Boxing fans the world over got another collective hook on the jaw with the news that Andre Berto has tested positive for the steroid nandrolone, effectively putting his highly-anticipated June 23 rematch against Victor Ortiz in immense peril.
It’s a surreal case of deja vu; just 11 days ago, Lamont Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone and had his rematch with Amir Khan cancelled. Even worse, the positive test confirmed that Peterson used the illegal drug before his career-best victory over Khan last December.
The details of Berto’s case are still being ironed out. In recent fights he’s worked with former disgraced BALCO steroid guru turned anti-doping crusader Victor Conte. Now that Berto’s tested positive, Conte has been in damage control and claimed on Twitter Berto admitted to taking additional supplements without checking with him first to make sure they weren’t “contaminated.” Conte has been adamant that Berto was not deliberately trying to gain advantage over Berto, just uninformed about what he was taking.
While Berto and his team try to salvage his reputation, there’s one point that needs to be stressed. There is absolutely no reason why stringent anti-doping testing shouldn’t be a part of every major fight and be a protocol that’s actively supported by every boxing commission in the country. It should not be a “request” confined to contractual negotiations.
Unfortunately, things are going to get worse before they get better. These two busts by two of the sports more prominent fighters just drives home how deep this problem has permeated this sport. How many fighters have been ruined by the fists of a steroid abuser? How many great performances over the years were the result of synthetic help?
What past legends and current stars made their careers with doping as a staple training tool?
We can’t undo the past, but let’s hope these two busts are harbingers for the end of steroid cheating in the Sweet Science.