Paulie Malignaggi is never one to mince his words when it comes to the subject of performance-enhancing drugs in boxing.
The former two-weight world champion, now retired from the sport, has been an active voice speaking out about the lack of attention this problem receives, however he recently had a serious switch in opinion.
Seemingly reaching the end of his tether with regards to the subject, Malignaggi now insists that he doesn’t blame boxers for taking PEDs.
The Italian-American explained to talkSPORT.com: “Until boxing makes a full commitment to stop PEDs, you can’t blame guys at this point for taking PEDs.
“You’re dealing with a sport where you’re chasing the guy at the top who’s on PEDs.
“If this is the situation every time, you either take them yourself or go work at Foot Locker and retire from boxing.
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“Until boxing makes the testing ridiculously tough, ridiculously random and ridiculously often – the powers that be in boxing, until they commit to that, instead of just talking it, you can’t blame fighters for taking PEDs because they know their opposition is taking PEDs.
“They know that if they go in there clean they’re risking not only their career, but also their health and their lives. It’s gotten to that point in boxing unfortunately and I can say it because I’m out of boxing now.
“You’re putting guys in a situation where, if they don’t do it, they’re gonna hurt themselves.”
Some would suggest that seemingly positive steps have been made in recent years with the increasing influence of VADA (the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency).
The WBC, one of boxing’s major sanctioning bodies, currently run a ‘Clean Boxing Programme’ in which they force every top 15 fighter in their rankings to sign up for random VADA testing.
Sadly though, Malignaggi has first-hand experience of this programme and believes it’s not what it seems.
He continued: “People have this guise of VADA where it’s like, ‘Okay, is he under the VADA 365 testing?’
“I was under the VADA testing, VADA has no money. I got tested once in seven months. Yeah, the WBC programme.
“It’s all bulls***, it’s a title that they give this programme and fans are so stupid they don’t even look into it or even do the research.
“Just because you’re on the programme doesn’t mean you’re getting tested that often or even tested at all.
“I was on it for the final part of my career. In seven months I got tested one time.
“There’s just not enough money, drug tests cost a lot of money. But the powers that be have money.
“If the organisations, all four major sanctioning bodies for example, chip in.
“And all the major promoters in boxing chip in, then there’s gonna be a lot of drug testing.
“But then there’s gonna be a lot of failures which means it’s harder to make stars, right?”
The biggest star in boxing today is Mexican middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The 29-year-old tested positive for Clenbuterol last year, but only received a six-month ban from the Nevada State Athletic Commission as he cited contaminated meat as the reason for the drug being in his system.
Now, Canelo is back on top of the sport and set to attempt a remarkable jump up in weight so he can take on Sergey Kovalev for his light-heavyweight title on November 2.
When asked for his thoughts on this, Malignaggi concluded: “I don’t even talk about that fight. It’s gotten so ridiculous.
“I don’t care what testing it has, I don’t wanna talk about the fight. You’re basically spitting in the face of the sport at this point.
“After Canelo failed a drugs test and got a slap on the wrist, I kind of started to side with all the fighters that are doing PEDs now.
“Billy Joe Saunders failed not long after that [for Oxliofrine – his fight with Demetrius Andrade was cancelled as a result], I said, ‘What do you want me to tell you? Look at the guys he’s chasing’.”