Pomona boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley acknowledged unknowing use of a blood-doping drug as he responded late Friday to a report that he engaged in an elaborate doping program before his second victory over Oscar De La Hoya in 2003.
Mosley said Darryl Hudson, his former strength and conditioning coach from Pomona, persuaded him to take what Mosley now believes was the blood-doping drug Erythropoietin (EPO) by telling the boxer it was a legal drug used to help AIDS patients battling poor immune systems. Mosley said that Hudson described the drug as "icing on the cake" to the boxer's highly intense workout regimen.
Citing multiple sources, Sports Illustrated reported on its website that the lead investigator in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case revealed the details of Mosley's drug regimen to anti-doping conference attendees last year.
Jeff Novitzky, an Internal Revenue Service special agent who supervised the 2003 raids of BALCO's Burlingame, Calif., headquarters that counted baseball slugger Barry Bonds and Olympic sprinter Marion Jones as clients, reportedly told attendees at a conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., that Mosley used BALCO founder Victor Conte's designer steroid "the clear" and testosterone known as "the cream," in addition to EPO.
Mosley, in a statement, acknowledged giving Conte a check for $1,500 for BALCO products. Reached later Friday by telephone at his Big Bear training compound, Mosley was candid in saying that he at least twice injected himself in the stomach before his second fight against De La Hoya.
"I didn't understand it to be blood doping, I was told it would keep my [red] blood cells high," Mosley said. "I didn't know the extent of this. To be honest, I didn't care to have it, but [Hudson] kept saying this stuff was great, and described it as 'icing on the cake,' because when you work as hard as I do, you need something to help you recover. Like vitamins, I thought."
Novitzky, the SI.com report said, presented evidence at the November conference that included tests and calendars showing how Mosley's endurance-boosting red blood cells soared in August 2003, two weeks after he allegedly began taking EPO. A doping calendar seized from BALCO showed Mosley's final dose of EPO was given five days before his Sept. 13 bout with De La Hoya. After defeating De La Hoya by split decision in 2001, Mosley won the 2003 bout in Las Vegas by unanimous decision.
"When we fought, I thought Mosley was the better fighter," De La Hoya, who now promotes Mosley's career, said Friday while sitting ringside at Morongo Casino in Cabazon. "I questioned the judging in that [second] fight, but I never questioned his physical skills, nothing, and that will never change. I've known Mosley since we were kids. Mosley was the better fighter than me twice, and that's why we won't fight a third time."
Conte told The Times earlier this year that BALCO products earmarked for Mosley were delivered exclusively to Hudson. Conte has served a four-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering counts connected to the BALCO case.
Mosley (44-4, 37 knockouts) fired Hudson after the BALCO investigation linked him to the lab, and he also has told a federal grand jury investigating BALCO and the Nevada State Athletic Commission in a sworn declaration that he has never knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs, said a spokeswoman for his promoter, De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.
Mosley has passed steroid tests in Nevada twice since the BALCO investigation, including before and after his February victory over Luis Collazo. He is training for his Nov. 10 world welterweight title fight against Miguel Cotto in New York.
In light of the report, Cotto's promoter, Bob Arum, said Friday he would recommend both Mosley and Cotto submit to drug tests 30 days before their upcoming bout, in addition to the New York State Athletic Commission's routine tests.
"I have no doubt Shane Mosley is clean," Arum said. "But it'd be a good idea for them both to be tested, to allay everyone's suspicions."
Mosley, acknowledging the "stain" on his career because of the BALCO connection, said: "I haven't tried to mislead anybody."