PETERSON AND HIS TESTOSTERONE
Dear Mr. Fischer:
One thing I don’t think I’ve seen is a definite answer as to whether using testosterone supplementation was against the rules for the fight [either the law of Washington D.C., the rules of the sanctioning body, or the contract between the fighters], or whether it was only a technical violation owing to failure to notify the commission/sanctioning body of the use of a substance that would have been allowed with notice of a doctor’s prescription. Any insight on that? My view is that if he broke a rule barring any use of the substance he should lose the belts and the bout should be a no-contest, but that if all he did was fail to notify the commission of the prescribed drug, he should be allowed to keep the belts and the W.
Another thing that troubles me is the assertion by those making excuses for Peterson that the steroids did not help his performance. Really? Then what are they meant to do? Testosterone can’t not help athletic performance–look at what a manufacturer of testosterone supplements [Abbott Laboratories; isitlowt.com] says on its web site are symptoms of low T: increase in body fat, reduced muscle mass, decrease in bone strength. Peterson looked ripped and thick, and he muscled Khan all over the ring in their first fight. I remember thinking that when I saw him that night. And I am supposed to buy the idea that steroids administered in November that were still elevating his testosterone levels in March had no impact on his performance in a December athletic event? I think not.
Even my strictly anecdotal experience with testosterone supplementation for ‘low T’ tells me no way. I am of an age where some of my friends are going to doctors for ‘low T’ supplementation and the changes to their bodies and their athletic performances are dramatic, even for weekend-warrior types with office jobs. One friend in his late 40s went on a supplement. He’s leaner and more muscular than he has been in years and is performing better than he has for years at the gym and in the sports he plays. If testosterone has that effect on a middle-aged non-athlete, I cannot imagine that it doesn’t have an impact on a professional elite athlete, where a small improvement in durability, muscle mass, workout intensity, etc., can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
Thanks for your thoughts on the subject, esp. the rules question. Sincerely. – Adam Warshaw
Thank you for emailing these good questions and observations to my mailbag, Adam. Before I even attempt to reply I want to state that I am WOEFULLY ignorant about performance enhancing drugs and the various anti-doping testing and athletic commission regulations that are currently in place to control it in boxing. (I am, however, gradually learning about the subject.)
If you want adequately educate yourself on PEDs, T/E ratios, testing methods, and the challenges the sport faces in catching boxers who cheat, I suggest you try to read everything MaxBoxing.com’s Gabriel Montoya has written on the Lamont Peterson situation (which he broke, by the way). You can just Google “Gabriel Montoya” and “Lamont Peterson” to get started. It might help to check out his Twitter page @Gabriel_Montoya and that of former PED pusher-turned-anti-doping crusader Victor Conte (@VictorConte), who is one of Montoya’s main sources.
Here’s my take on Peterson situation: I don’t think he believed he what he was doing was “cheating” – or akin to taking a PED (anabolic steroid, amphetamine, HGH, etc.) – but he knew that it was something that could be possibly be detected by state commission drug tests and cause questions. However, he had the procedure done and he didn’t tell anyone about it because he and his team were confident that that his testosterone levels wouldn’t be high enough for him to fail any drug test.
I agree with you that there’s no way that the testosterone pellets Peterson took late last year didn’t help him in the first fight with Amir Khan, and there’s no way it wasn’t going to help him in the rematch. How much it helped him is up for debate, but in an even boxing matchup – which is what Peterson-Khan is – a tiny bit of a physical advantage can be the difference between winning or losing a close decision (and the result of their first fight was indeed a close points verdict for Peterson).
Regarding what was specifically against the rules (and what ultimately cancelled the rematch), here’s how I understand it: it’s not necessarily against the rules for apro athlete to undergo the type of testosterone replacement treatment/therapy (TRT) that Peterson had (although I think it SHOULD be for those involved in combat sports), but they have to prove that they are replacing their body’s testosterone for a legitimate medical reason and that it’s needed to maintain their health and not to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents. This is process is known as – in the states that allow it – getting a “therapeutic use exemption” (or TUE).
Peterson did not do this prior to fighting Khan last December or prior to signing on for the rematch. He should have, especially for the rematch, which had VADA’s stringent pre-fight testing.
