BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Within a few minutes after stepping off the scale at Friday’s weigh-in for Saturday night’s rematch with RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, Erik Morales expressed supreme confidence that their “fight is on” despite threats of a pullout by Garcia’s camp in the wake of a drug testing controversy.
“We’re still waiting for the result, but I’m not worried, at all. I know what’s going on. The fight is going to happen. I’m not worried about anything,” said Morales. “I am clean. I don’t have anything illegal. I have been boxing for 19 years. I’m very sure. I’m very relaxed because I know this.”
The 24-year-old Garcia and his father and trainer, Angel Garcia, told RingTV.com that they would not go through with facing Morales after he failed a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) pre-fight screening if his “B” sample returned positive when they expected to receive the results on Friday evening.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer told RingTV.com that he was “informed late on Tuesday night by USADA that they found some irregularities in an A sample from Erik Morales,” adding that, “on Wednesday…the respective camps and the commission were informed accordingly by USADA.”
The “A” sample from Morales, who lost by unanimous decision to Garcia in March, had shown up positive for small traces of Clenbuterol, a decongestant agent sometimes used to lose weight. Morales, 36, who missed the 140-pound limit by two pounds for the clash with Garcia in March, weighed 139.2 on Friday compared to 139.8 for Garcia.
During the moments after weighing in at Barclays Center, site of Saturday night’s nine-fight card, Morales was hustled by Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker, Eric Gomez, into a into a secluded area of the building.
While there, he spoke to a representative of USADA, who appeared to assure him that the fight would go on, according to Morales.
“I just spoke to USADA, which is something that I don’t have to tell you guys, but I’m going to tell you this. I just got a call from USADA, and they said that I don’t have to worry and that everything is okay,” said Morales, through interpreter Ramon Gonzalez. “Everything is okay. You’re not guilty until we prove that you are guilty, and the commission already has accepted the fight, so the fight is on.”
“Pacquiao, Barrera, I’ve been involved in great fights, and I’ve never failed any drug test. When have you guys ever heard me having problems? I’ve never tested dirty. Ever. I’m relaxed because I’m clean,” said Morales.
“I don’t have nothing. Never in my life have I ever done something illegal. I have 19 years in boxing and never have I put something illegal in my body. I’m very sure I’m not going to test positive.”
Morales admits that one of the test results may have been attributed to something he ate.
“I’m going to tell you that in Mexico, they have a big, big problem with that, whatever it is called, Clenbuteral, in the meat. They use it to fatten the cows,” said Morales.
“Last year, the Mexican soccer team had to suspend six players, and they were tested in the United States. But for the past 10 days, I have not eaten any meat. Only fish.”
Schaefer said he is simply waiting for USADA’s process to play out.
“What they’re going to be doing is that the results from these samples were taken on Oct. 3, but further tests were taken on Oct. 10, and then, another one, three days ago. So what Angel is referring to is that by tonight, we should have the results of that Oct. 10, and the test from three days ago. What he’s saying is that if those test positive as well, then he will pull Danny Garcia out of the fight. So I think what is important as well,” said Schaefer.
“USADA is crucial in the process. There might be very small traces of a certain substance which is consistent with food contamination, and that, of course, is different than if you inject yourself with a testosterone pellet. But, if the Oct. 10 test and the one from three days ago show those same traces, then, one of course has to say, ‘hold on,’ how can you have every test have the same food contamination? So then, that raises suspicion and question marks. But that is obviously not the case, and there is no rush to judgement, and USADA and the New York Athletic Commission are doing a terrific job, and, so, yes, we have a fight.”
Angel Garcia concurred.
“We’re waiting for a test from Oct. 10 and the one from two days ago, and we’ll get that tonight. Salt Lake City is expressing it to us. It usually takes two weeks, but they’re doing that so this fight can go on,” said Angel Garcia.
“It was steroids. That’s what it was. That s__t [Clenbuterol.] We can’t accuse the man on that. We have to wait for [tonight's results.] If it comes back positive, then the fight is over. Money’s nothing to me. Danny’s life means everything to me. Danny could still whoop his a__ on any poison he wants to put into his body.”
In the meantime, Schaefer, like Morales, expressed confidence that the fight will happen.
“If he is just hearing from USADA, then that would indicate that the followup samples, the Oct. 10 and the one from three days ago, will in fact come back negative, and if that’s the case, then there is a fight,” said Schaefer.
“USADA needs to talk to the fighters first before they speak to me. Based on everything that I’ve heard from everybody involved, meaning USADA and meaning the commission, we have a fight.”
Update: Schaefer said he had no knowledge of a report by Fighthype.com which stated that one of the tests returned positive, and the other, with a reading of zero.
“I have no news. As of last I heard, the fight is on,” said Schaefer. “Unless we hear anything else, the fight is on.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com