Mexican boxer Óscar Valdez is known for his aggressive fighting ability, fearsome punching power, and his ability to put together excellent combinations. In July this year he was rated as the most active super featherweight, and one of the top pound for pound fighters in world boxing right now.

Yet he also has big question marks hanging over his head.

The 30-year old recently tested positive for phentermine, an appetite suppressant, a substance which is banned by WADA (The World Anti-Doping Agency) in, but not out of, competition.

Valdez had claimed that he had not knowingly taken the drug and that he had ingested it via herbal tea, but critics have scoffed at this insisting the substance was not contained in any supplements that he may have been given.

And some experts have opined that the properties of phentermine make it performance enhancing because it accelerates the heart rate, gives energy, and makes it easier to breathe.

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The news that he had tested positive had seemed to put his WBC title defence against Robson Conceição on September 10th in jeopardy.

Yet the fight in Tucson, Arizona was allowed to go ahead, with suspicions that the promoters pressured the authorities to look the other way because they did not want to lose money.

The fight was sanctioned by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Athletic Commission who approves very few fights annually on its reservation and did not want to miss out on this money spinner.

Nor did the controversy stop there. Valdez won the fight by unanimous decision, against the Brazilian, who had beaten him in the final of the 2009 Pan American Games, and who went on to claim gold at the Rio Olympics.

Onlookers claim that it was conceivable that Valdez had come out on top, but it was the margin of victory on the judges’ scorecards that caused eyebrows to be raised. 

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Two gave him victory by 115 – 112, whilst the third awarded it by 117 – 110 in favour of the Mexican.   

Afterwards a member of Conceição’s camp commented darkly – “first they allow him to cheat with drugs, then gift him the scorecards”.

Most fight fans watching worldwide on various platforms agreed that Valdez had probably won, but few would have agreed by such a clear margin. Scoring of course, is very subjective, unlike many of the games of chance featured in as featured here, where it is immediately clear who has won and who has lost.

Nor has the matter ended there. 

Conceição has subsequently filed a complaint with the WBC (World Boxing Council) against almost everybody involved in the fight. Among his list of grievances are the standard of officiating, the scoring, and the fact that Valdez was allowed to compete in the first place having tested positive for or phentermine.

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And his case has subsequently been strengthened by the admission by Stephen Blea, the judge who awarded the fight to Valdez so generously, that he had made a mistake. 

After watching the fight back, he admitted his score was not accurate, and that he had erred by not scoring two rounds where there was not a clear winner, instead giving the champion the benefit of the doubt by awarding them to him. This he was not meant to do.

Now the Brazilian is hoping that the WBC will, at the very least, order a rematch. The controversy surrounding Valdez does not look like going away any time soon.