Bob Arum said Julio Cesar Chavez could fight Brian Vera next, and eventually, Andre Ward.
Q&A: Berto discusses positive drug test, Conte, Guerrero
Andre Berto said the positive drug test "didn't have anything to do with any type of drug enhancement, or any type of testosterone or EPO or none of that type of stuff."
Two-time welterweight titleholder Andre Berto spoke to RingTV.com regarding the controversy surrounding his positive drug test, his relationship with former BALCO founder Victor Conte, and his HBO-televised clash with contender Robert Guerrero, who told RingTV.com that plans to test Berto's "soft chin."
Berto-Guerrero is slated for Nov. 24 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.
Berto (28-1, 22 knockouts) tested positive for the banned substance norandrosterone under the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, forcing the cancelation of a rematch against Victor Ortiz that was scheduled for June.
Having blamed the positive test result on a contaminated substance, Berto, 29, was granted a one-year license by the California State Athletic Commission in July to fight in the state after having tested negative for "anabolic steroids and masking agents."
Berto does not blame, and, in fact, absolves Conte, who has served time in prison and claimed to have cleaned up his act, having aligned himself, most notably, with Nonito Donaire and pushed for a comprehensive, random method of drug testing boxers.
Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs), who will be after his 15th consecutive victory and his 10th knockout during that run, initially turned down an offer to face Berto over concerns regarding his positive test. But the fighters have contractually agreed to mandatory drug testing by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
After being decisioned and dethroned as WBC titleholder by Ortiz in April of last year during a fight that featured two knockdowns each by both boxers, Berto rebounded with a fifth-round knockout that took the IBF welterweight belt from Jan Zaveck in September.
Having vacated the IBF title to face Ortiz in a non-title fight, Berto said he is confident that he can overcome Gerrero, who represents the fifth southpaw Berto will have faced in seven fights.
Berto has also conquered left-handed fighters such as ex-beltholders Luis Collazo and Juan Urango by unanimous decision victories in January and May of 2009, and an eighth-round stoppage of Carlos Quintana in April of 2010 that ended an 11-month ring absence.
But Guerrero is coming off a unanimous decision over Turkish-born Selcuk Aydin in July, and believes that he will carry more power into his fight against Berto, despite being in his sixth division after having started out as a junior featherweight.
Guerrero's victory over the previously unbeaten Aydin for the WBC's interim belt ended a 15-month ring absence. In Berto, Guerrero faces a man who will have been out of action for 13 months by fight time.
Berto, of Winter Haven, Fla., shared his thoughts with RingTV.com in this Q&A.
RingTV.com: What do you want to say to your fans about the positive drug test?
And when it comes to the positive test, that was just a situation that was unfortunate. It was a situation that didn't get properly explained to the public on what it was and what caused it.
I believe that's what really made an uproar about everything. You know, like I've said, I've never been a cheater. Never have and never will. I've never injected anything in any type of situation of all.
It wasn't anything like that. It was... after we got the positive test, we just needed to know what it was. Because we knew that everything that we were doing was straight forward.
And after they put the news out, that's when we found out exactly what it was. Then I had to go through all of the right processes and the hiring of the lawyers and things like that.
I'm not sure what it was, but it was just a contamination of small grains of something that caused the positive test. It wasn't anything to do with any sort of enhancement at all.
RingTV.com: How does your relationship stand with Conte?
RingTV.com: How do you assess him as an opponent, particularly in his last fight with Aydin?
Photo by Thorsten Roth, Naoki Fukuda, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org