CBS/Showtime boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi isn’t shy about sharing his opinions on the sport. He hosts his own podcast on the CBS Radio’s Play.it network, and on Wednesday, he joined another of the network’s podcasts to discuss an issue that he believes plagues the sport: steroids.
Malignaggi joined Michael Rapaport on his I AM RAPAPORT STEREO PODCAST to discuss a variety of different topics ranging from how the money flows in the sport to whether the Mayweather-McGregor fight will actually happen. In his answer to how boxers are getting screwed out of money in today’s day and age, Malignaggi said that the power brokers in the sport are likely okay with it being outside of the spotlight because the spotlight might reveal some unsavory practices going on not only with regards to money, but also with performance enhancing drugs.
“It’s just a really creative way that you’re getting screwed. Guys are getting screwed constantly. I don’t know that you can really fix that unless boxing becomes more of a mainstream sport,” said Malignaggi on Michael Rapaport’s I AM RAPAPORT Stereo Podcast. “A piece of me, the cynic in me, believes this is also part of the reason that boxing is not so mainstream anymore. Because the people making all the money in boxing don’t need it to become mainstream. Because if it becomes mainstream maybe it will get investigated in the way baseball was about steroids, which I also believe is a problem in boxing by the way. Maybe if boxing becomes too mainstream, maybe the Senate or the federal government will start to investigate it about how clean this sport is as far as people robbing fighters or about how clean the sport is involving steroids. The cynic in me thinks maybe the powers that be like boxing where it is now because there’s still millions of dollars flowing in it, but it falls just below the radar to where nobody pays attention.”
The casual boxing fan or casual sports fan might ask how it’s possible that PEDs could be a problem in any sport in today’s day and age. All sports now have some form of testing for banned substances don’t they? Well, as Malignaggi explains, boxing only tests fighters on fight night, before and after the fight.
“The testing in boxing that’s mandatory is, on fight night, they will test your urine before the fight and after the fight, that’s it,” said Paulie Malignaggi on Michael Rapaport’s I AM RAPAPORT Stereo Podcast. “They do no test you during the rest of the year, they do not test you during training camp. None of that is mandatory. Now, if you know when the test is going to be, you can cycle your steroids on and off. Also, if you’re testing just your urine, there are drugs that are almost impossible to detect like HGH, like artificial testosterone, or EPO. You cannot really detect these things in urine on fight night. It’s almost impossible to catch it in urine in general, if it’s even possible to detect in urine at all.”
However, Malignaggi does have some hope for better testing in the future, citing a recent rule instituted by the WBC that forces fighters in the Top 15 of their rankings to submit to year-round testing.
“To fail a drug test on fight night, you have to be a moron,” said Malignaggi. “The only way you catch the performance enhancing drug users, the guys that are using the really dangerous stuff, is to be able to random test them all year round. It’s not really happening. The WBC, the World Boxing Council, has instituted a great rule and they’re working with VADA, the Volunteer Anti-Doping Agency, where they said, anyone in their Top 15 rankings of any weight class, has to be under VADA random drug testing all year round. If you do not sign up for VADA random drug-testing you get thrown out of the Top 15. It’s a start. It’s a good start. But, the thing is, there’s three other major organizations that also have to jump on board and starting with the Top 15 is at least a good start.”
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.