People love control. Companies love control. Governments love control. Boxing’s sanctioning bodies are no different! The WBC seems to love control more than the rest and it’s recent “protocol revision” to it’s Clean Boxing Program demonstrates that in a big way.
Perhaps it was the steady stream of criticism for it’s inconsistent application of mandatory VADA testing or it could have been Angel Garcia, father and trainer of former WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia, admitting that his son had not been tested by VADA for his upcoming fight with Keith Thurman but either way something motivated the WBC to issue it’s protocol revision last week. The seven-page document is a monument to redundancies and contradictory statements. The document seems perfect for an organization like the WBC who wants to maintain the appearance of credibility while leaving itself the power to cater to the fighters and promoters who’s interests align with their own.
The new protocol is littered with rules and guidelines that will presumably govern the CBP the WBC always reserves the right to make any decision it wants for whatever reason it wants. Perhaps the best example of this is Section V “Standards of Proof”. Section V contains nine individual items; letters A through I. While I encourage all readers of this article to read the protocol for yourselves below I will provide an explanation for the “standards of proof” section and show you how I believe the WBC will use this to manipulate results management and cater to the interests of certain fighters and promoters;
A. Indicates a “Strict liability” policy where the presence of any banned substance is a doping violation. This will be very useful to the WBC when they want to sanction a fighter harshly.
B. States that the WBC may establish “special criteria” for substances produced naturally in the human body. Unclear to me at this time why they would reserve this right.
C. States that regardless of if a banned substance provided an actual benefit it is still a violation. This will be useful in certain cases but is also likely to be ignored in others.
D. States that the WBC could conclude that a doping violation occurred based on means other than a positive A and B sample and specifically mentions things such as eyewitness testimony, documentary evidence (receipts showing purchase of PED’s?), etc. Item D also states that even if the B sample is negative a positive A sample could be enough to convict a fighter if the lab has adequate reasons for the B sample being negative. I can only imagine how this could be used by an organization like the WBC with it’s, how should I say, “flexible morals”.
*SPECIAL NOTE: Would working with a “strength coach like Memo Herredia be considered evidence for PED use?
E. States that possession of prohibited substances or methods will be a violation unless the fighter has a TUE or the WBC “finds justification at it’s sole discretion”.
F. States that a boxer not being present where he said he would be for purposes of testing, a “whereabouts failure” MAY constitute a doping violation. The use of the word MAY is important. The WBC likes to keep it’s options open.
G. States that the WBC is God and it’s rulings are final in regards to anything and everything. The sun rises and sets on their command.
H. States that the WBC DOES NOT employ a strict liability policy and in contradiction with earlier statements can consider whether a substance gave the boxer an advantage or intentionally ingested the substance. Item H essentially cancels out all of the other items is it gives the WBC broad power to handle every case in whatever way it chooses.
I. States that the WBC will treat each case independently.
Now, why was all that necessary? It would seem the WBC could have just gone with letter H and letter A, as a baseline “strict liability policy”, and saved some paper and ink. How the excess of rules and regulations will be used will only be known in time but based on the WBC’s history I believe the various rules and regs will be used to justify vastly different rulings for very similar cases. When a fighter the WBC favors fails or has a positive test they will point to one rule but when it’s a fighter they do not like, or a rival/threat of a fighter they are trying to protect, they will point to another rule. In each case the WBC will be able to point to a different portion of it’s protocol in order to justify whatever conclusion they make.
Another very troubling passage can be found in the 3rd paragraph of page 1;
The WBC shall always have the right and option to associate, cooperate,
and partner with VADA and any other organization necessary for the implementation, operation, administration, or optimization of the CBP and its protocols.
The word “optimization” is very troubling in my view. Does this mean the WBC can force a fighter to submit to extra random testing, what the new protocol defines as “pre competition testing”, above and beyond what other fighters are asked to do? If the CBP’s stated goal is to clean up boxing wouldn’t that serve in optimizing the CBP’s protocols? I could keep writing on this subject for several thousand words as the CBP’s protocol is so rife with vague language that the fun never stops.
