AJ vs. Povetkin—Karma

By Ben Thomsett on September 16, 2018
AJ vs. Povetkin—Karma
Alexander Povetkin knows more about meldonium and ostarine than you or I. (Sky Sports)

Anthony Joshua has never tested positive for a banned substance during his career. I like that a lot…

As it goes, there isn’t a lot of fun in being smacked in the mouth in the dark when you’re not expecting it. You might be walking the long way home because the fresh night air is good for clearing the head; trying to get some sense of recollection of any one of the hundred or so garbled conversations you had that evening. They’d all found everything you said hilarious; you are hilarious. Booze unlocks the humorist. Maybe you’re still smiling to yourself as that great big fist whacks home for the first time. One thing I can tell you is that the smile leaves the face quicker than when it arrived. Down on the sidewalk, by a rough brick wall, there isn’t much to laugh about. The slingshot of being flung from one end of the enjoyment spectrum to the other is possibly a bit similar to being attacked by a shark. One minute you’re sitting on a yellow surfboard under a rich blue Californian sky, the next you’re a flavor in an animal’s mouth. How you got from ‘there’ to ‘here’ flashes across your mind, but history isn’t important to the senses because, as the action starts, they are desperately trying to find an exit point for you.

All you need to know about drugs and/or booze is contained in that moment. You’ll have time to think about it in the next day or two, dabbing at the cuts, watching the mirror for a sign of some kind of metamorphosis: caterpillar back to butterfly, or moth, depending on your original starting point. Some of you will spend most of the first 48 hours thinking about revenge, but even more of you will say to yourselves, “Shit….if only I’d been sober.” That is, unless the drugs we’re talking about are meldonium and ostarine, because gear like that doesn’t feature in the same category as, say, the things you might inhale in the restroom of your nearest bar.

I’ve never taken meldonium or ostarine. I’m asthmatic, so I’ve had the occasional steroid, but I still look like a sack of shit and two guys easily beat me up when I was drunk (see above), so I can’t honestly say they made one iota of difference to my life other than keeping me alive when I sucked for air a couple of times as a kid. Chemicals aren’t my bag. So, I’m not sure what meldonium and ostarine do, other than something affecting the heart and aiding muscle mass. Ostarine binds to steroid receptors. How’s that for medical know-how? Probably a bit more than you’d get from a guy you buy either of those two substances from at the gym. Caveat emptor.

Alexander Povetkin knows more about meldonium and ostarine than you or I. He’s been caught taking both (May 2016, and February 2017). They are banned substances for professional boxers. You don’t find them in your cornflakes, or vodka. Simple. And now he is fighting once more for the world title. Hooray for ethics and the moral code of boxing.

Anthony Joshua has never tested positive for a banned substance during his career. I like that a lot. He’s a remarkable physical specimen, but no-one can deny the man passes his drug tests. He’s clean until someone tells me different. He’s been randomly tested 12 times in the past 3 months. No problems. Put that in your syringe and smoke it.

Despite my suspicion of the Matchroom empire’s power, and my desire to see every division blown open until that special someone comes along—a Mayweather/Hearns/Leonard/Ali/Robinson—I can’t help but want to see Povetkin on the end of some karma-filled right hands on Saturday. 90,000 people will cheer. They won’t all know the right reasons for it. On the pure white beach of boxing Heaven, a Russian surf-board will wash gently up to shore with an AJ sized hole punched right through the middle. When Povetkin looks in the mirror the next morning he’ll feel nothing like me. He’ll know he had it coming.

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Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin Official Promo [DAZN Matchroom Boxing]



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  1. Lucas McCain 11:07am, 09/21/2018

    Whew!  Sympathies.  The first paragraph was a solid bummer.  But an enjoyable column nonetheless.  The first time I saw AJ I didn’t think “steroids,” but rather “Sailor Art Thomas”—a huge bodybuilder pro wrestler from the pre-steroid days (late 50s).  I hope AJ has been keeping up with flexibility exercises!

  2. Kid Blast 01:44pm, 09/16/2018

    AJs’ musculature seems to be inspired by weight training. The somewhat elongated muscles are a tip off to me. If he were on something, he would have demolished Takem and Parker IMHO. But as you say, it’s hard to tell these days. Lots of ways to mask PEDs.

  3. Chico Salmon 10:06am, 09/16/2018

    Good write up. Joshua very well could be clean, but in this day and age, it is hard to not to be cynical. Mind you, I am not questioning him because of his physique, which has probably only been succeeded in a boxing ring by Frank Bruno, it is just so many athletes have a way of getting around the testing nowadays. We can throw out Joshua’s muscles,  I mean baseball player Rafael Palmeiro was on steroids and he had the muscle tone of Gumby. I think people are playing Joshua somewhat cheap. He is more talented than some are giving him credit for, certainly more of a complete fighter than Wilder.  I see him as the best of a very sub-par group of heavyweight fighters right now.

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