Recent events in boxing have made for some strange pugilistic bedfellows.
Nice guy boxers have been failing drug tests, the biggest drug cheat in the history of the sporting world is being naively hailed as a hero, and media members who once vehemently opposed forced mandatory testing are now championing the cause.
But the strangest of all developments has Top Rank founder and CEO, Bob Arum, assuming a vocal role as boxing reformer amid the chaos generated around his own shows and by his own fighters.
First, the aged promoter intercepted the scorching heat generated by the controversial Bradley-Pacquiao decision and self-righteously called for a thorough investigation, which, predictably, led nowhere.
Most recently, Arum pounced on the issue of performance enhancing drug (PED) testing, a topic he aggressively avoided when talks were ongoing for a bout between his fighters, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. As a matter of fact, it was this issue and an unwillingness to even address true random testing that killed the mega-fight and prevented future talks from taking place. Now, though, Arum has apparently seen the light.
Of course, his great PEDs revelation goes hand in hand with a promotional talking point for one of his fighters, but has anyone come to expect any less?
Top Rank fighter, Nonito Donaire, who is preparing to face Jeffrey Mathebula this Saturday, made headlines when he offered himself up as the first boxer to voluntarily submit to year-round PEDs testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA).
It must be noted, however, that Donaire works with notorious convicted PEDs provider, Victor Conte, who, in turn, is an independent adviser to the same agency pegged to test the fighter.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Arum's all for PEDs testing now and he's vocal about his support.
"I think that Victor Conte has a big influence on (Nonito) and I really believe that Victor really wants to have good testing now," Arum told assembled reporters during a Donaire-Mathebula media day. "People point out Victor's background which was certainly there but I think that Victor is a reformed guy. And for me, nobody knows what they are talking about more than Conte does. He really knows the subject. And his idea is to have boxing be a clean sport without all this demagoguery that goes on."
Arum would go on to flat-out endorse random testing "for everyone involved in boxing."
One has to wonder whether Arum's new found sense of urgency to even the playing field in boxing applies to Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who actually did test positive for a banned substance in 2009.
My guess is that Arum's role as the great reformer ends where his own self interest begins.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Teri Thompson, Boxing promoter Bob Arum supports Victor Conte's push for better drug testing, New York Daily News
- Sports & Recreation
- Bob Arum
- Manny Pacquiao
- Victor Conte
- Nonito Donaire