Danny Garcia’s defense of his World Boxing Assn. and World Boxing Council junior-welterweight belts Saturday was thrown into jeopardy Friday after his opponent, former champion Erik Morales, tested positive for a banned substance.
The 36-year-old Morales (52-8, 36 KOs) submitted a drug test Oct. 3 that was found to be positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, which has weight-loss effects.
As of Friday afternoon, the bout, headlining the debut fight card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn is still on, promoter Richard Schaefer said.
Morales was stripped of his WBC belt in March for not making weight in his first bout against Garcia, a fight Garcia won by unanimous decision.
Each fighter weighed in Friday under the 140-pound fight.
Subsequent samples were gathered from Morales on Oct. 10 and earlier this week, Schaefer said, and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has informed the promoter and the New York State Athletic Commission it intends to have the samples processed by Friday night or early Saturday.
“They know there is urgency,” Schaefer said. “The commission and Garcia’s team will then decide if the fight is on. Team Garcia has to be confident this is not a steroid that is enhancing Morales’ performance.”
Schaefer said the amount of clenbuterol found in Morales’ system was so slight, there is speculation the positive result is from food contamination stemming from beef Morales ate.
Garcia (24-0, 15 knockouts) added the WBA belt in July with a fourth-round technical knockout of England’s Amir Khan in Las Vegas.
Garcia barked a bit at Morales during the weigh in Friday and added, “I’m ready to do my job. I’m ready to destroy him.”
The Barclays fight card will be televised by Showtime and counts three other world title fights.
Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi will defend his WBA welterweight belt against Pablo Cesar Cano, who weighed in over the 147-pound limit Friday and cannot win the belt.
Big-punching Randall Bailey will defend his International Boxing Federation title against former junior-welterweight champion Devon Alexander.
And Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, who trains at Hollywood’s Wild Card Boxing Club, will seek the World Boxing Organization middleweight title against Hassan N’Dam.