I haven’t read Peterson or Khan’s fight contracts, so I don’t know if failing one of VADA’s pre-fight drug tests was cause enough to cancel the rematch. What ultimately nixed the May 19 fight was the complications the failed drug test, and Peterson’s subsequent admission that he had TRT, placed on his being licensed in the state of Nevada. All boxers wishing to fight in Nevada much annually reapply for a license from the NSAC, which had some questions for Peterson. The earliest commission hearing that could be organized was May 15 (tomorrow), which was cutting it way too close to know if Khan had a licensed opponent or not in the eyes of Golden Boy Promotions, the lead promoter of the bout.
“If Khan’s testosterone levels were close to Peterson’s he would have failed his VADA test. Obviously they are not close.”
Regarding the above quote from your mailbag – I just wanted to point out that Peterson did not test positive because his testosterone levels were abnormally high, but because he had a synthetic form of testosterone in his system, which was specifically tested for by VADA using the CIR method. Cheers. – Kelvin
Thanks for the clarification, Kelvin.
LAMPLEY’S FIGHT GAME
I have been looking forward to Lampley’s new HBO program and I have to say, I enjoyed the show. I read a lot of the postings below many of the stories on The Ring’s website and it’s clear that there are more than a few out there who don’t care for Jim or his commentary. Watching the premiere episode was kinda like sitting with another fan, and talking about the sport you really love.
I felt he presented good info. The feature with Max Kellerman was interesting as well as the bit with Roy Jones detailing what Manny Pacquiao had to do to avoid the Billy goat like head butts of Tim Bradley, a fear I have chronicled in a previous letter to you. Roy’s analysis was spot on and I will bet you right now that butts become a factor in that fight….but I digress. I also thought Lampley’s run down of Floyd Mayweather’s recent opposition as being too old, faded or small was also right on the mark and then Richard Schaefer came out sounding like a Golden Boy company hack while disagreeing with Jim’s thoughts on the subject sounding like he was reading from a script (poorly)…..and Bob Arum…WTF???… looked and sounded like he was on downers or something (jet lag maybe?) The rants of both those men shed no light on whether the fight we would all like to see will ever happen. That’s boxing politics, I guess.
Still, I enjoyed the show and look forward to the next episode. As for Jim Lampley from a fight fan’s view, maybe I am a little biased. I have been watching Jim call the fights for a long time and like his call. Yeah he gets excited sometimes but so did Howard Cosell (the best ever). That just adds to the buzz in the air during the fight. I also spoke to Lampley once when he sat in for Jim Rome on his radio show which was carried here for awhile. We broke down the Trinidad/Mayorga fight (quite awhile ago) and had fun with it. He did, though, get a little defensive when I said that a great fighter does not necessarily make a great commentator and that George Foreman was probably the worst ever. I still think that. Anyway…. what did you think of the show? I come from a football town and there aren’t many people I can share my boxing jones with so this show and our cyber rants are big fun for me. (You’ve got a great job, ya know?) …and speaking of Cosell, go to YouTube and check out his call of Round 7 of Holmes vs Snipes or the ONLY round of Shavers vs Norton.
THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about. I saw those when they happened. Ya gottalove it! – David / Nashville
I know what you’re talking about, regarding Cosell’s boxing commentary (when he was excited). I still remember his calls on fights involving Muhammad Ali,George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard in the late 1970s. However, my all-time favorite boxing commentators, which include Al Bernstein, Tim Ryan and the late, great Gil Clancy, rarely went “ape s__t” during the fights.
Having said that, I must admit that I’m an unabashed Lampley fan. His eloquence and passion for the sport, plus his amazing broadcast talent, is enough to make me overlook his occasional cheer leading.
It was refreshing to hear him criticize Mayweather’s cautious matchmaking in recent years at the start of the show. I was hoping he would defend his position when Schaefer disagreed with him – and I wanted him to state that all of the potential Mayweather opponents that Schaefer mentioned (aside from Andre Berto) were Golden Boy fighters – but I think his aim is to allow boxing insiders to have their time in front of a general audience without being challenged. I think he just wants to be balanced with the insiders and opinions that he presents.
