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June 18, 2012

Original Article: Max Boxing
By Gabriel Montoya
June 18, 2012

Since the day Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley agreed to do random drug testing overseen by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for the May 1, 2010 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, the idea of fighters becoming proactive in the anti-doping movement has gained more and more momentum. The month of May 2012 saw Lamont Peterson and Andre Berto, two top-level champions, not only volunteer for testing under the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) but test positive for banned substances under the very supervision they asked for. In addition, Mayweather has had two other fights tested under USADA’s supervision. Mosley has the distinction, along with Victor Ortiz, of having been tested by both USADA and VADA as his fight this year with Saul Alvarez was tested under the auspices of the latter.

Last week, the momentum was picked up and run with by WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, 28-1 with 18 KOs. Starting with his July 7 unification bout with IBF super bantamweight titlist Jeffrey Mathebula, 26-3-2 with 14 knockouts, Donaire will be subject to testing by VADA, year-round. That’s 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no matter where he is in the world. If World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-approved sample collectors knock on Donaire’s door, he must give them a blood and urine sample. Per VADA’s rules, an athlete can miss sample collection once within a year period. If they miss twice, they are out of the program and the miss counts as a positive with potential sanctions, fines and bans to follow.  If the subject tests positive, they are also out of the program with potential sanctions, fines and bans to follow.

Speaking to Donaire Sunday afternoon from his training camp at the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos, CA., the idea of being the first professional boxer to undergo this stringent of testing seemed to empower him. In a way, it is a gift to his fans.

“I have always been the type of person who has nothing to hide,” Donaire told Maxboxing.com. “I think that this is not only good for boxing but good for sports overall. I think that my fans deserve the truth. They deserve my honesty, that this is who I am. I’ve got nothing to hide. It is to show my fans that I am at this level and I am competing naturally and that anybody can do it. Just work hard. That is more than enough to get you to the top.”

 
April 25, 2012

Original Article: Max Boxing
By Gabriel Montoya
April 25, 2012

The modern boxing landscape is a brutal one. Undefeated records are the greatest of currency, even though they are a mirages that hide who a fighter truly is. Without tests or losses, a fighter never truly develops the depth of character to ascend to greatness. Only the rare remain undefeated while taking tough fights, hitting roadblocks and shooting through them. For the vast masses, losses are a natural part of the game that you either grow from and move on to success or succumb to and slide further down the boxing trough.

In the modern boxing landscape, heavyweight Chazz “The Gentleman” Witherspoon, 30-2 (22), is thought to be done at 30 years old, at least by conventional thinking. But Witherspoon, managed by Jawbreaker Management, run by Steve Russo and Ken Norton (yes, that Ken Norton), is not a conventional man. A college-educated Philadelphia, Penn. native, with a degree in pharmaceutical marketing from St. Joseph’s University in his hometown, Witherspoon is set to face up-and-coming heavyweight Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell on Saturday night on the undercard to Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson II. Witherspoon is a seasoned opponent who has been stopped once. Mitchell is undefeated and signed by Al Haymon with the support of Golden Boy Promotions. He has the look, the punch and the promotion behind him.   That said, Witherspoon has a few things up his sleeve as well, coming into his bout. Not the least of which is a brain trust including his original trainers, science nutritionist and anti-doping guru Victor Conte, veteran trainer and warrior scholar Virgil Hunter along with legendary sprint coach Remi Korchemny.

Read the full article here

April 24, 2012

Muscle & Performance Magazine
by Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.
April 2012

When two minerals join forces with one vitamin, a cascade of benefits — from gains in muscle strength and size to improvements in immune heath — result.  The product in question?  ZMA.

Read the full article here

March 6, 2012


Doping Guru Victor Conte Finds Salvation in Boxing

 

The Ring Magazine
by Mark Zeigler
April 2012

The poster was on the back of his bedroom door, and every time he closed the door he saw a life-sized Muhammad Ali, body slightly turned, white trunks with a black stripe, white shoes, teeth gritted, bare fists ready to strike. And this quotation underneath: "I'm so fast, that last night I turned off the light switch in my bedroom and was in bed before the room was dark"

Victor Conte was 13 when Ali fought Sonny Liston the first time.  Those were the days of closed-circuit telecasts, and Conte remembers his dad taking him to the Warnors Theater on Fulton Street in downtown Fresno to see it.

Read the full article here

January 24, 2012
Original Article: The Ring by Doug Fischer   Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The word that best describes Andre Berto in training is “explosive.”

Berto has extremely quick hands, even for a welterweight, but the former two-time titleholder also possesses the strength and punching power of a much larger fighter. He’s like a 6-foot 200-pound athlete squashed down into a stocky 5-foot-7 frame that somehow makes 147 pounds.

