- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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"Sugar" Shane Mosley says he is a "health-freak-type of guy" who had no idea that what he took for a few weeks in the fall of 2003 were the BALCO designer steroids "the clear" and "the cream," which he said he was pressured to take by his former strength and conditioning coach.
"Unknowingly, yes, some of the substances they are talking about, were being used as part of the workouts. I didn't know what the hell it was," Mosley said in an interview with ESPN.com Friday from Big Bear, Calif., where he is training for a Nov. 10 fight with welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto.
Mosley was responding to a report earlier Friday by SI.com, which, citing multiple unnamed sources who attended an international anti-doping conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., last November, said that lead BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky alleged that Mosley used the steroids, as well as EPO, in a doping regimen prior to his junior middleweight championship rematch with Oscar De La Hoya in September 2003. Mosley won the fight via controversial decision.
"I had no intentions of trying to cheat or do anything crazy," Mosley said. "My thing is live healthy, eat healthy. That's how I live. I'm not afraid what people will think. I know the truth."
Mosley said that when former strength and conditioning coach Darryl Hudson asked him to go with him to visit Victor Conte's Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, he didn't want to go. But Hudson convinced him to take the trip, he said. Mosley, who testified on the matter in front of the BALCO grand jury four years ago, said he only agreed to visit Conte to obtain legal supplements.
"Someone gave [Hudson] a tip that [Conte] could help with my strength and explosiveness and [Hudson] talked to [Conte] a couple of times, I guess," Mosley said. "I told [Hudson], 'I'm good with the stuff I am doing in training now.' I was already feeling good, but I think Darryl wanted to make a big impression, for me to go out there and be really explosive. So I just listened to him and finally said, 'Let's check him out.' We went to San Francisco for one day and I talked to Victor Conte. I explained to him that I am already in great shape but the right vitamins and supplements here and there might help."
Mosley said he gave Conte a blood sample so he could figure out what supplements would be best for him. Mosley, however, said he told Conte and Hudson that he wanted to "make sure everything is OK, so let's call the Nevada [athletic] commission to make sure there are no problems. They called the commission, found out what was legal and what was illegal, and from there they did the program. ... And then, after I fought, I took my [drug test, which were clean] and I thought everything was alright. Everything to my knowledge was on the up and up."
Mosley said he paid Conte $1,500 with a personal check, which shows that he wasn't trying to hide anything. And then, for about four weeks late in his training camp he used the program Conte prescribed for him, which he later learned included undetectable steroids "the cream" and "the clear," in addition to the blood-doping drug Erythropoietin, commonly known as EPO, a hormone that artificially increases red blood cell production.
"I didn't know anything about that stuff," Mosley said. "It was something given to me, pushed up on me. I'm a health freak-type of guy. I like to have everything organic, natural. I believe you keep the organic and natural things and you will live longer. Maybe that's why I look and feel as young as I do. I am very in tuned with my body. When I heard they were investigating the guy [Conte], was like, 'Oh my God, what's going on here?' I feel used and abused. This guy is doing this crazy stuff. That's the only time I ever touched the thing."
Mosley doesn't even believe it helped him, citing the fact that so many believed that De La Hoya deserved the decision in the fight.
"If that stuff is supposed to help, it didn't do nothing," he said. "It hurt me. It was a close fight and I got the decision."
Mosley said when he fought De La Hoya the first time, in June 2000, he hadn't used anything and won more easily.
"So, to me, it really hurt me a little bit," Mosley said.
Mosley said he regrets that he didn't do more homework on BALCO before visiting.
"I definitely regret not being more involved and studying it and putting my trust in other people," Mosley said. "When it's all boiled down, it's not those guys being discredited, it is myself. I regret not following up and not knowing what it was. I didn't do much background check on (Conte). When I went (in front of the grand jury), I gave my testimony. It was truthful. I told them everything I took. But you wouldn't think rubbing anything on me is really going to do too much of anything."
Mosley said he and Hudson parted ways one fight later, after Mosley lost the Winky Wright in March 2004. Hudson eventually went to work with Wright.
"I know Darryl's mentality," Mosley said. "His thinking was this guy (Conte) deals with all these different athletes, that he's a top guy and I am trying to get Shane an edge. I don't think he knew what all this was about.
"I'm not really angry at Darryl. I'm angry at the situation and how it happened and how it put a strain on my life and how the writers are writing about me as if I am a sneaky villain trying to get this edge in fights and trying to win by all means necessary. I like to win my fights because I am the better man. If I lose, I lose. I have nothing to hide. I am a fair fighter, a clean fighter. I don't get down like this."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.