I agree that both U.S. boxing power brokers (Schaefer and Arum) came off as biased and awkward, but in a way that was an education for casual fans who wonder why Pacquiao-Mayweather hasn’t happened yet. After seeing and hearing Richard and Bob sweat it out under the TV lights, I think they have a better understanding of messed up the situation is.
I also enjoyed the show and I thought it got better after the interviews with the promoters. Kellerman and Jones were engaging and insightful. I hope Lampley brings them back often (I’m sure he will). (I think Max should have at least mentioned Sergio Martinez as a potential Mayweather opponent before pushing for a rematch with Cotto.)
I liked the concept of the “Gatti List.” Only next time I’d like to see fight clips of the fighters who are on the list, and I think it can do without Mayweather (because Cotto – who actually has a history of thrilling fights – deserves most of the credit for making their bout entertaining).
No question, just an opinion really – but I’d certainly be interested to get your thoughts on the topic…
I think it’s great how specific boxing divisions go through peaks and valleys in terms of the quality of fighters that inhabit said division at any certain time. In recent times, the Junior-Welterweight bracket, Bantamweight and also the Super-Middleweight division all stood out as deep divisions, and importantly they all contained willing-to-fight-anyone boxers.
I currently think that the Junior-Middleweight division has quietly gone about developing itself into one of these weight classes. I’m not 100% convinced that the willingness I just mentioned is there with all its current members, but the potential that lies at 154lbs, if nothing else, is exciting.
The quality of guys like Mayweather, Cotto and Saul Alvarez speaks for itself obviously, but just under them you have guys like James Kirkland and Paul Williams, who have always been willing to fight any one, any place, any time. Two very interesting, yet currently over-shadowed, champions in Cornelius Bundrage and Austin Trout are waiting to be truly tested. There’s also Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martiorsyan, guys who seem to just need that one big win to really get themselves moving, and also Carlos Molina and Alfredo Angulo, very capable 154lbers, who are both looking to bounce back from losses. There’s also the likes of Carlos Quintana and Cory Spinks – who just refuse to go away!
I honestly believe that the Junior-Middleweight division’s moment is just around the corner. All it’ll take is for the guys I’ve mentioned above to all step up to their respective plates and deliver for the fans. Here’s hoping!
For the record, here’s how I currently rank the division:
1. Floyd Mayweather, jr
2. Miguel Cotto
3. Saul Alvarez
4. Erislandy Lara
5. Paul Williams
6. James Kirkland
7. Cornelius Bundrage
8. Vanes Martirosyan
9. Alfredo Angulo
10. Austin Trout
Kind regards. – Callum, England
There’s no doubt that the 154-pound division is loaded with potential. If the right bouts are made (Mayweather vs. Sergio Martinez, Cotto vs. Alvarez, Kirkland vs. Williams) it will explode and become one of the premiere divisions of the sport.
I think there’s a good chance that will happen. Bundrage and Trout are getting the opportunity to advance on high-profile summer cards (K9 faces Spinks again under the Guerrero-Aydin match in July, and Trout takes on Delvin Rodriguez on the June 2 Showtime quadrupleheader). Alvarez might face Kirkland in a PPV main event in September, and if Canelo wins the plan is to make the showdown with Cotto in December. These fights will spark action among the top dogs in the division (good top 10 list, by the way).
Right now, everyone is focused on fighting Mayweather, Cotto or Alvarez because they bring in the most money, but if the lesser known junior middleweights fight they will create new stars – or at the very least a marketable challenger for one of the three attractions in the division. For example, if Trout and Bundrage win their next bouts and then face each other in a partial unification bout, the winner will marketable enough to entice Lara or Martirosyan to challenge him. The winner of that bout will have enough clout to earn a shot at Williamson or Kirkland. The winner of that bout might get a shot at Canelo & Co.
And fans will get a lot of really good matchups along the way.
MAYWEATHER VS. DURAN
How do you see the 35 y.o. Mayweather doing against a 35 y.o. Duran? – Gopal
Interesting question. I would pick Duran in a heartbeat if you asked who would win in their primes at lightweight or welterweight. However, by specifying an advanced age, the only weight this mythical matchup could take place at would be junior middleweight, which was not one of Duran’s better divisions. Duran was hit and miss at 154 pounds.
