Earlier this year, people were wondering if Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson, who had tested positive for banned substances under pre-fight screening by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), could ever get their careers back on track. Nobody really knew what could or would be done about the failed blood tests, but things looked bad for the careers of both world class fighters.
Now, less than six months later, both are making plans to return to the ring in world championship contests, ready to pick up right where they left off. Neither has faced any sanctions, paid any fines, or even had any meetings with commission officials.
Berto, who tested positive for the anabolic steroid, nandrolone, prior to his scheduled rematch with Victor Ortiz, is reported to be close to signing on for a bout with IBF junior middleweight champ, Cornelius Bundrage.
Peterson, who was found to be using synthetic testosterone prior to his rematch with Amir Khan, is rumored to be a finalist in the running for a shot at Timothy Bradley's WBO welterweight title on December 15 at Miami's Florida Marlins Park. Peterson's management has also won the purse bid for a defense of his IBF junior welterweight title against Zab Judah.
For the record, both fighters deny any malicious use of the performance enhancing drugs. Team Berto asserts that the positive blood test may have been the result of trace contamination from a another supplement he was using and that, in any case, the amount found in his system was too low to be considered "performance enhancing." Meanwhile, Peterson has stated that his testosterone use was under a doctor's supervision for a non-performance-related physical condition.
Both fighters could very well be innocent, but nobody will ever know for sure.
Since both positive drug tests occurred as part of a voluntary program and beyond the jurisdiction of any state commission, nobody's even quite sure what could be done. So, with no plan in place and no bite behind the bark of these reports, there's no choice but to take the fighters at their word. Innocent until proven guilty.
So, really, what's the point of doing these volunteer PEDs tests at all?
Maybe, as is often the case in boxing, the testing is being used as a tool by fighters and promoters just to give the fans the impression of propriety and due diligence.
Whatever the case, any comprehensive drug testing without the power of a legitimate commission behind it is pointless. With no provision for handling those who test positive and no real authority backing up the results, this recent trend of voluntary testing is purely for show and a mockery of a very serious problem.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, and a close follower of the sport for more than 30 years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Scott Christ, Timothy Bradley vs Lamont Peterson rematch likely for December 15 in Miami, BadLeftHook
Kevin Iole, Andre Berto's positive steroid test yet another pitfall for Golden Boy Promotions, Yahoo! Sports
Teri Thompson, Boxing champ Peterson used synthetic testosterone, NY Daily News
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