An agreement was reached on Friday for Lamont Peterson to defend his IBF light welterweight title against hard-hitting top challenger Lucas Matthysse in the main event of a Showtime-televised card on May 18 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. It is a highly lucrative match-up between two quality fighters who are set to gain quite a bit with an impressive victory, making the pending details surrounding the related drug testing for this bout all the more intriguing.
Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs) ended a 14-month layoff following a failed drug test last May for synthetic testosterone with an eighth round stoppage over Kendall Holt on February 22. His career, once in jeopardy as a result of the positive Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA)-administered test, was revived upon the IBF's decision to allow him to retain the title he had captured from Amir Khan in December 2011 after investigating the matter.
His career was further resuscitated in January when he signed with Golden Boy Promotions, the very same promotional company who publicly criticized VADA for their handling of Peterson's failed test results and were forced to cancel his May 19, 2012 rematch with Khan. Following Andre Berto's subsequent failure of a VADA administered test that led to his removal from a highly anticipated rematch with Victor Ortiz last June, a second Golden Boy promoted fight that had to be scratched within a two week period, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suddenly became their drug testing agency of choice.
Golden Boy has conveniently not experienced any further cancelations or rescheduled bouts due to failed drug tests since making this switch. Random USADA testing was unceremoniously and abruptly canceled for the Adrien Broner vs. Antonio DeMarco and Peter Quillin vs. Winky Wright fights last year. Additionally, the legendary Erik Morales, who tested positive for clenbuterol in advance of his fight with Danny Garcia last October, was permitted to re-test twice more until a negative result was rendered and used as a basis to allow the bout to proceed.
In what appears to be nothing more than a feeble attempt at damage control five months after the fact, the USADA issued Morales a two-year ban on Friday. Such action is not only ineffective because he was permitted to enter the ring against Garcia at the time he failed the test, but the 36-year old Morales plans to only fight once more in Mexico (where the USADA does not have any jurisdiction) and then retire.
Even though Peterson was caught by VADA in advance of the Khan fight and experienced a good deal of anguish while trying to clear his name, he maintains that he will continue to use them going forward.
"At the time, I knew nothing about VADA. I just knew about USADA. But I can guarantee you this: In the future, we will be using VADA again," said Peterson in an exclusive interview with RingTV.com last month prior to the Holt fight.
"If they will accept me and they're willing to do business with me, then I'm willing to do business with them," Peterson went on to say of VADA. "For this fight [against Holt], there will be no random drug testing, but in the future, I expect to do more random drug testing with VADA. I prefer VADA."
The bigger question is whether Golden Boy will be willing to do business with VADA. It is clear that they prefer the far more costly USADA, despite the fact that there is no evidence of it being a superior testing program.
There had been disagreement on the site of the bout, with Matthysse (33-2, 31 KO's) unwilling to fight in Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C. One can hardly blame the Argentine given the suspect activities that took place there during the Khan fight in December 2011 and, most recently, the commission's refusal to release the standard drug test results of the Peterson-Holt contest.
Further disagreements are likely to emerge.
As details of the fight agreement now go into a full contract, it will be very interesting to see if Peterson takes a stand on his position to use VADA for the Matthysse battle or if he will be swayed by his new promoter to utilize USADA instead. His decision will go a long way in demonstrating that he is genuine in his desire to shine a light on drug testing and serve as a model representative in this regard.
But this is boxing.
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