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Boxing: The Formula for Cleaning PED's out of the Sport

Education and disciplinary actions are needed to rid boxing of performance-enhancing drugs.
Education and disciplinary actions are needed to rid boxing of performance-enhancing drugs.John Gichigi/Getty Images
Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2012

There is always a desire to get an edge on your opponent.

In competitive sports, cheating has always been an issue. Performance-enhancing drugs have been at the forefront in sports since the 1970s.

While it is most often associated with team sports like football or baseball or an individual sport like track and field, there is no sport that it hasn't touched.

This includes boxing. Using steroids to get stronger, hit harder and train more diligently have been a part of boxing for years. At least in the shadows and rumors.

There was only occasional testing until recently, yet names like Shane Mosley, Roy Jones, Jr. and Evander Holyfield had been implicated in the past (source: ESPN.com).

In the last few months, as testing has grown more prominent, big-name boxers like Lamont Peterson, Erik Morales, Antonio Tarver and Andre Berto have all tested positive.

The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better, but boxing owes it to itself to clean up the sport better than the NFL or Major League Baseball has ever done.

Testing before and after fights is just the bare minimum. Fighters have to be educated on the dangers performance enhancers can do both to themselves and their opponents. They have to know that using performance enhancers and then registering a knockout over an opponent is nothing but a hollow victory.

They have to know that damaging an opponent because of steroid-enhanced training is far worse than Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds using steroids to break home run records.

Breaking venerable baseball records means someone else gets their name scratched out of the history book. Using performance enhancers to win a fight may be the equivalent of taking a bat into the boxing ring to help a fighter gain a knockout.

Fighters must be tested while training, and they should also submit to tests during periods when training is lighter.

Lives are at stake every time two fighters step into the ring. No fighter deserves to be at greater risk because an opponent is using a performance-enhancing drug.

State commissions have to take a strong stand on this.

Fighters who test positive should be suspended by the state boxing commissions and shunned by the boxing community.

There can be no second chances or turning the other cheek. Boxing needs to take a strong stance if it at least wants to make the argument that it is a clean sport.

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