Who wins this make-believe fight depends on what version of the 35-year-old Duran showed up. The undertrained version that lost to Robbie Sims at middleweight and struggled with Jeff Lanas at super middleweight would get outpointed by Mayweather, who is always in tip-top condition for his fights.
However, I assume that mythical matchups are supposed to involve the participants at their best, even at advanced ages.
I believe the mid-to-late 30s version of Duran that narrowly lost to Marvin Hagler and upset Iran Barkley in middleweight title bouts (both of which he weighed in at 156½ pounds the day of the fights) would clearly outpoint Mayweather in a competitive junior middleweight bout.
HAYE VS. CHISORA + AVENGERS
Long time reader, first time writer. I’m curious as to your reaction to the upcoming Haye-Chisora showdown, specifically the fact that it’s taking place outside the jurisdiction of the British Board of Control. I admit I’ll watch the fight but so what?
People stare at car crashes too. It doesn’t make it right. Due to the public demand to see those two square off nobody seems to care about the Luxemburg Boxing Board basically over-ruling that of the country where the fight will take place. Imagine if they had granted Tyson a license back in ’97 just because there was a market for a third fight with Holyfield. Don King must be kicking himself for not thinking of it before Frank Warren did. Or worse still, what if a foreign board had decided to license Luis Resto back in the ’80s just because people would have paid to see him get his comeuppance after the Billy Collins travesty?
I know Warren is desperate for big events to get subscribers for his Boxnation channel (which is great incidentally) and that he started his career promoting unlicensed bouts but this whole thing still leaves a sour taste in the mouth. A dirty business just got a little dirtier.
On a lighter note I’ve just got back from viewing the Avengers (or Marvel’s Avengers Assemble as it’s called in the UK) and was totally blown away by it. I didn’t think it would live up to my expectations but it surpassed them. What did you think of it? Hope to see you in the UK soon.Best wishes. – Steve Done
Mark my words, Steve. I’ll cover a major bout in the UK before I’m done covering this dirty but oh-so-fascinating sport.
I’m sad to report that I still have not seen The Avengers, which is just wrong for a diehard comic book fanatic. However, one bright side to Peterson-Khan II being cancelled is that a busy week became another slow one. I should be able to find the time this week to finally assemble my geeky ass with some fellow adult comic nerds in a local theater to watch Hulk (and company) get thier smash on.
Regarding Haye-Chisora, I guess I’ve become a jaded old boxing writer because I had no doubt that this heavyweight bout would happen after their melee during the Klitschko-Chisora post-fight press conference.
I think Warren (and Haye) wanted the near-unsanctioned bare-knuckle scrap with Chisora (who is a bit crazy) to happen, and the moment Del Boy jumped out of his seat both guys had dollar signs in their eyes. And while I’m vehemently against press conference/media event brawls, because of the danger it presents to the press, fans and innocent bystanders, I thought the BBBoC’s decision to strip Chisora of his license was overly harsh.
Chisora can be a loose cannon, and he was in need of discipline, but I don’t equate what he has done with what Tyson did against Holyfiled or with the evil act that Resto took part in with his bout against Collins.
Chisora did not mutilate his opponent during a fight as did Tyson, who was only out of boxing for one year (1998) follow his infamous ear bite, and he’s never cheated in a manner that jeopardized his opponent’s health and life as Resto did.
It would be nice if Warren could have held off on this anticipated British grudge match and worked something out with the BBBoC, but truth be told, I’ll be watching on July 14 with or without the blessing of the governing body of professional boxing in the UK.
AM I INSANELY BIASED?
I have to ask this, and see what you think.
I cannot see Mayweather beating any all time great fighter above 130. I also see him losing big against some of them. If he had trouble with Jose Luis Castillo, what the heck would JC Chavez have done to him? If he had trouble with Cotto, what would Duran have done to him?
De La Hoya, although, losing, troubled him enough to make it impossible for me to see him beating Tommy Hearns, Ray Leonard, or Wilfredo Benitez.
