Nonito Donaire, the 29-year-old super bantamweight champion from San Leandro, became the one of the first professional boxers to agree to year-round drug testing when he enrolled in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association this week.
Sure, you remember him. The pencil-'stached chemist who ran BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative) and became a household name during the Barry Bonds investigation. During the peak of the mid-2000s steroid revelations, Conte spilled secrets on ABC's 20/20. He talked about working with Olympic sprinters Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery and with NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski. In 2005, Conte served four months in jail for distributing steroids.
Well, he's back, and he's working with boxers now. In addition to Donaire, he's advising veteran Zab Judah, and, yes, Andre Berto. Not a perfect start for Conte's boxer-consultant career.
He knows his name will always be associated with performance-enhancing drugs. Donaire knows that too. So agreeing to year-round random doping tests makes sense. Conte told BoxingScene.com that Donaire is the first boxer to agree to year-round testing.
VADA, based in Las Vegas and headed by Margaret Goodman, the well-known ringside physician for the Nevada Athletic Commission, has conducted drug-testing for major bouts, including the one in which Berto was busted. Goodman has worked with Conte to hone strategies for the testing procedures.
Donaire next fights Jeffrey Mathebula on July 7. His year-round random testing schedule will begin the day after that.