Andre Berto returns on November 24 to face Robert Guerrero on HBO, and discussed with Max Boxing's Radio Rahim his VADA test failure, his new relationship with Golden Boy, the upcoming fight, Victor Ortiz, and more.
Radio Rahim, Max Boxing: "Andre, a lot of times in news, what people read is the headline, and the headline on you was tested positive for PEDs, performance-enhancing drugs. Now there's a long story that comes after that that a lot of people don't know. People that I talked to were surprised that you were even getting a fight. So let's take the boxing audience who may not be familiar with how this whole thing came out, and what happened -- talk to me about the process and how it got to where we are now."
Andre Berto: "Radio Rahim, you know how this media aspect goes, man, and like I say, the positive test came out. Everybody was surprised, my whole team was surprised, I was surprised, I didn't know what it was, nobody knew what it was. You know, so we just put the team on it, and just pretty much just went back to the samples, and really tested the samples, and you know, just to really get behind it and see what it was. It was a contamination of something, they don't know what. But no enhancement drugs whatsoever. No testosterone, EPO, you know all the other stuff these crazy people are taking. None of that. It was just a process of, um -- just the way they brought it out was kind of unnecessary, without finding out what it was first. And to bring it out to the public that way, it just gave people a chance to take it and run with it, for whatever they thought it was. But like I say, we stayed calm, we stayed positive, because we didn't do anything wrong. We went through the right steps, to go through the commissions. We brought lawyers, doctors, everybody in, and just continued to test these samples just to find out exactly what it was. We went through the right steps with the commission. They tested me in and out again right after that, and um, they see that we didn't do anything wrong at all. It was just a ridiculous situation. And they just reinstated me."
Editor's Note: Berto tested positive for nandrosterone, but the traces were so low that it was decided that it was almost certainly a contamination, rather than something taken purposely with the intent to use it as a performance-enhancing drug.
Radio Rahim: "So at this point, you've been completely exonerated. There's no cloud of suspicion--"
Andre Berto: "No, no, not at all."
Radio Rahim: "So that cost you money, time, and reputation at the time we were just a few days, a week or so away (Editor's note: It was over a month away) from the rematch of what a lot of people considered to be the Fight of the Year. When that was press (tour) was being done, you were so focused, you seemed so passionate, so ready to avenge that loss, what was it like realizing that that fight wasn't going to happen, and were you able to stay focused on your career? Were you in the gym? What was the after moment like?"
Andre Berto: "It was a devastating situation for me, because just like I said, everybody knows me and knows my family, we pride ourselves on hard work, that's it. So it was a situation that happened that it was devastating for us. I went to, like, a real dark place of just not understanding why. And you know, I went through very -- like a depressing stage, waiting for, you know what I mean, having to just be quiet and wait for the team to put everything in order to clear everything up. So the only thing I could do was just spend time with the family and stay in the gym. That's it. I stayed in the gym and made sure everything was going to be on point on our end, because I know we didn't do anything wrong. I knew everything was going to get cleared up soon."
Radio Rahim: "Last question on getting us up to speed, you're now with Golden Boy. Now when something like (the drug test) happens, a lot of people say you find out who your friends are. How did this affect your business relationship with DiBella? How did you end up with Golden Boy?"
Andre Berto: "Me and Lou DiBella, we're still good friends. I love the team. They did great things with my career. They've been with me my whole career. And they had me on a tremendous track. You know, just things that just happen from time to time. Like I said, Al Haymon is my manager, and he basically puts everything in line for me, and I go to work, wherever it's at. But no bad things to say about DiBella at all. He's been great. Him, the whole team -- Joe, Meredith, everybody -- I love them guys to death, and we're still real good."
Radio Rahim: "We wonder if the rematch with Ortiz, still, would have been most likely a more anticipated fight, even than Guerrero. Why is it Guerrero and not Ortiz?"
Andre Berto: "Last thing I heard, Ortiz is still trying to get his face fixed a little bit. You know, I'm not sure. I don't even think he's cleared yet. I'm not sure. I don't know his situation. I just wanted to come back him, have a real good fight, and fight for another world title."
Radio Rahim: "Is that a fight that you need? Is that redemption that would calm some demons?"
Andre Berto: "Yeah, you know, but at the same time, I'm just looking forward to putting on these performances. That fight was extremely exciting. But I believe people that know me, they can see I wasn't at my best that night, even though it was exciting. But like I said, we'll see what happens. I'd still love to have that fight. But like I said, we're going to see what happens. You have a lot of other things, like, ahead of me right now. Ortiz, I don't know his situation. I don't know what he's going through. So I'm not sure."
Radio Rahim: "Turning our attention to the challenge ahead, Robert Guerrero, he's just won the interim title, he's at 147--"
Andre Berto: "What does that mean? Does he have the title or not?"
Radio Rahim: "I was gonna ask you that, because it doesn't say it's a world title fight. So that might be a question for Schaefer, which I will ask. We were wondering if this is a title fight. Whether it is or not, this is a title for rep--"
Andre Berto: "I need that belt."
Radio Rahim: "If it weren't a title fight, if that belt weren't on the line, does that disappoint you? Do you feel you deserve a shot at that?"
Andre Berto: "I think at this point in time, everybody just wants to see me back. That's it. This whole time I've been off, you know, we've been getting ridiculously overwhelmed with just support and love that people just want to see me back in the ring. Right now, it doesn't matter at all. They just want to see me back."
Radio Rahim: "Guerrero's up two weight divisions, you're coming off after a long layoff. You still had to rehab the arm. Talk to me about the advantages that you have in the ring against a Guerrero who has been active, who is in the ring, he's having success. Why do you think you can win this fight?"
Andre Berto: "Just being me. I believe I have the speed advantage. I have the power advantage. Just a lot of different areas. I just think all-around, I'm a better fighter."
Radio Rahim: "That interim belt that he holds, Mayweather holds the title. So if you were to win this fight, are you open to a fight with Floyd Mayweather?"
Andre Berto: "Like I said, right now, all the focus is on the 24th. Everything after that is wide open."
Radio Rahim: "It's only (a month) away, this fight -- with all that you've been through, you talked about the dark place, have you been in the gym until now, and how are you training to make sure that you don't re-injure that arm, and that you're ready to go?"
Andre Berto: "I'm gonna be good. The arm was good months ago, like when I was getting ready for Ortiz. I've already been sparring, hard sparring. Everything's gonna be good."
Radio Rahim: "On this comeback fight, are you looking to knock out Guerrero? Is that something that you're focused on and do you feel like you can do it?"
Andre Berto: "Yeah. I believe I can knock out anybody at 147. I'm just looking forward to coming there and winning. If it happens, it happens."