Originally written on Boxing Watchers  |  Last updated 9/27/14

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 27: Rock Allen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania lands a punch in his light welterweight (141lbs) match against Lamont Peterson of Washington, D.C. during the 2004 Olympic Box-Offs at the Cleveland Convocation Center February 27, 2004 in Cleveland, Ohio. With the victory, Allen qualifies for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Coming on the heels of Lamont Peterson testing positive for synthetic testosterone, scrapping his rematch with Amir Khan and generally sending everyone who cares about the great sport of boxing into a tizzy, the last thing we needed was someone else doing something similar. The sweet science has an image problem as it is.

Sadly, today we got the cross to go with Peterson's jab in the form of Andre Berto and his positive test for steroids. Berto also had a highly anticipated rematch coming up next month (against Victor Ortiz), but that, too, is probably going to get scuttled. This is, to put it bluntly, officially a mess.

I'm preaching to the choir if you're reading this, a boxing blog, but these developments come at the worst possible time for fans of the sport in the U.S. At a time when we should be celebrating the success of the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight - both financially and aesthetically - we're now stuck defending boxing in the court of public opinion. Other sports have been able to weather the storms brought on by PEDs, but only because there was a sense that the leagues took measures to combat them or (in the case of the NFL) that said sports had built up so much goodwill with the American public that most people simply didn't care that much.

Boxing doesn't have either of those things going for it. Its non-centralized nature and the confusing manner in which it's governed by the state commissions gives the impression that no one is really running the ship. On top of that, it's a fringe sport with the mainstream U.S. sports fan, truly making waves only when Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao fight.

The Berto story is obviously still playing out, so a rush to judgment would be dangerous. It's possible, though unlikely, that there's been some kind of mix-up or mistake, that he may be innocent. But he's built like a tank, and Victor Conte has been helping his camp, so fans have a right to suspect that he's guilty.

If it turns out that Berto was knowingly taking something he shouldn't, it's going to come off looking extremely foolish given all the attention Peterson's situation has just received. The media heat has been turned up in a big way, and boxers are all of a sudden under the magnifying glass in a way they weren't just a few weeks ago.

Many people have been writing obituaries for boxing in the U.S. since the time I first fell in love with the sport in the late 90s. So far they've all been wrong, but if there's a sense that the sport is dirty - not just a feeling, but something proven by the kind of hard evidence that drug tests bring - that could easily change. The sky might really be falling this time.

I don't blame Berto (or Peterson, for that matter) for not thinking about the health of the sport as a whole. It's an individual enterprise after all, and boxers have to do what's best for them.

It's just that using PEDs and getting caught isn't good for them or boxing. And if the latter goes down, the former go with it. I'd rather not be writing about any of that, so it looks like it's finger-crossing time, waiting to see if there's something other than a sad ending coming out of all of this.

 

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Johnny Manziel: I could have worked harder all year

Evan Turner on being booed by 76ers fans: 'Jesus was hated too'

Tony Dungy: Marcus Mariota is the next Aaron Rodgers

Twitter having fun with Jay Cutler's MNF struggles

Jabari Parker carried off court after injuring knee

Jay Gruden will return next season as Redskins head coach

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pacquiao: Mayweather won't engage me in a slugfest

Oilers fire coach, GM MacTavish takes over again

Top TE of 2016 class tweets commitment to Florida State

Jon Lester: Leaving Boston would be harder without trade

George Karl a candidate to coach Sacramento Kings?

Report: Tom Coughlin likely to remain with Giants

Brady Quinn: NFC South is rising; no playoff change needed

NFL MVP Power Rankings: J.J. Watt passes up Tom Brady?

Five potential candidates to replace Jim Harbaugh

The 10 most overrated CFB teams of 2014

WATCH: Saints' Terrence Frederick bowls over referee

What the NFL gets wrong with 'neck area' penalties

WATCH: Tom Izzo plays 'Jingle Bells' on his accordian

Report: Dolphins think Patriots lined up illegally on FG block

DeMarcus Cousins learned of Mike Malone's firing on Twitter

Sydney Leroux dating MLS star Dom Dwyer

Julian Edelman has a new nickname for Tom Brady

Lakers throw a party for Kobe Bryant on team plane

Boxing News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFC South rising; keep playoffs as-is

NFL MVP Power Rankings

10 most overrated CFB teams of 2014

Did Pats line up illegally on FG block?

Pacquiao answers Mayweather's challenge

Five takeaways from Week 15

Terrance Knighton promises SB win

NFL: Hochuli made the wrong call

Best MLB free agent is still available

18 amazing NFL stats from Week 15

Merril Hoge unloads again on Manziel

The 15 best Bill Walton quotes

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.