USADA's Travis Tygart Says 'Test Blood'; Richard Schaefer, 'Zero Tolerance'
"At this point, both athletes have agreed to USADA's testing protocols, including both blood and urine testing, which is unannounced, which is anywhere at any time. Our staff has met with each athlete and their camps to explain the procedures and the process," said Travis Tygart (pictured at right), chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which has been brought in to administer the testing for 38-year-old WBA welterweight titlist Mosley (46-5, 39 knockouts) and 33-year-old challenger Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs).
"Each athlete has submitted their whereabouts information, so they can be located for this unannounced blood and urine testing. There is no limit on the number of tests that we can complete on these boxers. Of course, those will be distributed among the boxers in a fair manner," said Tygart.
"Any positive test will be made public following a thorough legal process that's provided under our protocols. And, of course, if one or more of the boxers commits an anti-doping rule violation, WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] code penalties will be put into place," said Tygart. "In accordance with the WADA code sanctions, there is a two-year penalty suspension that will be put into place, and disqualification in advance of this fight if a boxer tests positive."
Should boxing impliment random blood testing?
Margaret Goodman's Top 15 ways to improve boxing
Margaret Goodman says blood tests feasible
Interview with WADA Chairman Gary Wadler
Travis Tygart on steroids, blood testing, boxing
Manny Pacquiao: I would never cheat
Paulie Malignaggi rips Manny Paquiao
Initially brought in to oversee the Olympic-style, random blood-testing that was at the center of the controversy leading to the demise of the negotiations for a bout between Mayweather and WBO welterweight king, Manny Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), Tygart spoke to reporters on Thursday regarding his similar role in the match up between Mayweather and Mosley slated for the MGM Grand in Las vegas.
"Today is another watershed moment in the advancement of anti-doping efforts that has happened over the past several years," said Tygart. "For the first time, you have professional athletes in the sport of boxing approaching us to implement an anti-doping program, and those athletes are now fully enrolled in this program."
Tygart applauded Mayweather and Mosley, the latter of whom once admitted to using the steroids, "The cream," and, "The clear," before defeating Oscar de la Hoya for the second time in September of 2003 in Las Vegas.
"It is simply false to say that urine can detect everything that you would be concerned about. You have to do blood," said Tygart, referring to the fact that the Nevada State Athletic Commission's urinalysis-only system failed to detect the drugs in Mosley's system for the de La Hoya fight.
"I think that all of the commissions across the United States will [eventually] adopt it [random blood testing,]" said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions.
"I hope that this will be the trigger," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which handles Mosley. "This is not up to a trainer, a fighter or a promoter. It really is up to the athletic commissions to ensure that they keep both of their eyes open, and when they see that certain things are happening, that they act accordingly swiftly and strict."
But Keith Kizer, of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, told FanHouse.com that " Olympic-style random blood testing remains "something that's above and beyond what we do, and that's fine."
"We have a rule, for example, that fighters can use any type of approved glove. You know, they can use Everlast, they can use Reyes, they can use Ringside, etc. One guy can use Everlast, and one guy can use Reyes. But if they contractually say that we're both agreeing to use Everlast, let's say, they have a deal with Everlast, or something. That's fine, they can further restrict themselves," said Kizer.
"They just can't do something against our rules. So with the Mayweather-Mosley fight, we will still do our normal urine testing, that's not going to change at all," said Kizer. "We have the sole jurisdiction over the event. Now if they want to do a private contractual deal with USADA or anyone else for that matter, they're free to do as long as it doesn't conflict with our rules and regulations, and this does not."
But in an interview on Wednesday, Schaefer said that he is for "Zero tolerance" of drugs in boxing.
"We always have to remember that boxing is two guys in the middle of the ring hitting each other. This is not dunking a ball, or hitting a ball with a bat. This is hitting another person. This is different. This is not about cycling up a hill. This is two people hitting each other and, therefore, playing with each other's life," said Schaefer.
"I'm not saying that cheating or having tools available which are unauthorized is acceptable in any sport, but here in boxing, it's really playing with somebody's life," said Schaefer. "It's not just about winning a game. That's why I think in boxing there should be zero tolerance, be it with illegal hand wraps, be it with performance enhancing drugs or whatever. I think that this is very serious."
Tygart said that the USADA program includes testing for a full menu of prohibitive substances and methods, adding that Mayweather and Mosley will "Be held to our program," and, "The same standard that all Olympic athletes around the world are being held to, which is WADA code standard."
Under USADA's "out-of-competition testing pool," Mayweather and Mosley are "subject to the same list of prohibited substances that the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2010 list of substances," including the four main, potent drugs that urine testing won't find -- Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Homologus Blood Tranfusion (HBT), Synthetic Hemoglobin (HBOC) and the passport program, according to Tygart.
It was during an interview with FanHouse last month, that Tygart initially broke down "A host of significant and potent performance enhancing drugs that only blood will detect."
"Those include human growth hormone [HGH]; HBOC -- and that is synthetic hemoglobin; transfusions; and certain forms of EPO, such as Mircera, which is essentially a designer EPO. So those are a few of the specific drugs. There is also a different technique, which is known as parameter testing, which is done by the blood, or biological passport testing," said Tygart.
"Essentially, what it does is that it does not detect a specific drug like HGH. But it looks at a host of parameters or biological markers that are natural to everyone's body. And over time -- if you look at those for an individual -- over time, you can see variability or fluctuations in those naturally occurring markers that we all have," said Tygart.
"And if you see fluctuations to a certain degree, you can conclusively determine that those fluctuations were caused by nothing other than drug use, and certain categories of drug use," said Tygart. "Not necessarily a specific drug, but categories of drug use."
The Mayweather-Pacquiao talks broke down over the latter's refusal to have his blood drawn within 24 days of the bout with Mayweather, citing his belief that doing so would weaken him.
Pacquiao has since filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for defamation of character, naming Schaefer and de la Hoya, CEO and president, respectively, of Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather, his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., his uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather.
"Whether you're the best boxer in the world, or the second-best athlete, or an up-and-comer, if you're clean, you have no reason not to be part of this program. In fact, you should demand it," said Tygart, when asked what he thought of Pacquiao's refusal to have blood drawn.
"We've seen thousands of athletes around the U.S., and many more millions around the world, voluntarily participating in this type of program. Like Floyd Mayweather, we've had athletes coming to us to protect their fundamental right to participate according to the rules of their sport," said Tygart.
"Why should any athlete have to be forced to endanger their own health, and, potentially, their lives in a combat sport like boxing," said Tygart, "or compromise their values by being forced to cheat with performance-enhancing drugs because their sport has allowed cheating to take over their culture."
Although New York's reportedly considering it, no state boxing commission presently requires blood testing for drugs -- only urinalysis.
"When your sport's not doing everything possible to protect your right, it takes an awful lot of courage. We've seen in the past where athletes who spoke out were cast aside, and I think it's really unfortunate that athletes don't have more of a voice when it comes to this issue," said Tygart.
"Athletes now know that they can come to the World Anti-Doping Agency, and to the USADA's of the world and countries and have a protector who is going to say, 'We're here to protect your right," said Tygart. "And we will fight that with you, if you're willing to subject yourself to our testing."