1) I am shocked and devastated
Of all the people who are shocked and devastated by a failed performance-enhancing drug test, you would imagine the least shocked and devastated would be the boxer responsible for taking the banned substance. And yet, somehow they are always the one most stunned by the news.
2) I will prove my innocence
Oddly, when a fighter pops for a PED, they seem to be under the impression that this is just the start of a little game and that they will now get the opportunity to turn the result around. In failing a test, however, you are guilty of failing a test, regardless of how it came about.
3) I chose to have voluntary testing and even paid for it myself
A classic often used to brainwash those susceptible to being brainwashed, the thinking behind this line is that by virtue of deciding to have testing in place – whether true or not – they must therefore be innocent. Believing this line requires one to have zero knowledge of the cycling process of which the less conscientious boxers tend to fall foul.
4) Let the apology be as loud as the disrespect
This one normally comes after the initial shock and once the lawyers have got involved and light appears at the end of the tunnel. No boxer who fails a PED test, however, deserves an apology, irrespective of how the matter resolves itself. The apology is absolution, if they’re lucky.
5) What is it called? I have never even heard of that
Recently used by Amir Khan, this line is trotted out to essentially highlight a boxer’s supposed lack of knowledge when it comes to PEDs. To add to its power, the boxer, once reminded of the drug’s name, might then struggle to pronounce it.
6) Wait until you see how small the amount was
After accepting that a drug was in their system, the next course of action is to tell the world, “Yeah, but it was only a tiny amount. It would have had no impact on the fight whatsoever.”
7) I have never failed a test in my career
Naturally, the past form of a boxer in the context of a failed PED test is as irrelevant as basically anything else they decide to say once news of the failed test has been made public. After all, no murderer ever gets respect or leeway for having never previously murdered.
8) It is in the hands of the lawyers
Typically a desperate move, this one screams guilt and, specifically, a fear of saying the wrong thing and making matters worse. It is usually a line written with grammatical errors on a black background, then posted without further comment to a social media account.
9) I will do whatever it takes to clear my name
Once dirtied, it is not up to the boxer to clear their name, I’m afraid, nor even their promoter. Instead, it is the right of the fans, those who buy tickets and pay-per-views, to decide whether a reputation has been tarnished or not.
10) My mental health has suffered
The only thing worse than making light of mental health issues – as was the case in society for far too long – is using them now as a bulletproof defence following a transgression in order to elicit leniency or sympathy from either the public or the authorities.