Marian Muhammad Speaks Out On Roy Jones And The Steroids Issue

By Elisa Harrison
Updated: October 1, 2005

An Exclusive Interview

MIAMI, FLA.—Marian Muhammad was the Secretary of the International Boxing Federation back in May of 2000 when Roy Jones, Jr. and Richard Hall met up for all of Roy’s baubles at Canseco Fieldhouse in Indiana.

In addition to all the evidence we have discovered regarding a double positive test for anabolic steroids on the above named fighters, we decided to speak to Ms. Muhammad, hoping to add another dimension to this intriguing story. Although Ms. Muhammad was only the Secretary at the time of the event, we felt that her input would be helpful in sorting out the TRUTH.

This is what we talked about…

QUESTION: Ms. Muhammad, may I ask you if in fact the IBF was the lead organization for the Jones-Hall championship fight in May 2000?

MMUHAMMAD: No, it was the WBA’s lead…

QUESTION: May I ask you then why did the letters notifying Roy Jones, Jr. and Hall about their positive tests for anabolic steroids came from the IBF?

MMUHAMMAD: Because they tested positive for substance(s) that are supposed to be banned by our organization. Roy took our title into the ring; it doesn’t matter who the lead organization was. It doesn’t matter if you tested positive for something that was against any of the organization’s rules.

QUESTION: To the best of your knowledge can you tell me if you know whether the other organizations took any kind of action on this matter. Did they send a letter, anything?

MMUHAMMAD: No, not to the best of my knowledge, they didn’t and I communicated directly with Mr. Jones, Mr. (Richard) Hall because I got the positive specimens back. I told them what the IBF rules said.

QUESTION: I realize that you were not the president of the IBF when this fight took place, so I hope this is not an unfair question. But, was the IBF supposed to have acted on those positive tests?

MMUHAMMAD: To the best of my knowledge, yes.

QUESTION: Should the organization have done something?

MMUHAMMAD: The rules state that if he tested positive the second portion of the specimen should have been sent to a lab of his choice and the local Commission for testing, and if that specimen came back positive, then that could be grounds for vacation of the title.

QUESTION: According to my conversation with Jacob Hall, Richard Hall’s attorney asked that the second specimen be tested, and it is my understanding that nothing was done regarding Richard Hall. Did the rules not apply to him?

MMUHAMMAD: Remember, the WBA was the lead here, it was a WBA mandatory. If Hall had been the IBF champion… the only thing we could do was test the winner, and the winner happened to be Roy Jones, Jr. who was the champion. Richard Hall wasn’t even rated by the IBF.

QUESTION: And to the best of your knowledge, (and ours), they didn’t, correct?…

MMUHAMMAD: Well, I only know that on Richard Hall we got nothing but I have a positive test from Roy Jones, Jr. that was directed to Mr. Jake Hall at the Indiana Boxing Commission, indicating that Mr. Jones tested positive for anabolic steroids.

QUESTION: I realize that 2-1/2 years have gone by, and perhaps you don’t remember… but I have copies of the letters sent by the IBF to Richard Hall and to Roy Jones, and they both bear your signature, as then Secretary of the organization…

MMUHAMMAD: That’s correct and there was also another one that Ms. Knight herself asked me to send… She asked me to send them, (the letters), I sent them. Then she herself sent one to … it was directed to Roy Jones telling him that she hadn’t heard from him about the results from Specimen B and that she was directing him to contact this office no later than the close of business on Friday, August 25, 2000.

QUESTION: The fight was in May? Why such of long lapse of time?

MMUHAMMAD: I can’t tell you… Once I did what she asked me to do, it went from there… I don’t know what happened after that…

QUESTION: Can you think of any reason why this situation was never unearthed before the Richard Hall interview with Bragging Rights Corner’s Aladdin Freeman?

MMUHAMMAD: Well, I really don’t know… I know that I saw something on the net at one time, immediately after the fight, but nobody never called me, and when I spoke to Jacob Hall after I got his letter, he said that the Indiana Commission had no way to deal with anabolic steroids intake because it was not covered in their rules, not even banned by Indiana, so he couldn’t do anything anyway, that’s what he told me.

