Andre Berto, who is scheduled to fight Victor Ortiz on June 23, has tested positive for the banned substance norandrosterone, according to Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, the lead promoter of the anticipated Showtime-televised rematch at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Both Berto and Ortiz agreed to be randomly drug tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) for their reamatch, which was postponed from February of this year to June 23 after Berto tore his left biceps muscle.
Berto, who lost their first fight by unanimous decision last April, failed two tests administered by VADA, which found traces of norandrosterone – a detectable metabolite of nandrolone, which is an anabolic steroid sometimes found in the human body (albeit in minute quantities) – in his urine.
Last week, the anticipated Lamont Peterson-Amir Khan rematch that was to take place on Saturday was cancelled due to Peterson failing a VADA test for synthetic testosterone.
“I was personally informed that Berto had tested positive last Saturday,” Schaefer told RingTV.com. “His A sample had the substance norandrosterone. Berto’s manager, Al Haymon, called me and let me know. He pushed for a B sample to be taken, which Berto also failed.
“In some ways, it’s like here we go again, but this was handled differently than the Peterson situation because Al behaved like a professional and immediately informed us and then had the B sample taken as quickly as possible. As a result there is time to salvage the card.”
Schaefer said that he is working with Showtime to preserve the event date and find a replacement opponent for Ortiz if Berto is indeed out.
It could be that Berto took what he thought were natural vitamin supplements that resulted in elevated levels of nandrolone and the norandrosterone metabolite, or that he was prescribed a steroid to help him heal from his biceps injury. Whatever the case, he will need to explain it and the failed test result to the California State Athletic Commission before that governing body grants him a license to fight in California.
Ortiz may contractually have the option to pass on fighting Berto after the failed drug test. Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: with five weeks until the scheduled event date, the show will go on with or without Berto.