Angel "Memo" Heredia Says Boxing Is Dirty, He's Clean
When I called strength and conditioning coordinator Angel “Memo” Hernandez (aka Angel Heredia) last week, I wondered what kind of person I’d be talking to. Was he the guy former BALCO associate Victor Conte (a former PED peddler himself) constantly bashes on twitter for being a crook? Or was he, as he claims, just a man who had cleaned up his act.
“Hold on,” he said to me on the phone the minute he picked up. “I’m in Nevada and they have cell phone laws over here. Let me pull over. Call me in five minutes.”
Indeed, a few minutes later I’m chatting with the man who perhaps most famously (at least by boxing’s standards) helped Juan Manuel Marquez (seen in picture, left of Heredia) build his 38-year-old body into the Pacquiao-decapitating form we saw last December.
As we begin, I ask him what he thinks about Victor Conte.
“To be honest with you, one of my least concerns is him,” he told me. “He doesn’t possess a single college degree and yet calls himself a nutritionist. I just think that’s being a con artist. Putting that aside though, I think there is a lot of jealousy. He’s put himself as the Godfather of cleaning up the sport and trying to redeem himself from what he did in the past.”
If you follow either or both men on twitter, you probably know Conte has made no bones about calling Hernandez out as a cheat. The two argue back and forth almost daily, and even bring their own fans into the fray at times to help plead their cause.
Hernandez said it was, and continues to be, Conte who engages him first.
“It kind of surprises me that a guy like that who calls himself very smart is acting like a little kid, sitting behind a computer and making things up with no proof,” said Hernandez.
“He tells everyone that every boxer I work with, that I supply them drugs and all this kind of stuff. It’s very childish. I don’t think anything positive about him at all.”
Hernandez thinks there’s more than meets the eye with Conte. The latter, an ever persistent spokesman for the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), takes issues with Hernandez’s claim that his boxers are PED free, as well as his preference for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
“My boxers will be using USADA so it’s constantly a battle with him,” said Hernandez. “It seems, from my perspective, that he’s only siding on VADA, and my understanding is that he’s an advisor for VADA, and that he gets money from VADA, so I pretty much don’t want my boxers with them.”
While Conte maintains he does not get paid for his work with VADA, it seems at least conceivable his work with them might lead him to be less than unbiased when it comes to other testing agencies. Hernandez told me he thinks both VADA and USADA are competent at what they do.
“USADA is a good testing agency. VADA is doing good in boxing. You’ve got WADA as well, and [Conte] constantly argues that VADA is the only testing agency that detects everything. That’s very faulty. What USADA and VADA can’t detect, none can detect.”
If anyone knows what kind of PEDs might go undetected, it would be Hernandez. The star witness of the US Federal government’s BALCO case, where track and field stars such as Marion Jones and Justin Gatlin were exposed as PED users, Hernandez went from helping the company stay a step ahead of Olympic testing protocols to turning over information to authorities to put them away.
“I testified against those who had testified against me,” Hernadez said. “It went to trial and is done. Ever since then, I’ve been working on the straight side of the law. I’ve cooperated with authorities. I’ve helped the government. I’ve done things before, but I’m doing good things now.”
I wanted to know what he thought about the sport today. Is boxing dirty?
“The [PED] problem is still there. The problem begins at the bottom. Every state has different rules. Every commission has different rules so how can they enforce anything when commissions are not aligned? In order to construct a true system, the commissions need to work together and unify to have universal testing. “
Hernandez said that would be half the battle right there. The other, he said, would be to identify who is responsible for paying the costly tests needed to clean up the sport.
“People ask me this all the time because maybe one of my fighters isn’t doing VADA or USADA testing and it is because a lot of boxers cannot afford the testing. It costs between 10k and 25k. The problem is not mine. It is not the fighter’s problem. Obviously, it is the commissions and others. I mean, what about HBO? HBO pays millions for fights. They should enforce testing as well. If you want to sign with HBO, you should have to sign up for random drug tests. They could use VADA or USADA. It’d be a good thing, but someone has to enforce. Me, as strength and conditioning coach, I can always tell my fighters to do [PED testing], but if they don’t want to do it because they don’t have the money, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Hard to argue with that, right? But what about when a fighter is making millions of dollars for one fight? Can’t someone like that, Juan Manuel Marquez for example, afford the PED tests himself?
