MANILA, Philippines - Top Rank chief executive officer Bob Arum defended world lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez for hiring nutritionist Angel Hernandez, who has admitted to being a steroid dealer in the past.
Hernandez, formerly Angel Heredia, admitted in May 2008 to a San Francisco court that he sold performance-enhancing substances to track stars, including former Olympian Marion Jones.
In a conference call with RingTV and other boxing media, Arum said Hernandez and other strength and conditioning coaches have learned their lesson and are now using only legal supplements.
"There was a period of time when people like Victor Conte, and like this guy, Hernandez, dealt in steroids with some major athletes. But that's old, old news in this sense," Arum said.
Conte is the nutritionist for world bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire, and has spent time in prison for supplying illegal performance-enhancing substances to athletes.
"Most of the intelligent conditioners, like Conte, if you read what he was saying when he was handling Donaire, and this guy (Hernandez) who is now with Marquez, they know that you can achieve all of the benefits you used to achieve with steroids with natural supplements," Arum said.
"You can do that without any risk of illegality and without any of the dangers that steroids caused, like steroid rage and other long-term problems," he added.
"The steroid problem is fading into the past."
Arum also defended Marquez' decision to hire Hernandez.
"The way that I run an operation, a fighter can hire anybody that he wants to be his trainer. That's up to the fighter or the conditioner," he said.
Arum is promoting Marquez' trilogy bout against boxing's pound-for-pound king Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, scheduled for November 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Moreover, Arum believes Hernandez and Conte will not dare deal in illegal substances anymore after going through 'the legal system' in the United States.
"The idea that Conte, or this guy (Hernandez) would be dealing in steroids with anybody to me makes no sense, because they have been through the legal system of the United States," Arum said.
"Conte was in jail, and Hernandez apparently testified and got a suspended sentence. The last thing they would do would be to deal in illegal substances," he added.
Arum adds, strength conditioners nowadays only use "naturally, totally legal substances, and using state of the art conditioning methods."
Marquez had defended Hernandez in the conference call as well, and said that he was not aware of Hernandez' past when he hired the trainer.