BN Investigates | Highlight 5 | Issue | Premium | Aug 13 2019

Cannabis in boxing

Should boxers who use cannabis still be put in the same bracket as those who attempt to cheat by use performance enhancing drugs? Hall of Fame writer Nigel Collins investigates
Action Images/REUTERS/Jason Lee

YOU wouldn’t think Avery Sparrow had just returned from a year’s layoff as he shadowboxed and hit the pads. Dressed in a black T-shirt and black tights, his jab darted out fast and straight, often in doubles and triples. He looked graceful ducking and moving laterally, first to his left and then to his right, his combinations were a blur.

The 25-year-old Philadelphia lightweight hadn’t wanted to talk about the year he was without a boxing licence, which was understandable under the circumstances. His post-fight urine sample had tested positive for cannabis following his second-round stoppage of Jesus Serrano on March 19, 2018. The victory was changed to no-contest and Sparrow’s fast-rising career came to an abrupt halt.

With his comeback fight with local rival Hank Lundy just a few days away, Sparrow finally agreed to a private interview at a downtown gym where a public workout was taking place. He was understandably guarded at first, but relaxed when informed the article wouldn’t be published until after the fight. He didn’t want to be labeled a “stoner” going in.


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