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Brandon Rios became the latest fighter to fail a post-fight drug test.
Boxing, like nearly all professional sports, has been forced to confront the use of performance-enhancing drugs. These include not just anabolic steroids but also diuretics which can be used as masking agents or to help fighters cut weight for fights.
As a combat sport, boxing needs to be especially conscious of PED usage and find ways to stamp it out.
In baseball, if you take steroids, you may hit the ball a little farther or throw the ball a little faster. Home run numbers can go up and so can strikeouts. Overall, though, for all their perceived evils, the chances of physical harm coming to the participants as a result—while not zero—is substantially less than in boxing or MMA.
In those sports, the goal is to hurt your opponent. To knock him down, keep him down for the count or force him to quit. The extra concussive force added to a punch could be the—literal—difference between life and death.
In the aftermath of his lopsided decision loss to Pacquiao, Rios became just the latest in a string of high-profile boxers over the past couple of years to test positive for a banned substance while participating in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) program.
In this particular case, dimenthylamylamine (which was found in Rios' sample) can aid in weight loss and has been found in many over-the-counter supplements that aid in building muscle mass.
Rios has vehemently denied the accusations and maintained his innocence. And that's not to say he isn't telling the truth, but his story isn't all that different from other athletes who have been snagged by tests in the past.
This is a serious problem in boxing, and until there exists some sort of strict, universal standard for testing, it will only continue to grow. And unless boxing gets serious, it could end in tragedy.