Juan Manuel Marquez vs Tim Bradley in Jeopardy Over Drug Testing?Written by Lee Cleveland
The two are set to meet in the ring October 12.
Earlier this week, Tim Bradley told BoxingScene Radio that Marquez vs Bradley is off if the Mexican refuses to undergo performance enhancement drug testing administered by VADA or USADA.
"My contract says VADA USADA is going to be involved. There's nowhere that says a third party is going to be involved. I spoke to (NSAC executive director) Keith Kizer earlier this week, with Marquez and everybody on the phone, and I let him know what my concerns were. "
Bradley added, "It is nothing against the Nevada State Commission. It is one of the best commissions in the world. They have been around for years but I just want VADA and USADA involved as well."
Manny Pacquiao, left, and Juan Manuel Marquez pose in December 2012 prior to Pacquiao vs Marquez 4. Marquez's gritty physique and newfound swagger in the ring leads some, including Freddie Roach, to believe the Mexican is taking performance enhancing substances (PEDs).
Courtesy of Chris Farina, Top Rank
VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association)
According to BadLeftHook, Top Rank head Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, wants to leave testing in the hands of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and insists he'd pay extra out of his own pocket to ensure stricter testing.
If Arum, who may be acting on behalf of Marquez, is willing to cough up his own money to ensure the Nevada State Athletic Commission performs more rigid testing, why doesn't he just let VADA do it?
Answer: No one tests better than VADA. Also, it's no secret that commission procedures are believed to be antiquated thus making it easier for athletes to mask the presence of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
So Tim Bradley, of course, is not receptive to Mr. Arum's offer.
"At this point if they are not going to be involved there is not going to be a fight at all. Just put it that way. If this guy doesn't get drug tested at all by VADA or USADA then the fight's not going to happen."
Marquez, right, and Manny Pacquiao prior to Fight No. 4
Courtesy of Chris Farina, Top Rank
Juan Manuel Marquez has been beleaguered by PEDs accusations since last year. Even before he KO'd Pacquiao in December, photos of the Mexican during training showed the fighter with what appeared to be a more muscular physique.
Muscles and Power
And some noted he was noticeably stronger and better built in his April 2012 bout against Serhiy Fedchenko - a fight dominated by the Mexican.
His critics will also assert that Marquez, at 39, seems to have newfound punching power but Juan insists his new training and conditioning coach is responsible for the new-and-improved Marquez.
And by the way, that new conditioning coach, Memo Heredia, had been involved in the BALCO scandal. BALCO was a San Francisco Bay Area business that was busted in 2002 for supplying banned performance-enhancing substances to professional athletes.
Marquez's character certainly has not been suspicious and he's been a model pro throughout his long career. Also, at least to my knowledge, he has not refused to undergo VADA testing. (But it is a bit suspicious Arum is seemingly hellbent on the state commission handling testing proceedures) Marquez's Trainer Fires Back
Marquez's manager, Nacho Beristain, told BoxingScene, "He has a bad fight [with Pacquiao] and the judges favor him and then gives a great fight [with Ruslan Provodnikov], but that does not mean that you have reached the big leagues. He has the obligation to respect other athletes, but he doesn't. [For Pacquiao], Juan was drug testing in the morning, before the fight and after the fight, and they did not find anything," said Nacho.
He added,"They will never find anything in Juan. He is a healthy athlete and all that he's done is put in a massive effort, because he's an athlete who trains and cares. Whenever an athlete is successful at something, they always say that you are taking something."
And in defense of Marquez, fighters at any age can enhance their physique with improved dieting and smarter training. Also, although very rare, fighters do occasionally pick-up substancial power as they move up in age and weight (Sergio Martinez and Evander Holyfield).
However, if Marquez vs Bradley is cancelled because Juan refuses to engage in VADA testing, many are going to start wondering.... Was he on PEDs when he defeated Pacquiao?
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.