Boxer Andre Berto Returns to the Ring Under Steroid Cloud of Suspicion

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Boxer Andre “The Beast” Berto is returning to the ring for the first time since he tested positive for urinary metabolites of a popular anabolic steroid earlier this year. Berto was not suspended after he was able to prove that the steroid positive was the result of a contaminated dietary supplement.

Berto is scheduled to fight WBC Interim Welterweight champion Robert Guerrero on November 24, 2012 in Ontario, California. Berto last fought Slovenian boxer Dejan Zavec on September 3, 2011. By defeating Zavec, Berto was awarded the IBF Welterweight Champion title,

Berto was scheduled to meet Victor Ortiz in a rematch in an attempt to regain the WBC welterweight title on June 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. But during pre-fight drug-testing administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), Berto’s “A” and “B” sampes showed the presence of “norandosterone.”

Norandosterone is a urinary metabolite of the anabolic steroid nandrolone. One of the most popular anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders is Deca Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate). However, athletes in drug-tested sports universally avoid this steroid due to its particularly long-half life. An extended half-life means that there exists a high probability that its use will be detected by anti-doping tests.

Berto issued a statement denying knowingly using any anabolic steroid or banned substance. Given how illogical the use of nandrolone would be for a drug-tested athletes, the possibility of a contaminated dietary supplement was suspected.

Berto hired sports attorney Howard Jacobs to represent him and examine explanations for the positive steroid test. Fortunately, Berto’s legal team was able to pinpoint the source of nandrolone in one of the dietary supplements consumed by Berto.

“[W]e knew we didn’t do anything wrong. It was just the fact of just coming out and proving that,” explained Berto. “After we did, we hired some real top level scientists and attorneys that really go in take a sample and find out exactly what it was, and we found out exactly what it was. It was a contamination of very, very, very small trace. But we presented all the results to the commission and everything’s cleared up and we were able to move forward.”

Unfortunately for Berto, Golden Boy Promotions did not wait for the outcome of Berto’s appeal last summer. They cancelled his rematch with Victor Ortiz and selected another opponent to replace Berto.

Even worse, Berto has been labeled with the steroid stigma in spite of his successful appeal. Given that so many other athletes have falsely tried to blame their steroid positives on supplements, the general public generally dismisses such explanations.

It remains to be seen if Berto can escape the cloud of steroid suspicion that has haunted him since his nandrolone positive earlier this year.


Willis, G. (November 24, 2012). Fighting his past: Berto back from steroids ban. Retrieved from