Put to the test
Wayne McCullough raises questions over the overturned bans for Lamont Peterson and Andre Berto.
Last Updated: 04/09/12 9:18am
Lamont Peterson got the biggest win of his career last December when he defeated Amir Khan by split decision, picking up the WBA and IBF belts with the win.
Peterson had requested that he and Khan go through random drug screening prior to the fight in 2011. Subsequently he tested positive for a synthetic testosterone. He stated that he had done nothing wrong and that his team would vigorously pursue the truth, claiming he took the drug as a valid treatment for a medical condition. He was stripped of his WBA belt and it was returned to Khan.
Peterson was cleared to fight on 16 August and got to keep his IBF title. The IBF said its independent doctor was asked to provide an opinion as to whether the levels of testosterone noted in the VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) report appeared to be consistent with the therapeutic use of the hormone or for performance purposes. VADA noted that the testosterone levels were consistent with therapeutic use and were not performance enhancing.
Andre Berto, another champion who was getting ready for a rematch against Victor Ortiz in June also tested positive for a banned substance in May, the steroid norandrosterone. Both his A and B samples came back positive even though Berto denied taking anything. On 21 August 2011 Berto got his licence in California. According to Berto, the positive test "revealed extremely small amounts of a banned substance that were inconsistent with any performance enhancing effect and were much more consistent with contamination of an otherwise acceptable food or supplement".
Peterson and Berto are both cleared to fight again and neither has received punishment because of these positive tests. Berto hasn't fought since September 2011 and Peterson since December 2011 and although he is supposed to be fighting Zab Judah no date has been set. Berto will probably announce something soon.
VADA conducted the positive tests that were eventually overturned by Peterson's independent physician and, in Berto's case, the California commission which reviewed his medical material.
Performance enhancing drugs are a big thing in sports. The reason athletes take them is for success the easy way, which leads to bigger paydays and sponsorships.
If Berto and Peterson knew they were being tested then why did they not disclose what they were taking if they had nothing to hide? California is a solid commission and I hope they were right. Who was the independent doctor who reviewed Peterson's test? Why do VADA waste their time doing random screening when these results can be so easily overturned? I understand there are some common medications that can show up as a banned substance but surely drug screening can tell the difference?
Berto and Peterson had to know what they were putting into their bodies. Did they not ask questions? Back in 1995 I was told to take several pills each day to help me in my career and to this day I'm sure the person who gave them to me thinks I took them, but I didn't. It just didn't sound right so I refused to put them in my body. I did things naturally to be a world champion and I think every fighter should too.