Was negligence the real crime?
Last last week, the WBC announced that Luis Ortiz – who was/is scheduled to face its heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, on November 4, at the Barclays Center in Brookyn, New York – had come up positive for two banned substances under the VADA testing program, in which he is enrolled.
To some, the news didn’t come as all that much of a surprise, given Ortiz’s history. Back in 2014, after his first round knockout of Lateef Kayode, he tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
Meanwhile, Ortiz and his team claimed what triggered the positive test results, this time around, was blood pressure medication. (Ironically, all this probably just made the Cuban’s blood pressure worse over the weekend).
As the news broke, Twitter was sent into a tizzy and many made jokes (guilty as charged here. I got off some doozies, if I say so myself) and the masses were quick to convict Ortiz. The assumption was that this fight would come off the board but, as of Tuesday evening, no final decision has been made on this bout, which is supposed to headline Showtime’s broadcast in early November and was one of the highlights of the fall schedule.
But there is a case to be made that perhaps Ortiz is telling the truth and he did indeed take this medication (from the notorious P.E.D. outlet Walgreens) for legitimate reasons.
On Monday night, Victor Conte (whose past as a P.E.D. mogul is well-known and whose current incarnation is as a anti-doping advocate) made a lengthy appearance on “The Next Round” podcast and he believes there is ample evidence that swings in Ortiz’s favor.
You can listen to Conte’s lengthy explanation here (he comes on at about eight minutes into the the show).
What Conte states is, based on his research and knowledge of such matters, the real crime was Ortiz’s team being negligent in not disclosing fully what medications its boxer was taking. It’s his opinion that the forms can be difficult to read and there may have been a bit of a language barrier. With that, he thinks this fight should go on.
“Absolutely, without a doubt the fight should happen and should there be a public warning? Was it a mistake to not fully disclose this and not fill it out properly and delegate this responsbility to others? I believe there’s negligence there but I also believe there’s negligence on behalf of these (VADA) forms they have to fill out and they don’t follow up and do an interview and give that second bite of the apple to say, ‘Are you sure these are all the medications or supplements?’ – just to go over the questionaire to kind of sign off on, ‘Yes, it is complete,” said Conte during his segment on The Next Round, which is co-hosted by Gabriel Montoya and Yours Truly.
Conte, who has experience in filling out such documents, continued, “Because my opinion is a lot of these enrollment forms are not complete when they come in. And then we find out now, with a positive test, that, when you look at the history here, it’s nothing more than taking blood pressure meds. So my opinion is if the WBC or the New York Athletic Commission or anybody cancels this fight – it’s a disaster for boxing. It’s very bad and a bad message.”
OK, that said, will this fight proceed? Boxing insiders believe it is trending in that direction. And there is this reality: Showtime and the Barclays Center want the best fight possible to headline this date and it will be downright impossible for them to find a realistic and suitable replacement on such short notice.
Now, some will state – with some legitimacy – that it’s a bad look for boxing to allow a fight to go on with a positive drug test in play. Well, this being boxing, there is already a precedent for fights being allowed to proceed in this situation. Most recently was the memorable fight between Orlando Salido and Francisco Vargas, in which Vargas tested positive for a banned substance, and, like other Mexican athletes, claimed it was a case of contaminated meat. Vargas was put into an accelerated drug program leading into the fight, as it still went off.
What’s ironic is, as the news of the positive test was revealed, from some reason, Wilder was cast not as the victim but the perpetrator. As if he signs up for difficult assignments (like he did against Alexander Povetkin) knowing his foes will come up dirty or he can magically conjure up positive results for his opponents beforehand. (I mean, this is some real Oliver Stone stuff here, folks).
It’s something that wasn’t lost on him as he Tweeted this out:
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) October 2, 2017
Perhaps it’s because his past title defenses, which can be charitably described as soft, have been held against him but Wilder has stated he is still willing to face the southpaw slugger.
Well, if he’s OK with it, why shouldn’t we be?
Less than a hundred tickets remain for the December 9 card at the Theater of Madison Square Garden, featuring the match-up between WBO junior lightweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko and WBA junior featherweight beltholder Guillermo Rigondeaux…It was made official on Tuesday at a New York City presser that the November 11 bout between middleweights Danny Jacobs and Luis Arias will take place at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island on HBO…”Curb Your Enthusiasm” hasn’t lost a step. It’s “lampin'”…CBS’ “Kevin Can Wait” is ruined without the character of Donna Gable. Erinn Hayes is owed an apology…Yeah, it’s time a team – namely the Raiders – signs this quarterback. C’mon, you know the guy, African-American, had early success, very controversial. Yeah RG3…It’s Miami-FSU week; I’m getting nervous…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.