Another One Bites the Dust
Some say that rules are made to be broken, and they might have a point, but some people will say anything…
“I believe in rules. Sure I do. If there weren’t any rules, how could you break them?”—Leo Durocher
Former WBA World heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs), from Chekhov, Russia, failed a second pre-fight drug test in seven months, deep-sixing Saturday’s fight at the Ekaterinburg Expo Center in Ekaterinburg, Russia, against former WBC World heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs), from Las Vegas, Nevada, by way of La Plaine, Haiti, for the interim WBC title and the opportunity to fight Deontay Wilder.
In his place stepped Johann Duhaupas (34-4, 21 KOs), from Abbeville, Somme, France, who got knocked out in the closing seconds of the sixth round.
When a fighter fails a drug test it no longer shocks, despite the breast-beating that accompanies each offense. Perhaps it’s because it’s boxing, where expectations are low and it often seems as if anything goes. Perhaps it’s because bargain basement expectations have eroded any semblance of awareness. But Povetkin, who this time tested positive for the banned substance Ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator, is a special case, as it appears he makes a habit of breaking the rules when he can get away with it.
Some say that rules are made to be broken, and they might have a point, but some people will say anything.
One person who refused to accept Povetkin’s cheating was WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, who immediately withdrew the interim title that was at stake.
Another was Bermane Stiverne, who said, “There’s no reason to fight if the WBC won’t sanction the bout. I’m very disappointed in the actions of Povetkin. I’ve been training for months to be victorious.
“To wake up the day of the fight, have breakfast, take a nap and wake up to find out he tested positive is the worst possible situation.
“I’m headed back home to Las Vegas, hopefully the WBC will install me as the mandatory challenger to face Deontay Wilder. I want the opportunity to fight for the world title again, that was my whole reason to come to Russia was to earn that opportunity.”
Povetkin, rather than deny having done anything wrong, decided to scapegoat Stiverne.
“I think Stiverne probably did not want to fight,” he said. “This was evident from the beginning. There was no desire burning in his eyes. And in general, it seems to me that he did not train.
“What is the point of taking some dope to fail on the last test? That’s pointless. I do not know how that got in my body. But when the information was learned I became very uncomfortable, very worried.”
Povetkin seemed to suggest that someone spiked his food, drink or supplements, without any evidence to support his allegation.
To add clarity to an admittedly murky situation, Stiverne’s promoter, the voluble Don King, appears, without a trace of irony, to have taken the high road.
“I’ve had a long-standing respect with the WBC, beginning with Jose Sulaiman and now with his son, Mauricio, who has done an incredible job filling his father’s shoes as WBC president and just got re-elected for four more years,” said King. “I stand with them and with the WBC for trying to do things the right way and with their organization’s safety procedures in regard to the boxers and the sport.
“It’s sad but this guy, Povetkin, has become a total embarrassment. He’s now tested positive in two WBC heavyweight title fights in a row. I’m all for winning and losing fights in the ring, but it’s time for justice to prevail. I don’t know what’s going on over there with so many Russian athletes in so many sports testing positive for drugs, but it has to stop. They cannot be allowed to continue to do things the way they are.”
Listening to King plead for “justice to prevail” may be a bridge too far.
“The WBC should declare Stiverne world champion, make him the mandatory for Wilder, and let’s move on with it,” continued King. “There are a lot of great heavyweight fights that can be made with willing boxers who don’t break the rules every fight.”
King knows a thing or two about breaking the rules, so presumably he speaks with authority.
“And then—worse yet—for them to try and put it on Bermane for not fighting is just ludicrous. They’re taking the victim and trying to set him up as the criminal in this.”
Amen. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.