Boxing Only

Millergate :: PEDs in Boxing

Posted: 20-04-2019
Author: Andy Farr

With 6 weeks left until Anthony Joshua is due to defend his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles at the iconic Madison Square Garden, Jarrell Miller, his scheduled opponent, finally owned up to taking performance-enhancing drugs (PED's) while training for the bout.

Let's face it, Miller left himself with no choice after 3 separate tests showed he had taken 4 types of PED's. After the 1st failed test for GW1516, he stated that he would appeal to the New York State Athletic Commission and that he had not knowingly taken any banned substances.

A second test revealed Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in his system and the 3rd, Erythropoietin (EPO) and GW1516.

Anthony Jashua vs Jarrell Miller poster

Millergate is quickly becoming the most high profile case of this type involving a large scale boxing event. The activity on social media and the media in general has brought boxing to the forefront, but not for the right reasons.

The problem facing boxing is what to do with Miller. There are calls for a lifetime ban, and understandably so. The boxing powers that be have to be seen to dish out a meaningful but appropriate punishment but from a legal standpoint, it needs to be in line with what has gone before.

Canelo vs GGG 2
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez failed 2 drug tests prior to his multi-million dollar rematch with Gennady Golovkin.

Middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is an example that Miller's lawyers will be able to bring up and unfortunately many, many more. Canelo failed 2 tests but still went ahead and defeated Gennady Golovkin in a high profile event watched around the world by millions.

Canelo and his team have always said that they believe the Mexican star had eaten contaminated meat while training in Mexico, but surely that wouldn't change the fact that he had benefitted from these PED's?

The fight went ahead and now the Canelo drugs saga has all but dissipated. Canelo signed an 11 fight $365m deal with streaming service DAZN earlier this year, is this his punishment?

To make the sport we love better, we need to be honest and treat anyone found guilty of doping in the same manner. We cannot be seen to let off our superstar fighters lightly because they bring more revenue to the promoters, commissions and governing bodies. That is called corruption in any other business.

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn tried to turn the 1st negative result into a Twitter poll to find an opponent to replace Miller in June. While I understand that it is Hearn's role to promote the event and his boxer, it comes across as just another failed PED's test that we have come to accept as "Well, these things happen in boxing, what can you do?"

Hearn, DAZN, Sky Sports Boxing, The WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and anyone else involved with Millergate need to treat it as the scandal that it is and not as a way of boosting their profits. 

Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn
Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn.

We need to start with a new slate, new rules that ensure that the punishment is the same whether you earn your promoter $10,000 or $10m.

Promote that Mr Hearn, Mr Arum, Mr Haymon, Mr Warren.

The huge money in boxing is what is causing this phenomenon. The rewards are so large that boxers are encouraged to dope. Until the commissions and governing bodies come together and agree on a strict set of rules that apply worldwide, or we will see the likes of Millergate over and over again. The money needed to make this happen should come from the promotions that benefit the most.

Our sport is currently on a high, literally.