Merchant laments PED use in boxing
MANILA, Philippine – Former HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant acknowledged that the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) is now a real issue in the sport as he challenged boxing commissions to address the problem.
In an interview with Chris Robinson of Boxing Scene, the legendary boxing commentator discussed the use of banned substances in light of a recent report linking Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa to a distributor of PEDs in Florida.
“I don’t know what happened. I just will take note that Gamboa is apparently looking to fight bigger guys,” Merchant said. “So you can put those things together.”
“It’s an issue,” he said of PEDs. “And the real issue to me is whether, in the equation of risk and reward, that boxing makes sure the reward is too low, or the risk is too high, when you get caught.”
“That’s the only way to discourage PEDs – to reduce the reward for it.”
Merchant pointed out that one of the boxers who tested positive for performance-enhancers, Lamont Peterson, has been out of action for over a year now.
Another potential solution to the issue is to have more boxers submit to “the most rigorous drug protocols,” Merchant said.
“Those who don’t (submit to drug-testing) and who get nailed need to find out that it wasn’t worth the risk,” he said.
Merchant said boxing commissions have to step up to the plate.
“I’m not sure that the boxing commissions have stepped up to that responsibility yet,” he said.
The 82-year-old Merchant retired after 35 years as an HBO boxing commentator in December 2012.