Cotto’s jab? Pfft, try Pernell Whitaker’s jab, Haha. Ricky Hatton ran him around for 6 rounds; Aaron Pryor would have run him right out of the ring!
I’m not saying he isn’t a great fighter, in a sneaky guile sort of way, at these weights, but, he isn’t an all-timer in anything other than the Jr. Lightweight division. I think he could have beaten Azumah Nelson, and Alexis Arguello at Jr. Lightweight.
Am I being insanely biased against him? Regards. – Fred
I think you might be asking the wrong guy, Fred. LOL. I see the same things you see in Mayweather, a terrific blend of natural ability, skill and technique, but nothing top fighters of previous decades couldn’t handle.
That makes me a “hater” to a lot of people, including some of boxing writer peers. So be it. To be truthful, I don’t even believe some of these veteran fight scribes who proclaim Mayweather to be an all-time great, especially those who scored the De La Hoya bout a draw and thought Floyd only won the Cotto bout by a 115-113 margin (you probably know who they are).
It’s real simple: if you don’t think Mayweather can clearly beat the 2007 version of De La Hoya or decisively outpoint the 2012 version of Cotto there’s NO FREAKIN’ WAY you should be able to envision Floyd beating the likes of Leonard, Hearns, Pryor, Whitaker.
I gotta be honest with you, I thought Mayweather beat both De La Hoya and Cotto by 116-112 scores, but I know enough about this sport not to even put him in the same sentence as true all-time great badasses like Leonard and Hearns. Cotto, a short fighter with short arms, average hand and foot speed and a penchant for getting hit, put HANDS on Mayweather and made Mayweather miss. So I KNOW what would have happened if the Hitman or Sugar Ray were in there with him.
I wonder how Mayweather would have fared against the best of late 1990s/early 2000s – the prime De La Hoya (at 135, 140 and 147) and Shane Mosley (at 135), Kostya Tszyu (at 140), Joel Casamayor and Acelino Freitas (at 130 and 135), Stevie Johnston (at 135), Ike Quartey and Felix Trinidad (at 147). I don’t need to look further back in time.
I agree that Mayweather was the truth at junior lightweight (I still would have liked to see him unify titles against Freitas after “Popo” narrowly outpointed Casamayor). I agree that he had the style to beat Arguello at 130, but I think the junior lightweight version of Nelson would have defeated him.
ALL TIME GREATS
i’ve been reading your mailbags for almost a year now. they are already included in my monday and friday habit. it’s my first time to write on you. Anyways, i just have a few questions. i’ll keep it simple:
1. what is the proper game plan to beat mayweather? is there any other way to break that defense?
2. who do you think among the past and present fighters (all time great or not) can beat floyd?
3. lastly, i don’t know if anyone had ever asked you this but… who is your top 5 all time greats?
that’s all doug. thanks and keep up the good work. – Arthur
I’ll try, Arthur. And I’ll answer your questions in order:
1. There is no “proper gameplan” to beating Mayweather. It’s a mistake for any boxer to fight outside of his normal style when facing Floyd. You either have the style, skills, talent and experience to beat him or you don’t (and most active fighters in his weight classes lack the necessary ingredients). However, some physical tools help in getting to Mayweather: a good jab, solid whiskers, comparable speed, and a busy (but not reckless) offense. Steady pressure is good, but only if it is preceded by a world-class jab. A body attack is also necessary but it has to be a smart and accurate.
2. LOTS of fighters from past decades had “the stuff” to beat Mayweather, too many to mention. I believe former beltholders that other boxing writers would never bring up – such as Buddy McGirt, Marlon Starling, Hector Camacho, and Edwin Rosario – would have outpointed or KO’d the future hall of famer. It goes without saying, IMO, that the Fab Five of the late-‘70s/‘80s – Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and Benitez – would have spanked or totally destroyed “Money.” But that’s all opinion and speculation. All that really matters is who can beat Mayweather right now. The only two active fighters I’d pick to beat Floyd are Martinez and Pacquiao (in that order).
3. Ray Robinson, Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong, Sam Langford, and Muhammad Ali.
Email Dougie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer