by Tim Harrison
Despite the lack of in-ring action the weekend of July 20, plenty of dubious happenings outside of the ring have kept us busy, regardless of how fast a worthy scandal dies down. The most recent controversy from outside the ropes came in the form of self-professed reporter Gabriel Montoya and his secret involvement as a consultant to the PED testing protocols for the failed Lucian Bute-Jean Pascal fight. Montoya’s protocol was allegedly used for the Chad Dawson-Adonis Stevenson WBC light heavyweight title fight without his knowledge. His involvement was leaked back in May, but only came to the surface after it was revealed on Twitter by an overzealous Mark Ortega.
Brent Brookhouse, Editor at MMA site Bloodyelbow.com dropped the exclusive on Bloody Elbow companion site, Badlefthook.com shortly after Ortega’s slip of the thumbs. In his piece, Brookhouse took plenty of space to voice his concerns while allowing Montoya a few hundred words to wiggle his way out of a tight spot.
Regular Boxing Tribune readers should know this isn’t the first tight spot Montoya has slithered his way out of. Back in August of 2011, The Boxing Tribune broke a story involving Montoya sending out press releases through Constant Contact on behalf of Thompson Boxing Promotions. It was chalked up to a simple error – that his old email address (dating back to his days at Doghouse Boxing) was a recipient and somehow ended up as the sender. A quick set up of my own Constant Contact account proved that was impossible, but Montoya, with the help of Marylyn Aceves, was able to dodge that bullet.
But let us return to the present. In last week’s Monday Rant, Boxing Tribune Editor-in-Chief Paul Magno opined on the issue; his thoughts can be read here.
Three days later a targeted bomb of manufactured outrage went off when Brookhouse and Montoya took to Twitter to distract from the issue at hand (Montoya’s many journalistic ethical violations) to draw attention to what they felt was a violation of journalistic ethics, mainly focused on a quote from Magno’s Monday Rant.
For the record, Brookhouse, who claims to have known about this consulting deal since late June, told me in a private conversation that he had given Montoya a hard date of July 22 to make a public statement or see the story published anyway. However, he did concede that Ortega’s badgering on Twitter may have forced Montoya’s hand.
Brookhouse claims the conversation was private and off the record, despite never clearly stating their conversation (which took place over Twitter Direct Messaging) was off the record. Magno pointed to Brookhouse pointing out (on Twitter) that Magno informed him he was writing an article about his take on Brookhouse’s article.
The strategy was obvious when I saw it, and I intended to publish my thoughts last Wednesday night. However, with Magno currently on vacation and my duty to cover The Monday Rant in his stead, I figured it could wait a few days in favor of previewing the week’s action.
And to further lend credence to the weight of this scandal, Montoya went so far as to address the matter in a Friday column on Maxboxing.com. In his piece, Montoya defends his actions with some sleight of hand and some good ol’ passing of the buck. Rather than question his actions and integrity, why don’t you/we find answers to the 30 questions he posed at the end of his column?
That said, if you wholeheartedly believe that Montoya’s involvement is much ado about nothing and the real problem is Magno’s method of asking for story fodder and no one else actively searching out the truth, I won’t waste any more of your time. But if you’re on the fence, please do read on. Montoya’s involvement was and is a big deal – a huge deal. He wouldn’t have kept it a secret if it wasn’t. Here’s exactly why.
It should be stated first and foremost that both Montoya and Interbox have gone on the record stating no money changed hands. Had Montoya been compensated for his role, his argument that he was in the right goes out the window with his claims to be a reporter in search of the truth (more on that later). Operating under the belief that Montoya was not compensated for his efforts, the secrecy surrounding the matter still makes it a problem, as well as personal conflicts of interest that will be detailed shortly.
Montoya is an alleged advocate of transparency in testing. He preaches transparency in his endorsements of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association’s (VADA) protocols and practices, while he lambasts the secrecy of Golden Boy Promotions’ contract details with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
“It’s easier to do testing under a shroud of secrecy and ignore media questions about alleged impropriety than it is to have a transparent drug testing program that may end up canceling fights due to its discoveries.” – Gabriel Montoya in a column titled Boxing’s PED Problem: Where do we go from here.
