Not long ago, anytime steroids were mentioned it was affiliated with sports other than boxing. In recent years it was not unusual to hear the word steroids in the same sentences with professional body builders and wrestlers. It wasn’t until the last few decades that professional athletes such as track and baseball players started to get flagged. The days of flying below the radar with the use of steroids has begun to present its own challenges, even in professional boxing.
It’s rare that professional boxing is at the center of attention of sports and steroids. There is growing evidence that performance-enhancing substances have been a part of boxing discussions. Not just the recent headlines regarding Floyd Mayweather, JR., and Manny Pacquiao, but allegations of steroid use by boxers in the past.
There have been several stories in the news regarding steroids and professional
boxers. Many boxers have been stripped of titles because of testing positive after a fight. A while back the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Orlando Salido, who had a victory over Robert Guerrero to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight belt. Salido post fight urinalysis revealed the presence of the steroid, nandrolone, according to the news. Right around that time, Mariano Carrera tested positive for the anabolic steroid clenbuterol, following his victory over Javier Castillejo in Berlin for the World Boxing Association (WBA) junior middleweight title.
Back in 1995, Frans Botha of South Africa was stripped of the IBF heavyweight title belt after his victory over Axel Schulz. Frans Botha tested positive for steroids according to boxing news. Later, he and his camp claimed the drug had been prescribed for treatment of an arm injury. According to past boxing news, Roy Jones, JR., and Richard Hall both tested positive for the drug testosterone precursor androstendione after Jones defeated Hall to retain undisputed world light heavyweight championship in Indianapolis in 2000. Roy Jones and his camp claimed his positive test was the result of ingesting the supplement Ripped Fuel (A fat-burner supplement that could be dangerous if not used correctly).
In September 2002, Fernando Vargas dominated Oscar De La Hoya for the first several rounds of the fight, but was later knocked out by Oscar. Fernando Vargas was later suspended for nine months and fined $100,000 for testing positive for the steroid stanozolol after the fight. Vargas claimed the steroids were given to him without his knowledge. Vargas did accept full responsibility for the actions.
In 2005, WBA Heavyweight Champ John Ruiz lost a decision to James Toney, which was later ruled a no-contest after Toney tested positive for the drug nandrolone. According to boxing news around the sport Toney claimed the steroids were given to him by a doctor to treat an injured arm suffered during a previous fight.
Floyd Mayweather, JR., recently brought attention to the sport of boxing by requiring himself and Manny Pacquiao to be subject to Olympic style testing. That subject can be argued on both sides of the fence, mainly on Mayweather’s side because he was willing to be tested by those same procedures. The Olympic style testing that Mayweather wanted jeopardized many millions that both fighters could have cashed in on had they fought! As most people may know by now, what makes Olympic style testing different from other testing in professional sports is: they have year-round testing, that would be unannounced. Say, for example, if Olympic style testing was mandatory for professional boxing, there would be random unannounced testing from the time a boxer starts training camp all the way up until fight time. Maybe a cutoff period like one week before the fight and immediately tested right after the fight. It would not call for just a urinalysis, but also withdraw small amounts of blood, randomly.