The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations has taken full responsibility for its failure to test the four fighters in the title bouts of and HBO-televised broadcast from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.
Nonito Donaire won the WBO’s vacant junior featherweight belt with a split decision over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. successfully defended his WBC middleweight belt with a unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Rubio.
In an undercard bout, junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan stopped Troy Lowry in the third round. Although Martirosyan and Lowry were tested, none of the four title-bout performers were.
Why? The Texas commission has failed to return phone calls from RingTV.com for answers to that question.
But it appears that the organization simply forgot to book an anti-drug testing laboratory.
“The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation did not book the drug testing laboratory for the Top Rank event on February 4, 2012,” read a statement by Susan Stanford, Public Information Officer for Texas commission, in an excellent report by Gabriel Montoya of MaxBoxing.com.
“Specimens were taken from Lowry and Martirosyan, but in the absence of the independent testing laboratory the integrity of the samples could not be assured and they were destroyed. No further samples were taken. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation regrets this oversight and is addressing the procedure going forward.”
THE BLAME GAME
Initially, WBC President Jose Sulaiman and Texas commission chairman, Dicky Cole, took turns accepting responsiblity for the failure to the test fighters.
They can be seen arguing the point in this video, where, ultimately, Cole takes the blame.
“It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t the WBC’s fault,” Cole told Sulaiman. “It wasn’t the fighters fault. It wasn’t nobody’s fault. I am going to blame Dicky for not having the dope people here.”
On Monday, Jose’s son, WBC Secretary General, Mauricio Sulaiman, told RingTV.com the same thing.
“It is clear in our regulations that the local commission is the one responsible for contacting the laboratories and to have the people drug testing there. When the WBC goes to a jurisdiction, we always rely on the local commission to conduct the testing,” said Mauricio Sulaiman.
“The WBC followed its guidlines completely, and several times, the anti-doping matter came up. Specifically in the rules meetings with both camps. It was addressed, and the commission assured (us) that it would take samples. The first time the WBC knew that there was no testing was after the fight, when there was a protest by the Rubio camp.”
That point was further emphasized by Alberto Leon, the WBC’s on-site supervisor for Chavez-Rubio.
“The WBC rules specificly state that it is the commission’s exclusive province to collect and test samples. As a world boxing organization, we can’t go around hold cups and collecting samples from fighters,” said Leon.
“That’s the exclusive job of the commission. This was brought up twice. One time at the open meeting, and we had our officials’ meeting the day of the fight, which was a closed meeting, and we brought it up again at that meeting.”
Leon said that the subject of drug testing was first addressed during Friday’s weigh-in.
“During the rules meeting, when the anti-doping came up on my checklist, the commission representative person told me that there would be a single test taken from each fighter after the fight. The Rubio camp was there, the Chavez camp was there, the commission team was there and there were some on-lookers because those rules meetings were open to the public,” said Leon.
“I specifically have a checklist that I go through, and I asked the commission when the anti-doping tests were going to be conducted. I was told by the commission in a public setting that after the fight, they would collect samples. I wanted to make sure that the collection of samples would procede according to the rules, and I specifically asked when they collected the anti-doping samples, and they told me, ‘after the fight.'”
Dr. Margaret Goodman believes that the fault should be shared by the sanctioning organization as well as the commission.
“All of the years that I was a ringside doctor, part of the role of the sanctioning body supervisor is that he is the one that should have made sure,” said Goodman, a former ringside physician and Medical Advisory Board Chairman for the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“The sanctioning supervisor would come into the back before the fight and get your name and make sure that at least after the fight, that the fighter was going to be tested. Whether a fighter was tested or not in Nevada had nothing to do with the sanctioning organization’s request, but they would always ask, and that was part of the role of the supervisor.”