In Germany, the television network ARD makes advanced drug testing a precondition for any boxer appearing on its network. That's an answer to the problem of performance enhancing drugs that some fans and writers have embraced in the United States, as a variety of boxers have tested positive for banned substances in 2012.
But, for now, neither HBO nor Showtime -- the two biggest boxing broadcasters in the U.S., and therefore two of the sport's biggest financial powerhouses -- have any plans to make such drug testing mandatory for boxers gracing their airwaves, officials with both networks said.
An HBO official speaking on condition of anonymity said this week: "HBO is just like CBS or FOX in regards to the NFL -- they are just the network that is televising and they don't have any intent to get in the middle of the PED problem."
The executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza, said Friday that the network was not currently considering any mandatory testing, and instead emphasized the need for multiple parties to come together and work on the issue.
"The whole thing is there really can't be a piecemeal attempt to address this. We saw a little bit of it with the Erik Morales situation," Espinoza said, referring to the fact that Morales tested positive several times for a banned substance in advance of his October bout, leading to a series of crisscrossed stories about who knew what when. "If everyone's not in sync with the same plan, you have the [state athletic] commission that treats it one way, the private testing organization treat another way. There have been multiple situations this year where there have been promoters and testing organizations" that have been on different pages, Espinoza said.
Espinoza acknowledged that the networks could take a leadership role and that "may be a positive step. The most critical part, the biggest area where there's dysfunction, is the interaction between private testing organizations and commissions," he said. "There are two completely separate processes that don't relate to each other. You can have someone test positive under a private structure but still is allowed to go forward under a commission because the commission testing is different. That's the greatest inconsistency."
Both networks have suffered the sting of fights canceled due to failed drug tests this year. HBO had to scramble to replace Lamont Peterson-Amir Khan II when Peterson tested positive for a banned substance, and Showtime had to replace Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto II when Berto did the same. Despite the disruption such positive tests cause, Espinoza said he was troubled by the PED issue.
"I am concerned, to tell you the truth," he said. "It's a fighter safety issue. It's a safety issue unlike any major sport other than MMA. I understand why it sort of caught on very quickly. It's going to take locking a lot of people locked into a room together working together" to fix, Espinoza said.
Mark Ortega contributed to this story.
it's floyd mayweather's fault.. his FEAR of manny (he believed manny has unnatural strength) turned into a mess regarding the testing protocol and its effects on staging a fight...there is no universally accepted procedures on the matter...it's just a contract between two parties to conduct drug test without the jurisdiction of the boxing commissions....it's time to junk this idea and follow only what the boxing commission's drug testing protocol...
It's very hard to control illegal drugs in all sports just like boxing. One option to get fair playing field it to legalize it. USADA , VADA or other testing commissions are very way behind anyway and cannot detect athletes using illegal drugs. This is testified by Angel Heredia (aka Hernandez) that he know which matysking agent he used to get negative result. He is laughing how US present system is too way behind.
because both HBO and SHOWTIME protect their investments. berto is a good example. well, HBO might write him off now after his lose to guerrero. you can also consider morales case and how they handled the situation. imagine how much money these two giant networks gonna lose for cancelling bouts just because the fighters are being caught on PEDS? it shows clearly that the network does not really care about the welfare of the fighters first but money! and it also shows clearly that they know how hypocrite these american fighters who easily accuse other fighters of PEDS just because their achievements has been surpassed by non american fighters! and it's a clear admission on HBO and SHOWTIME's part that the common users of PEDS are in their backyard!they are just so clever beating the standard testing! so why impose the new and more rigid one which can expose all of them and their dirty works?!!!
And who exactly is going to lead all of the parties to the locked room? Espinoza? Of course not. He's a puppet for Golden Boy. Hershman? Uh, no.
Showtime and HBO have the same kind of power that ESPN has over many stick-and-ball sports, especially on the college level, but it refuses to wield it. Instead, those two premium networks continue to hide behind the cloak of "we're just delivery mechanisms" instead of working to clean up and organize boxing, which would have the beneficial by-product of making the sport more popular and increasing their respective revenue.
Promoters NEVER will drop their self-interest long enough to clean up the sport. Don't even bother with them. They've been corrupt for more than a century.
But Hershman and Espinoza could make a difference. But the incest between the networks and promoters is too strong, and it almost seems like both are operating in an isolation chamber in which they're oblivious to the growing popularity of MMA and are content with the current size and power of boxing.
The networks and promoters are getting paid. Think they care about anything else?
But there's got to be a Boxing commissioner who will oversee everything and should not be on the payroll from anyone in the boxing industry just like Stern in the NBA (but is he not on the payroll dont know) who can fine suspend and revoke boxing licenses of everyone involved in the cheating. Then there should be a consolidated rules/ roles/ assignment etc. for each party involving the Testing Centers, State Commissioners, Promotional Companies, TV networks, Coaches and all its underlings, Boxers and his official representatives then we can truly say that Boxing is truly cleaning up the sport!
Full disclosure: I am one of the people who would like to see these two networks get involved as the surest-fire way of fixing this problem...