BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The New York State Athletic Commission defended its decision to license four-division title-winner Erik Morales for Saturday night’s fight at Barclays Center with RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia despite Morales’ having tested positive during the first two of three pre-fight drug tests by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The 24-year-old Garcia and his father and trainer, Angel Garcia, had threatened to pull out of the bout at Friday’s weigh-in, but decided to go through with it after the final test — administered on Wednesday — returned negative early Friday evening.
Morales had blamed contaminated meat for the positive results of the two earlier tests, aftter which Angel Garcia had been adamant that his son would not fight. Morales’ “B” sample returned positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol on random tests given by USADA taken on Oct. 3 and on Oct. 10, but tested negative on the final one.
By that time, however, the 36-year-old Morales already had been licensed by the New York State Athletic Commission, had spoken at a Thursday press conference promoting their clash and weighed in for the fight.
“The New York Athletic Commission has taken into consideration the testing of Erick Morales conducted by USADA, an independent non-governmental organization contracted by Golden Boy Promotions to conduct testing on its boxers,” read the statement from NYSAC pubic relations director Edison Alban.
“Based upon currently available information and the representations made by Mr. Morales that he unintentionally ingested contaminated food, it is the Commission’s opinion that at this time there is inconclusive data to make a final determination regarding the suspension of Mr. Morales’ boxing license. The Commission will continue investigating the allegations and will wait until official laboratory results are available before making a final decision.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org