking, if it’s legal, if it’s illegal. If you take something that’s illegal, that’s a fault on your behalf. I think it should be a lifetime ban.”