By Osman Rodriguez & Ryan Maquiñana
Alex Ariza, the strength and conditioning coach of Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., blasted nutritionist Victor Conte, who has been working with Andre Berto since autumn of last year. Headlines erupted earlier when BoxingScene.com's Gabriel Montoya reported that Berto had failed a random drug test administered by VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency. Berto, training for a welterweight rematch with Victor Ortiz on June 23rd, agreed to take part in a random drug testing protocol. Berto tested positive for nandrolone, a well known steroid.
Ariza blamed Conte for the situation, not believing the nutrionist's claim of not playing a role in what happened.
"Conte always been limited, i feel bad for Berto, he probably didnt know what he was taken. I believe Berto didn't know that Conte was juicing him... Conte should be prosecuted He trusted Conte, not his fault, his job is to train," Ariza wrote on Twitter.
Conte, however, sent a statement to BoxingScene regarding the situation.
“I had absolutely nothing to do Andre Berto's positive drug test for nandrolone. Andre enrolled in the VADA drug testing program in early 2012. While using my nutritional products and protocols Andre's blood and urine were randomly tested twice before his recent bicep injury and all tests were negative. After his positive test was revealed, Andre admitted that he recently took some supplements that were not provided by me and did so without my knowledge. It is possible that one these supplements was contaminated with trace amounts of nandrolone and caused his positive test result. My understanding is that an investigation is being conducted in an attempt to determine the culprit. I was the person who encouraged Andre to enroll in the VADA program and I will continue to encourage athletes to do so. There have been hundreds of nandrolone positive drug tests in the past that I believe were a result of contaminated supplements. Nandrolone is the longest lasting anabolic steroid known to man and therefore it is unlikely that any elite athlete would ever use it in and attempt to cheat. However, the strict liability rule makes an athlete responsible for whatever is in their body regardless of how it got there. I do my best to help athletes to make good choices, but unfortunately they do not always listen to my advice.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and on the Ratings Advisory Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28