When Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao in December 2012, he was built like a He-Man action figure. Because he'd never been as muscular for a fight in his career, and because he had used former steroid figure Angel “Memo” Heredia as his conditioning coach, per Lance Pugmire of The Los Angeles Times, suspicions arose about Marquez's newfound muscle.
According to Pugmire, Marquez is "happy" to take frequent drug tests leading up to fights. He clearly wants his monumental victory over Pacquiao—and any other future win to stand unquestioned.
In this day and age of sports, almost all feats of athletic genius come under some steroid suspicion. It is especially prevalent in sports like boxing, MMA and wrestling where strength plays such a key role in success.
It doesn't help matters when an athlete chooses to align themselves with a figure like Heredia. If an athlete finds some level of positivity in the training methods of a man associated with the steroid era, it doesn't automatically make him a user. However, it does bring a level of practicality to the suspicion.
Marquez told Pugmire he is being tested almost every two weeks for banned substances heading into his clash with WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley on Saturday. Still, for Bradley the frequent testing isn't fully satisfactory.
Bradley told Pugmire Marquez is only doing 95 percent of what he should be doing in regards to the testing. The WBO champion has a physique that most fighters would kill for. It would be easy to imagine skeptics questioning if he were clean. Those suspicion shouldn't last long or hold much validity, though.
Bradley has submitted to every test and per Pugmire, he put $20,000 in an escrow account to fund advanced drug testing for the fight with Marquez. Quite obviously, Bradley's camp at the very least has some concerns about the bout taken place on an even playing field.
Ideally, Bradley wanted Marquez to submit to full testing from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), but a rift between Heredia and VADA consultant and infamous BALCO figurehead Victor Conte has potentially kept that from happening.
We could speculate on why that last piece of testing hasn't occurred, but Marquez deserves credit for opening up to the testing he has already submitted to.
Ultimately, these are issues for all the sport and those in charge. Hopefully one day, we'll see extensive testing mandated across the board in the sport. Until then, fighters like Marquez will have to prove their physiques, knockouts and other in-ring success are about hard work and genetic gifts, not chemical enhancements.
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