(I know Berto’s height is listed at 5-foot-8½ on Boxrec.com, but unless I’ve begun to shrink that stat is a bit of an exaggeration.)

His short stature hasn’t hindered his boxing career thanks to the elite speed and raw power that he’s been blessed with. I got to witness that potent combination up close during a recent visit to the Ten Goose Boxing gym in Van Nuys, Calif., where Berto is training for his anticipated rematch with Victor Ortiz on Feb. 11.

I winced every time his gloves connected with trainer Tony Morgan’s mitts.

Berto’s straight right hit like a cannon blast. His compact hooks produced a thunder clap-like noise. Every shot seemed to send shock waves through Morgan’s body during the mitt session.

I’m not usually so taken by the sound and impact of a fighter’s punches when works the mitts. Normally, I’m watching his foot placement and various maneuvers to get an idea of what kind of strategy he’s working on with his trainer.

And make no mistake, Morgan, a young-but-experienced trainer with an astute boxing mind, was going over the finer points of the sport with Berto. He was getting Berto to block and counter-punch in combination. They also worked on lateral movement and setting traps.

December 15, 2011

Boxing News
Thursday, December 15, 2011

Steve Kim on how Boxing has found a place for the man exposed and shamed as drugs cheat in the BALCO scandal.

Read the full article here

October 31, 2011
Shaking out prefight jitters with the Balco ringleader and his new boxer protégé.

(Photo: Michael Schwartz/PHOTOlink/Newscom)

Original Article: New York Magazine

By Geoffrey Gray

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The bus to the press conference is rumbling through midtown traffic two days before the fight. The trainers, sprint coach, and strength-and-conditioning coach are all piled in the back and cracking jokes. In the front, ­Victor Conte reaches into his jacket and pulls out a small plastic bag. It is filled with powder. He gives it to his fighter, Nonito Donaire. He pulls out another packet. He gives it to me.

I read the label: “PED.” Performance-­enhancing drugs? I look closer. Oh! It’s a “Performance Energy Drink”—a just-add-water vitamin-boosted raspberry-lemonade elixir he’s cooked up.

Conte waits for the joke to kick in, then laughs. His pencil mustache rolls into a curl, and his light-blue eyes twinkle. It is a gutsy kind of joke to make for Conte, the nutritionist villain in America’s steroid morality play. It was his Balco facilities that the feds raided—targeted simultaneously by the U.S. Attorney, FDA, IRS, the U.S. anti-doping agency, and a local narcotics task force—in a case that made PED use in professional sports a matter of public record. Ballplayers Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, and Jason Giambi, and track-and-field stars Marion Jones and her husband, Tim Montgomery, were all dragged in front of a grand jury, their reputations with them, to testify about potions like “the cream” and “the clear,” prompting new inquiries into steroid use by Major League Baseball and on Capitol Hill. Conte himself was indicted on 42 counts, and faced 30 years in prison.

“They said I was a modern-day Al Capone,” Conte says. “In reality, it was very soft. I pled guilty to sharing a prescription for testosterone and money-laundering of $100, which may be the lowest amount ever in the federal judicial system. I did not cooperate. They asked me to wear a wire. I did not.

“I did four months in Club Fed. You had guys smoking marijuana in there, dealing coke, meth, steroids,” says the onetime funk bass guitarist (he played with Tower of Power and Herbie Hancock). “You had guys in there using baby oil to get a suntan. It was bizarre.”

Now on the outside, Conte is back in the training business, working with world-class boxers Zab Judah, Andre Ward, Andre Berto, and Donaire, whom he is prepping for an October 22 championship fight against Omar Narvaez at Madison Square Garden. (Donaire will win handily.) “I guess it’s fair to say this is my comeback,” Conte says, insisting that the new supplements he’s been feeding Donaire are legal and au naturel. “We give him all sorts of different things: Ubiquinol, beta-alanine, L-cernitine and L-arginine”—this last, Conte says, “to smooth the walls of the muscles in his heart.”

“Man, I have so much energy,” Donaire chirps from the front of the bus, unable to sit still. He turns around to address his team, first singing playfully in Spanish, then his native Tagalog, then talking in English while imitating the Beatles, then singing like the Beatles, then fading back into a Filipino ditty.

“I feel amazing, I feel incredible,” Donaire says. “Now I’m at like 21,000 feet.”

“As the fight gets closer, we’ll bring him up to 22,000 feet,” Conte says.

