Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
The highly-anticipated rematch between former welterweight champions Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto on June 23 has been jeopardised as the latter, a Floridian 28-year-old with a fan-friendly fight style, has registered a positive test result for the steroid norandrosterone, a banned substance. Berto’s nutritionist, Victor Conte, has made numerous comments clarifying the situation. One of which was that the positive result was because of a “clear contamination“.
The April duel Berto (28-1-0, 22ko) and Ortiz (29-3-2, 22ko) contested in April, 2011 was one of last year’s most thrilling with multiple knockdowns scored in a competitive encounter that Ortiz edged, wresting the WBC title away from Andre’s waist. Ortiz went on to book himself a match with the most lucrative opponent in boxing – Floyd Mayweather – who he dropped a fourth round knockout loss to, while Berto bounced back from the Ortiz defeat by retiring teak tough Slovenian Jan Zaveck.
Golden Boy Promotions were swift in pairing Ortiz and Berto back together but, in less than a fortnight on from the cancellation of the Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan rematch due to the former’s failed test, Golden Boy are set to lose out again, as CEO Richard Schaefer explained to ESPN: “I was informed late Saturday of the ‘A’ sample testing positive and urged an immediate testing of the ‘B’ sample. We just got the results that the ‘B’ sample tested positive as well [and] obviously, we are disappointed.”
Berto and Ortiz’s second fight, to be staged at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, was initially slated to occur earlier in the year but a bicep injury to Berto forced a postponement. The pair were contractually bound to have blood and urine routinely tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) and, despite Berto’s test, it has been speculated that Berto’s rehabilitation from injury may have scored a false positive.
Also, nutritionist Conte, who was infamously embroiled in the BALCO scandal but has since moved to redeem his professional character, indicated that there may have been “clear contamination” from a supplement Berto took that he did not tell Conte about.
He also stated: “Sometimes you can’t protect people from themselves. I have advised boxers not to take different supplements [from the ones I prescribe], but they don’t always listen. [Berto took] several different products [but] anybody who believes an elite athlete would use nandrolone with an intent to cheat is uninformed because it stays in your system for a minimum of six to 18 months. [There is] clear contamination in the Berto case.”
He added: “Hundreds of Olympic athletes have testing positive for traces of nandrolone. I do not believe any of them injected it with intent to cheat.”