Lets get this right out of the way, as long as there is boxing (and really, professional sports with millions of dollars at stake) you will never eradicate the usage of performance enhancing drugs. Unlike 15 round championship fights, they are here to stay.
It will be a constant game of cat-and-mouse with the cheaters always being one step ahead of the enforcement agencies.
As we saw last week with the aborted fight between Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr., every once in awhile you will nab someone (mostly through VADA testing).
Call it stupidity, or the law of averages, cheaters do get caught. But the reality is that an overwhelming majority beat the system, which is either faulty or simply too easy to circumvent. With limited resources, true enforcement is almost impossible. Then you throw in the fact that many of these boxers and events are mini-economies within themselves, there really is no true impetus to catch those who are breaking the rules. And then if they are caught, as was shown last week, there are still attempts to find loopholes to go through with these bouts.
It's not clear what will happen to Benn -- who tested positive for Clomid, which can raise testosterone levels and used as a masking agent -- but it wouldn't surprise anyone to see him get a relatively short suspension, and then seeing his showdown with Eubank Jr being rescheduled for the first quarter of 2023.
Just a small inconvenience for a few months, as everyone cashes in on the family names.
So back to my original point: you will never stop drug usage in this game. As they say, if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'. That's the nature of this beast. OK, call me a cynic, I think I'm more of a realist in this regard.
What would commissioner Steve Kim do if he were in charge?
What I am proposing is this, if you can't catch all of 'em (and you can't), make sure you harshly punish the ones you do. In fact, be downright punitive about. Set an example of anyone that pops hot.
It would be a direct contrast to what take place now. Oftentimes, as you see boxers test positive for PED's, they are given a six-to-twelve month suspension. Which on the surface seems reasonable, but the reality is that in an era when most world-class boxers perform twice a year, and fight just about every six months or so, is that penalty all that harsh?
Think about a starting pitcher in baseball getting hit with a 5-game ban. Well, that means he'll probably miss all of one start in a 162 game season.
Make all offenders serve at least a two year ban, along with a hefty fine. Beyond that, you must reveal who gave you these illicit supplements. You can say that's snitching, I say it's cleaning up the sport. That's should be the general guideline in these matters. Then beyond that, once that offending boxer comes off suspension, they must then enroll in a year-round drug testing program at their cost for the rest of their careers.
A second offense, should be a lifetime ban. First time, shame on you, second time, well...GTFOH. You simply should not have any place in this sport.
(Also, make all the drug testing agencies, whether they are VADA, USADA or anyone else used by the governing bodies have a uniform standard of what is a banned substance.)
Will this stop cheating in boxing?
Of course, not.
This certainly isn't about prevention, but this is a harsher deterrent to those who are already breaking the rules, or contemplating doing so. Boxing, both the sport and business, will never be clean and pure. Those in charge are hypocritical and mired in their own self-interests to ever really do something significant about this problem.
At least with my proposal, you have a punishment that fits the crime.