“I’ve told Juan Manuel Marquez he should do blood and urine testing for his next fight. He’s agreed to it.”
For his less wealthy boxers, Hernandez said he’s trying to establish a relationship with USADA.
“Something has to be done. I have been trying to establish myself with USADA. I’ve sent them a list of boxers I have. I have Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios, Jean Pascal and BJ Flores…I’m just hoping they work with me to help reduce their prices. And maybe the commissions can help put some money up or the promoters. If the promoter doesn’t want to put up money, the fighter’s manager won’t want to because they only get a percentage, etc. And they have that right. At this point, PED testing is optional.”
I can’t help but ask Hernandez about Nigel Collins’ recent column on ESPN.
Collins wrote, “It's a thorny issue with no perfect answer. Nonetheless, there has to be a better way than the current system, so before dismissing out of hand the concept of decriminalizing PEDs, ask yourself if you're satisfied with the status quo and convinced testing will solve everything. If not, it's time to start thinking about alternatives, even those that fly in the face of conventional wisdom.”
So should PED use in boxing just be legal? Not according to Hernandez.
“He is out of his freaking mind,” he said. “We are talking human life here and not some kind of Olympic medal. It shouldn’t be legal. It should absolutely be regulated. Perhaps congress could vote to mandate testing and force commissions to follow such testing protocol. Something has to be done.”
We finish up our talk just like we started. Hernandez, sitting in a parking lot somewhere in Las Vegas, being a lawful citizen, tells me he would’ve been happy to work with twitter rival Conte on cleaning up the sport.
“If he really wanted to clean up the sport, he would have sat down with me and we could have worked together. But he doesn’t even want to do that. He doesn’t even want to sit down with me and do an open interview with no editing or whatever. He won’t do it because he wouldn’t have anyone telling him the right answers. I would chew him up in a second. That’s just the reality.
“He’s got all these people who write things for him, things that aren’t sourced. I don’t appreciate it, but sometimes you just got to do your thing. I do my job. I do it legal and legit. No drugs. Everything is legit.
“Jean Pascal is doing blood and urine testing with CIR testing. Everyone else will follow. Marquez has agreed to it. Brandon Rios has agreed to it. And the two fighters I just signed are gonna do it, too.
“I’m just hoping we can get some kind of agreement with USADA. Or maybe Victor can pay for our tests. Since he works for VADA, he could get my fighters sponsored but he doesn’t want to do it. Every time I talk to Victor he wants to hang up on me. He wants to sell more supplements.”
Clearly his former BALCO associate gets under his skin.
“Victor Conte has had a fighter test positive for steroids,” said Hernadez referring to Andre Berto’s failed VADA test last May. “I haven’t had one. Anyone that has had a fighter test positive for steroids shouldn’t be an advisor in my opinion.”
Hard to argue with that.
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Re: Angel "Memo" Heredia Says Boxing Is Dirty, He's Clean
Hahaa..u still with that madam g? Your one pathetic sore looser..go cry to your daddy pacqiuao..out classed and out boxed was your man in 4 fights against a true azteca guerrero! What do pinoys have left?..hmm donaire..outboxed and exposed already..How about mersito? Also was taught a lesson..mexico had and will always produce world champions not one hit wonders..madam g never forget that!..in fact refer Dynamita as your conqueror! Holla hahaaa
Re: Angel "Memo" Heredia Says Boxing Is Dirty, He's Clean
The fallen Angel Heredia didn't get the memo. He hasn't had a fighter tested positive yet, because VADA hasn't done the testing of one of his juiced-up fighters. Let Hulkquez get tested by VADA, and then say that.