Originally written on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 12/16/14
"Get me the other bottle. The one I mixed." It has not been the best month ever for strength and conditioning/nutrition guy Alex Ariza. He mocked a fellow with Parkinson's disease and kicked him (Freddie Roach), then had one of his fighters (Brandon Rios) test positive for a banned substance and another (Marcos Maidana) be subjected to allegations of cheating. We already talked about the kick at length, and some about the Maidana stuff. But we'll dig more into the Maidana situation and start digging into the Rios incident to begin in this edition of Quick Jabs, which also will delve into Chris John's retirement, Andre Ward's latest lawsuit, various things Floyd Mayweather has talked about and more. Quick Jabs So Rios tested positive for a diuretic after his welterweight Manny Pacquiao fight although we didn't hear about it until much later for some reason, which, a diuretic doesn't make the world's most sense given how much his team was talking about him eating freely at his new weight. That said, it can also be used as a stimulant. As always, I'm skeptical of any boxer's excuses for testing positive for a substance he shouldn't be taking, and in this case we've had the "must've been an energy drink" excuse from Ariza, which makes you wonder why Ariza, as a nutritionist, wasn't making clear that drinking energy drinks with potentially questionable substances in them before a boxing match might be unwise. We've also had the "Voluntary Anti-Doping Association made me pee in some random drinking glass" excuse from Rios himself, but to my knowledge drinking glasses don't just sit around with diuretics in them, and the suggestion that somehow VADA might've tainted the glass on purpose is hard to buy; more likely, this is just about throwing a generalized haze on the results by doubting the testing agency. For her part, VADA's Dr. Margaret Goodman said that no drinking glass was used and that they have documentation about the specimen that showed Rios et al signed off on it as the pertinent specimen cup, something the Rios camp has not contradicted to my knowledge. She also noted that Rios' camp did not request a "B" sample, although Ariza has indicated he wasn't aware of this option, which, maybe he wasn't, but Goodman seems to dot her "i's" and cross her "t's," so I suspect the option was something she had made available at some point. Best case scenario among the likeliest options, Rios and Ariza were sloppy in exactly the area where Ariza should be helping as a new addition to the team. And the "VADA is nefarious!" thing is something that Ariza couldn't even allege if VADA washed its hands entirely of Ariza critic/vendetta-obsessedr/ex-BALCO figure Victor Conte, as we've previously discussed. Anyway, overall, a banned substance is a banned substance and Rios looks bad here, although since the performance-enhancing or masking agent value of the chemical in question isn't enormous, it's a lesser offense than some others on the merits... I feel a bit more generous toward Ariza on this "Did Ariza give Maidana a pill or something in his welteweight fight with Adrien Broner?" question. It's not that it's not fishy-looking, because it is. But this isn't hard evidence of, at minimum, a ****-up like the RIos positive. This is a video that is strange but wholly inconclusive. There are reasons to suspect something might be up and reasons not to suspect something might be up. That said, there have been a couple good pieces out there about what might have been done IF it was cheating, and both pieces should be read with that in mind -- we're talking about hypothetical scenarios. If you read them that way, they're quite good and useful. For what's it worth, the only evidence I can find of an actual investigation by Texas authorities is a TMZ report based on "sources close to Broner," and Maidana's camp said it is unaware of any investigation, which, you would think the subject of an investigation might know it was being investigated. Anyway, it SHOULD be investigated, so we can put it to rest one way or another... I don't know with any certainty that Ariza did anything shady in any of these incidents, but I do know he has been douchey in veriable cases like the Roach-kicking incident and he does have a tendency to generate smoke if not fire. He is not, as Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer said, an "ambassador to the sport." He is, rather, one of its least likable and trustworthy characters, and if Schaefer wasn't ticked off at VADA about past dealings there's zero chance he says that about Ariza... As for Maidana's opponent: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. came to the defense of "little brother" Broner following attacks by his uncle and dad, and strangely I find myself mostly in agreement with him. Not that I like Broner, just that it's lame for the elder Mayweathers to be attacking Broner when he's down and when they, too, have their share of losses as ex-boxers. There's still time for Broner to get his **** together, even if I'm not confidence that he can (although he can beat assault raps, at least!). For someone so obsessed with his "0," there's something refreshing about seeing Mayweather talk this talk, whatever his reasons. He's also right that Broner needs to move down to 140 or 135. The overall interview is fascinating for a variety of reasons, most of them (again, oddly) positive, although it takes a dip around the point where he says he'll never work with promoter Bob Arum again in his life, which swings the ever-swinging "Who's to blame for no Mayweather-Pacquiao?" pendulum back in Floyd's direction. And I think everyone saw through that WBC stunt about appointing Pacquiao as Mayweather's #1 challenger, right? Won't happen, as Floyd has said, and then you've got one of the WBC's Sulaimans gushing about Mayweather-Amir Khan, which shows that the whole #1 appointment was a meaningless gesture... Sometimes it feels like super middleweight champion Andre Ward is trying to damage his career on purpose. He spent large swaths of 2013 in court with promoter Dan Goossen trying to free himself, which, OK, everyone has the right to try to work with his promoter of choice, but there are also contracts in the world, and the legal fight hit a wall, and Ward wisely got back to the business of trying to, you know, box. Now he's back in court again with Goossen. Chances he could spend large swaths of 2014 in court with Goossen? High! Is it worth it, considering what Ward needs to be doing more than anything is just plain fighting and winning over fans? Apparently? It's hard to figure what Goossen could be doing better, too. He developed Ward into a Showtime star then morphed him into an HBO darling despite so many fans disliking his in-ring style, and some of them disliking his outside-the-ring style, too... Featherweight Chris John has retired, unless this is the typical boxer retirement, in which case he has not. Anyway, the retirement comes after his first loss, a bout where he got beat up, really. John always could fight. I might not have thought he beat Juan Manuel Marquez, but he sure did enough to make it close on the scorecards and give the hometown judges reason to favor him -- and that in and of itself is confirmation of how good John could be at his best. But I'll always look down on his career some for how he came to the United States for stiffer competition, got it two times vs. Rocky Juarez, then ran back to Indonesia to take on a series of so-so opponents. It was a good career, as Cliff Rold ably summed up here. It could've been a better one, even with a few more losses than "1" sprinkled in there, had he beaten a few more credible guys... Magomed Abdusalamov is out of his coma and showing signs of recovery, although it all remains saddening. Boxing promoter Andrey Ryabinsky and HBO have stepped up to foot some of the bills, which, in the case of HBO, our Alex McClintock had called for. It's the right thing to do for the more well-monied sorts in boxing.
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