One has to ask, if secrecy is good for his own dealings why is it so bad with the dealings of others? I believe it was Mitt Romney who often said, “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” Using logic laid out in the paragraph above (and I do mostly agree with Montoya on this matter), were there any alleged improprieties involved in the testing for the failed Bute-Pascal fight and in the subsequent Dawson-Stevenson fight? Montoya further compromised himself when he ran a bile-inducing press release disguised as a news story, praising his own work.
Canada added to its already rich boxing history with the recent WBC Light Heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson vs. “Bad” Chad Dawson fight promotion. While the fight ended one minute and sixteen seconds into the first round after Stevenson connected with a monster left hand, its impact will be felt for some time in Canada. The anti-doping testing protocol designed by Interbox and GYM promotional outfits for the Lucian Bute vs. Jean Pascal fight postponed until late December/early January was used for Stevenson-Dawson. It marked the first time such stringent tests were performed on a Canadian boxing match both for the fight and training camp. Results are still pending from the World Anti-Doping Agency-approved testing which was paid for by the athletes.
The fight also marked the first time both state commission testing and an independent testing organization with state-of-the-art anti-doping tests collected samples on the same night.
Congrats to the fighters, GYM, Interbox and all involved including Gary Shaw Promotions, who handles Dawson. This marks the second time one of his top fighters has agreed to anti-doping testing.
Montoya’s personal/business relationship with Victor Conte and personal/business rivalry with Angel “Memo” Heredia also made him a biased agent in the PED testing protocols between Bute and Pacal. For those not in the know, Victor Conte has claimed he’s walking a different path and is an outspoken advocate for the anti-doping movement. Despite my BS meter going haywire, I must give Conte the benefit of the doubt. He gives his opinion on rival strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, etc. who he feels are involved in PED distribution and other shady dealings. Heredia is a confessed PED dealer who became a federal witness in cooperation with a USADA/Federal investigation. He too, claims to be on the straight and narrow, and also must be given the benefit of the doubt until evidence shows otherwise.
Give a detailed read to Montoya and/or Conte’s Twitter timelines and you’ll find possibly hundreds of attacks directed at Heredia, as well as countless cyber high fives in the form of Re-Tweets between the two.
I bring this up because Jean Pascal is a client of Angel Heredia, whose feud with Victor Conte and Montoya makes Montoya’s own involvement in any aspect of the PED testing of a fight involving one of Heredia’s clients (and yes, Victor Conte’s clients as well) a great big, pulsating conflict of interest. One has to ask if Montoya’s involvement was kept a secret because of just this glaring conflict of interest . It is, after all, logical to do so.
Many other questions pop up in the wake of this scandal. Why did Montoya attack Kevin Iole for praising Nevada’s handling of the Marquez-Bradley testing deal when he had a hand in the same scenario north of the border? If Montoya was willing to lie about his involvement with the testing protocols for Bute-Pascal, while sneaking around and patting himself on the back and praising their efforts, is it possible that he’s got similar associations elsewhere?
In his effort to distract attention from himself, Montoya has asked questions of everyone else, and may very well attack me this week. The real questions should be asked of Montoya, several of which I’ve posted herein. These are all important questions to ask of a guy who clearly had something to hide. And while he is trying to distract from the matter at hand and point the finger at everyone else, it is important to focus on what is important. Montoya compromised himself, destroyed any credibility he still clung to, and his work on the subject of PED testing in boxing should be seen as tainted from here on out.
Any harassing/annoying/threatening emails will be considered on the record and subject to publication. Nothing herein should be deemed a direct accusation or a waiver of my rights. Readers of The Boxing Tribune will read and form their own opinions based on the facts presented and questions posed. You can email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him as he ignores the social media backlash against him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheTimHarrison.