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Berto back on track to stardom

Victor Ortiz (L) poses with Andre Berto at

Victor Ortiz (L) poses with Andre Berto at press conference. December 19th, 2011. (Credit: Hogan Photos)

Could this be the last hurrah for Andre Berto as a world class boxer? Considering what he’s been through the last three years, it’s a fair question to ask.

After victories over Luis Collazo and Juan Urango in 2009 and Carlos Quintana and Freddy Hernandez in 2010, Berto (pictured right) was viewed by many as the next great welterweight champion. But his world came crashing down after a unanimous-decision loss to Victor Ortiz at Foxwoods on April 16, 2011.

Berto recovered and defeated Jan Zaveck in September of that year. But his joy was short lived as a rematch with Ortiz, which was scheduled for last June 23, was called off after Berto tested positive or an illegal substance.

Making matters worse, Berto called out Ortiz on Twitter after his loss, practically accusing him of using performance enhancing drugs. It’s not the first time an athlete has accused a fellow athlete of using, but it makes you look bad if you get caught yourself.

But sports has always been a haven for people looking for that second chance. And Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) will get that when he takes on Robert Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs) for the WBC title at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Ca. on Saturday live on HBO’s Championship Boxing.

Said Berto: "This has been a long time coming. I've had a hell of a year, going through a lot of trials and tribulations. I believe that everything happens for a reason and I've learned a lot about myself and how strong I am to get through what I've been through. I'm in a whole other mind frame and have a whole new motivation.”

A win for Berto could mean a lot. The possibility of a bout against Floyd Mayweather is certainly not out of the question. Tim Bradley, Manny Pacquiao and perhaps even a tilt against young lightweight sensation Adrien Broner could be in the cards.

That is obviously a long way off, but Berto knows his chances to stardom dwindle by each passing year. "I had a tremendous training camp and I'm in the best shape that I've been in in a long time,” said Berto. “I'm focused and I think that's the most important thing.”

A win puts Berto right back in the conversation of a big payday.  

Added Berto: "I'm in shape and I'm ready to get back out there under the lights and have fun like I used to."

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