Oscar Valdez is no cheater, his promoter Bob Arum told NY Fights on Tuesday night, when asked if the Sept. 10 match pitting the 130 pound titlist Valdez against Robson Conceicao in Arizona would occur as planned.
Yes, the promoter said, the Top Rank on ESPN show will go on, as a PED test showed just a trace amount of a substance which the boxer believes came from ingesting herbal tea.
Valdez, age 30, holds a 29-0 mark, and he impressed the fight-watching masses in his last outing, when on Feb. 20 he stopped Miguel Berchelt, who most pundits thought would be too strong for the Mexican 130 pound ace.
Arum took aim at the initial report, Tweeted out by ESPN's Mike Coppinger.
Copp shared that Valdez popped dirty for a diuretic. Hours later, he put out a correction, posting that in fact Valdez' A sample showed the presence of phentermine. That drug rings the bells of some folks who recall that with fenfluramine, this “phentermine” did good business as an anti-obesity treatment. The duo made people lose weight but bad press in the later 1990s, after some people had lung/heart issues after using fen/Phen, made the combo a short lived sensation.
Arum said that word shouldn't have trickled out from VADA, the testing overseer. He maintained to me that phentermine is OK to use, according to the testing agency WADA, just not during a competition. Regardless, he continued, Valdez didn't have a scrip for phentermine. “He got it drinking herbal tea,” Arum said.
“It's absolutely nothing, it's not a PED. It's not illegal, it's nothing! There was a very, very light amount (in the sample). He took herbal tea because he wanted to stop drinking coffee.”
Yes, Arum said, he talked to Valdez directly about the issue. “And for this, the kid gets dragged through the mud. For no reason!”
OK, so the show goes on then? “I'm absolutely confident (the main event featuring Valdez vs the 16-0 Brazilian Conceicao at Casino De Sol in Tucson) it will proceed,” Arum stated. “People aren't stupid. It's a chemical, and these are medical facts.”
He then switched tracks, and drove a separate point home. “It's irresponsible of reporters to do a report like that, it gives journalism a bad name,” Arum said, referring to Coppinger, aka Mikey Sources, the ex USA Today reporter who jumped from RING to the Athletic. He upped his game to the point where he's the game's news scoopmaster.
The reporter left the subscription sports news site and latched on to the ESPN train, plopping into the seat held by Dan Rafael for more than a decade, in late June. “Any company that gives such a so called journalist such a position, they should be ashamed of themselves.”
NOTE: I asked Coppinger for a response, if he wants to furnish one. I'll insert it if he chooses to give his side.