After reading the new CBP protocol six times I see a document written to convey integrity by referencing strict standards and liability while simultaneously increasing the control the WBC has by always reserving itself the right to make their own arbitrary situational judgment. In my opinion, the WBC is seeking to control competition and influence outcomes through it’s advocacy of advanced drug testing. That is my opinion and I believe the WBC’s record, going back decades, supports my belief. When you consider whether or not to support this power grab by the WBC I hope you’ll remember that the WBC is an organization that has given the boxing world incidents such as;
Champion Incident: The WBC was the first sanctioning body to implement drug testing in 1970. An early incident involved WBC middleweight champion, Carlos Monzon. The following excerpt is taken from an article by Steve Bunce of the UK Independent.
“In the 1970s the WBC, with Sulaiman’s forceful backing, pushed through and put in place early drug-testing protocols. On one occasion in 1974 Sulaiman returned from Buenos Aires after watching a world middleweight title fight involving the troubled Carlos Monzon, with the samples in his bag for analysis in a Mexico City lab. Monzon, who was a glorious playboy, had filled his bottle with champagne. “Carlos was like all fighters and I think of all boxers as my sons,” Sulaiman said”.
Monzon was not punished in any way.
Interim Champion: Allowed Floyd Mayweather to hold titles in different divisions (147 and 154 respectively) violating a rule that had been in place for 60 years since Hank Armstrong’s era.
#1 Contender. Named Bermane Stiverne as Deontay Wilder’s mandatory challenger after failing a drug test and having not defeated a ranked fighter since May of 2014. Stiverne somehow managed to stay at the top of the WBC’s rankings throughout 2015 and 2016 despite only fighting once vs an unranked opponent.
2. Decided that Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero would fight for it’s vacant title.
3. Allowed Floyd Mayweather to hold it’s 154 lb title for two years without ever defending it.
4. After Buster Douglas defeated Mike Tyson in one of the greatest upsets in sports history; the WBC along with the WBA actually refused to recognize Douglas as it’s champion! Don King, who has had a long-standing relationship with the WBC, claimed that because the referee had given a long count when Douglas was knocked down in the 8th round Tyson should remain champion. As absurd as this argument was then WBC President Jose Sulaiman stated that the WBC would hold a hearing into the issue on February 18th, seven days after the fight, to decide if Douglas or Tyson would be recognized as it’s champion. Douglas was recognized as champion by both the WBC and WBA only after both organizations came under tremendous pressure from the media and the British Boxing Board of Control, as well as several state commissions in America, threatened to withdraw from the WBC.
5. “Allegedly” conspired with Top Rank promotions and HBO to steal the WBC middleweight title from Sergio Martinez so that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who coincidentally is the godson of WBC President Jose Sualiman, could fight for and win the title.
6. Decided that Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola should fight twice, once for the interim title and again for the full title, upon the retirement of long-reigning champion Vitali Klitschko.
7. Canelo Alvarez was allowed to fight Matthew Hatton, who had never fought above welterweight, for the vacant WBC super welterweight title. I suppose it’s possible that all other 154 lb contenders simply were not interested in fighting for the title but it honestly seems unlikely.
The WBC has fighters and promoters they favor and if they can offer these parties an advantage through PED testing I personally have no doubt that they will and I believe they already have in several cases. Do you have faith in the WBC wielding these powers with honesty and integrity? Do you believe the WBC with it’s robust history of questionable dealings should be trusted to determine guilt regarding potentially highly scientific issues? Giving the WBC this kind of power would be like installing former Enron executives at the US treasury and I don’t see anyone calling for that!
If this is about cleaning up boxing and promoting fairness and justice why isn’t the WBC appointing a panel of experts to make these determinations? Why wouldn’t they want people with true expertise regarding PED’s and their use in boxing making decisions? Only the WBC knows why they want control when they clearly are not the most qualified people to make these decisions but I might speculate that it’s the same reason that we see a small clique of judges and refs officiating high profile and big money fights.
#Cleansport or #Control ? What do you think?
By Michael Dante