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Andre Berto tests positive for steroids, rematch with Victor Ortiz called off

Andre Berto (right) lost a split decision to Victor Ortiz (left) in one of 2011's best fights. (AP)

Former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto has tested positive for a banned substance and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has called off the fighter's rematch with Victor Ortiz.

The positive test, which was administered by the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency, was confirmed in Berto’s A and B samples.

The banned substance was norandrosterone, a metabolite made of nandrolone and an anabolic steroid which can stimulate muscle growth. Traces of nandrolone can be found in supplements. Last January, Berto ruptured his left bicep, forcing the fight to be postponed until June.

Before the fight was officially cancelled, Showtime had already started looking at possible replacement candidates for Berto.

After learning of the positive test, Ortiz's camp released a statement denying any use of a banned substance and questioning the laboratory that took the tests.

“At the present time, I cannot explain the positive drug test, which was provided as part of a voluntary anti-doping program in which I agreed to participate," Berto said in the statement. "I know that I have never used any steroids or other banned substances, and I am investigating all possible causes of the positive test with my attorney Howard Jacobs. I have never cheated, and all of my success has come from hard work and dedication.”

Victor Conte, the convicted steroids distributor who had been working with Berto as a nutritionist, distanced himself from the positive result on Twitter.

“Andre Berto's postive test for nandrolone has absolutely nothing to do with me or any supplements I provided,” Conte said. “[It’s] likely trace contamination. Andre has admitted to taking supplements other than what I provided without my knowledge. Apparently, something was contaminated. Nandrolone is known as the 'kiss of death' steroid. [It] stays in [the] body from minimum of six months up to 18 months. No athlete uses it to cheat. Hundreds of Olympic athletes have testing positive for traces of nandrolone. I do not believe any of them injected it with intent to cheat.”

-- Chris Mannix

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