But even when the opponent was in doubt and a potential payday for his fighter was in question, Ortiz’s manager, Rolando Arellano, said that he never second-guessed the contractual agreement to employ the strict guidlines of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
“Would I do it again? Absolutely,” Arellano told RingTV.com of the testing that was originally requested by Berto’s camp. “You have to look at the greater picture. It’s not just this fight and this fighter, it’s every fighter. It’s the safety, the integrity and raising the standard that we hold so close to our hearts. It’s about feeding the family. And if we can’t do that, then our sport is in a world of trouble. Let’s advance. Let’s take the next step forward.
“The reason is that this testing has been implemented for the safety of the fighters, and to make sure that one fighter does not have an advantage over another fighter. In our sport, an unfair advantage could be anything from cheating with a glove, a substance or something in vaseline or something. That could result in a dire injury to the other fighter.”
Berto’s infraction was the second straight to be discovered by VADA, which is run by president and founder Margaret Goodman and was contractually employed by the fighters through Golden Boy Promotions to randomly test the boxers’ blood and urine samples.
“If you are reluctant to hire someone or something that’s going to improve your sport and protect the safety of the fighter, then that’s a problem. That’s not what this is supposed to be about. The fighters are the essence of the sport. Without them, there’s no managers, no promoters and no boxing content,” said Arellano.
Arellano credits WBC welterweight and junior middleweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. for pushing the issue of random drug testing, which has been a factor in the past during failed negotiations with WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao has an ongoing lawsuit against Mayweather accusing him of defamation, asserting that the fighter has continued to insinuate publicly that Pacquiao’s success over eight weight classes is the result of having used PEDs.
Mayweather insisted that he and his his opponents were tested before his past two victories over Shane Mosley in May and Ortiz in September under Olympic-style random drug testing of urine and blood that was conducted by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
“We have Floyd Mayweather to thank for this. He said something. He said, ‘Hey, something is going on,’ whether his accusations of Manny Pacquiao are valid or not, this is a big issue beyond that,” said Arellano.
“But because of him, people are coming forward, and because of that, people are getting caught. At least we know that in VADA, we have something that catches the most minute illegal substances, and everyone should be put on notice.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org