It’s fair to say, in fact, it’s pretty dumb to feel the need to point out, how our beloved sport has suffered more than its fair share of black eyes just recently, this due to big-name fighters flunking drugs tests. Too many A-listers to be able to recall off the top of one’s head have tested positive for this or for that……….and something needs to be done about it.
On this we all agree. But what? A lifetime ban handed stiffly to any fighter who fails a drugs test? A two-year ban? A Three-year ban? A Four-year ban? It’s a tough question, but plenty of people who we should listen to have their own opinion.
Which brings me to Crawford Ashley, the former European/British/Commonwealth champion, the unbelievably modest Leeds warrior who rumbled with, amongst others, Michael Nunn, Dennis Andries, Virgil Hill, Clinton Woods, Nicky Piper, Graciano Rocchigiani, Carl Thompson, and many others.
Speaking recently with Slater’s Boxing on YouTube, Ashley was first asked who he likes watching today….guys like Canelo Alvarez, for example? No, Crawford does not like Canelo, or the way the Mexican superstar goes about things. And, as he explained to the fledgling channel, Ashley has zero sympathy for any fighters who test dirty.
On why he isn’t a fan of Canelo:
“No, I don’t like Canelo at all,” Ashley said. “I Like Boots Ennis, and a few other guys. Why don’t I like Canelo? Because I just don’t rate him. Just look at how he does it…….Canelo [puts out] how he’s gonna fight one of four or five opponents who are out there, and his team says, we’re gonna make a decision shortly. And then, when they already know who they’re gonna fight, what have the other four or five fighters been doing? They [Team Canelo] already know who they’re gonna fight! And the thing is, the guy’s been caught as a drugs cheat. To me, that’s somebody who doesn’t believe in themselves. They haven’t got that confidence. Anybody who goes into a ring, and they’re juicing and they’re not saying it…….I don’t mind, if they take it, take it – but admit to it. And give the opponent the opportunity to either take it or not. Because I knew [back in the 1990’s] Roy Jones was on the juice, but I’d have took the fight. No problem. Because as I said, boxing’s about not getting hit.”
On why so many big-name fighters are failing drugs tests:
“First of all, if you get caught with it, it’s a life ban. If it’s in your system, I don’t care how it’s got there, it’s there. But they do it [take PEDS] because there’s this thing called money, and there’s other people who are backing them, who really want it [the win]. It’s all b*****s, it’s losing its integrity. Certain people, they make certain fighters champions.”
Interesting stuff from a fighter who has been there, done it, and wears the t-shirt. But Ashley did it all the right way, the honest way, with no cheating, with no failed drugs tests. You may not agree with everything Ashley had to say, but at the same time, it’s pretty tough to disagree with him.
How far do we have to go back to find a time when this sport of ours, which we love so much, despite all the ups/downs/ups and more downs, was 100 percent clean and, as Floyd Mayweather would say, on an even playing field?