I was not aware of any of the arrangements that were made between Fred Levin, Roy Jones’ attorney and Mr. Jacob Hall from the Indiana Boxing Commission. (Editor’s Note: Ms. Muhammad is referring to the charitable contribution which was asked of Roy Jones, Jr. and which he submitted, in the form of a check for $250, dated Oct. 27, 2000, to the Indianapolis Police Athletic League).

QUESTION: I would like to ask you if you have been asked any questions regarding this incident and Roy’s use of a sinus medication which according to some members of his camp could have caused the positive test results…

MMUHAMMAD: No one has… I’ve only spoken to Jake Hall, period. I’ve never spoken to anyone from Roy’s camp including his attorney. I haven’t spoken to anyone from any internet sites, I DON’T READ THEM, believe it or not. Nobody has ever called me about Roy Jones testing positive.

QUESTION: Are you aware that members of Roy Jones, Jr. have gone on record saying that his sinus medication could have been the culprit for his positive reading?

MMUHAMMAD: This is the first I’ve heard of any of it since 2000, nobody has ever contacted me about anything, and like I said, when it was going on I only communicated with Jake Hall, period.

QUESTION: Now that you head the IBF, are you attempting to make strides toward implementing drug testing in all states? Are you working on that at all?

MMUHAMMAD: No, what we do is in whatever jurisdiction we sanction a fight the promoter is obliged to get drug testing. The doctor, whomever the state assigns as the doctor, the promoter has to pay him and the laboratory for the drug tests, whether the state has a law or not, because it’s one of our rules. That’s how we went through all of this in Indiana, because they don’t have any drug testing.

QUESTION: Do you think that in your position of leadership, as someone that people look up to and respect in the sport, do you think that perhaps you could take a more active role -aside of your organization- to help make the implementation of drug testing in all states a reality? To take it a step further, how about testing for communicable diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, which is not mandatory in the great majority of the states either?

MMUHAMMAD: Yes, that is correct, there is no testing for communicable diseases…

QUESTION: But, how can that be? Boxers bleed, they bleed for a living…

MMUHAMMAD: All I can tell you is that the states have autonomy. Each state has its own individual laws and just like you have just told me you are floored by the things that the states do not require, it floors me that the Association of Boxing Commissions, which each state has appointed an overseer, like a sanctioning body, if you can’t clean your own house how are you going to clean somebody else’s? So, what we have done is try to work with Senator John McCain, (R AZ), to come up with some minimum safety standards that will be required by EVERYBODY, and that would include HIV testing, hepatitis testing, drugs, whatever it is that could cause a problem or magnify a problem in the sport of boxing.

I don’t know personally how I can get anymore involved at this moment but through dialogue hopefully we can all do our part.

QUESTION: I have found out that there is a serious lack of knowledge regarding the dangers of steroids use. In closing, would you like to address that for our readers?

TMMUHAMMAD: The only thing that I know about it is that according to our medical doctor the anabolic steroid has an effect on the neurological system and it’s also a PERFORMANCE ENHANCER. That is why we at the IBF have BANNED IT.

When I received the report from Jake Hall, I called a few people, one of them being the Pennsylvania Commissioner, Greg Serb, because he is a former wrestler and he has done studies on anabolic steroids. I was told by him that there are levels of intake of that stuff, if you are under a certain level, then it doesn’t enhance your performance. He told me that there are over the counter items that have the substance in them, and you could consume them not knowing, and not trying to enhance your performance. I didn’t understand that explanation then and I don’t understand it now, but my doctor -the IBF doctor- says it doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t be involved with anabolic steroids at all.

To get into the really details of the stuff, I must be honest with you, I was never in a position before where I had to address it, now that I am, I will get into it.

Ms. Muhammad, I want to thank you for granting us this interview. In closing, I want to tell you that this has never been a witch hunt against Roy Jones, Jr., Richard Hall, the Indiana Boxing Commission or the IBF for that matter. We, at Bragging Rights Corner, simply followed a story and we have been very careful to investigate every allegation that has been made along the way. I am thankful for your candor and for the information you have shared with us, which hopefully will clear up some of our readers’ questions and concerns.


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Elisa Harrison Editor Bragging Rights Corner