Altitude is important to Conte: Since Balco, he’s embraced “intermittent hypoxic training,” which starves the body of oxygen by simulating mountain conditions with the help of a breathing mask, triggering the production of red blood cells and erythropoietin, or EPO—a natural energy booster. “For years, you had guys like Oscar de la Hoya and Shane Mosley and all these champions setting up camps at Big Bear,” Conte says. “Up there is the worst place you can go. The problem is there is no time to get a good rest. At that altitude, your body can’t relax. With the machine, we take you all the way up and bring you all the way down.”

“Victor is really good at the downtime,” says Donaire. It is the boxer’s first trip to New York, and he sees the Garden marquee in passing. His name and picture are on it. “How cool!”

On 52nd Street, the bus lurches to a stop. The press conference is in a steakhouse, and the sight of Conte inside raises eyebrows. “I can’t believe he can even walk around like that,” says one wag. “Think of all the careers he ruined, the families.” On the dais, Donaire seems amped to have Conte in his corner. Pumped full of supplements, he is speaking so fast he struggles to get the words out. His lines are tripping over themselves. “Man,” he says, “I have to calm myself down.”

October 20, 2011

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Original Article: ESPN.com

By Michael Woods

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When Manny Pacquiao fights, the Philippines grind to a halt. Business ceases to get done. Kids clear the streets and huddle around a TV set to see PacMan do his thing in the ring. Even the Muslim guerrilla bands put down their weapons and concentrate on Pacquiao when he gloves up.

Filipino-born Nonito Donaire doesn't have the power to provoke peace on that level, but the bantamweight champion, who fights unheralded Argentine Omar Narvaez on Saturday at Madison Square Garden's Theater arena, is edging closer to the Congressman from Sarangani Province on pundits' pound-for-pound lists, and as a Filipino icon.

"I was told things shut down, everyone watches, but maybe not the rebels," said Donaire, 28, a San Leandro, Calif., resident who moved from the Philippines when he was 10. "My ratings there are good, but not Pacquiao levels."

And quite candidly, Donaire isn't likely to get to the level enjoyed by Pacquiao, regarded in his nation as an athlete/humanitarian unlike any the world has known. At 28-1 with 18 KOs, Donaire will need to stamp on the gas to propel himself into the financial range of Pacquiao, who will make $20 million to fight Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12. (By contrast, Donaire will take home $750,000 for the Narvaez fight.)

In speaking to Donaire, who can disarm with his humility and a heckuva Robert DeNiro-in-"Taxi Driver" impression, you get the sense that he's aiming for Pacquiao-type achievement in the ring, if not the purse department. Donaire, who has previously snagged titles at flyweight and super fly, talks about a potential progression in weight classes similar to that of his countryman, one that could lead him all the way to 140 pounds.

It's clear that the stakes here are immense, and Donaire's ambition level is on par with Pacquiao's. So it's no surprise that he seeks out methods and people whom he believes will help him to join and perhaps surpass Pacquiao on the top rungs of the pound-for-pound ladder. Perhaps, then, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he has retained the services of the man once known as the bad boy of BALCO, the Notorious VIC, Victor Conte.

It's possible that Victor Conte dropped off your radar these past few years. In October 2005, he was sentenced to four months in prison and four months of home confinement after pleading guilty to money laundering and steroid distribution. His sentence complete, the man who helped introduce us to a panoply of lengthy chemical compounds -- which he had helped introduce to a bevy of world-class athletes such as Olympians Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, major league slugger Jason Giambi and NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski -- needed to choose a way to make a living.

An accomplished bass guitar player who gigged with the esteemed Tower of Power in the '70s, Conte didn't re-enter the music world. Instead, he went back to concocting nutritional supplements and finding ways for athletes to maximize their bodily potential. Only this time, the man who felt that prosecutors and the media built him into "the Adolf Hitler of sport," an evil agent who sought to create a master race of athletes, promised he would do it by the book. No cheating, no shortcuts, no administering of banned substances with tongue-twister names.

Read the full article here

September 17, 2011
Business & clients like Nonito Donaire are flocking back to BALCO founder Victor Conte

Original Article: Daily News

By Teri Thompson and Christian Red

Saturday, September 17, 2011

As they sat in the offices of the San Carlos, Calif., nutritional supplement company he started, Victor Conte and bantamweight boxer Nonito Donaire were brainstorming names for Conte's newest consumer product - an energy drink designed to stimulate "mind and body for more powerful and effective workouts."

"What if we called it PED?" Conte joked.

"I think it's great!" Donaire said.

The acronym was too good to pass up.

For those in anti-doping circles, the three letters will not be lost in translation - PED is most often the acronym associated with "performance-enhancing drugs" - but these days Conte can afford to poke fun at his BALCO past and his once-sullied reputation.

Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning, or SNAC, is Conte's company and business is booming. PED - which stands for Performance Energy Drink - is about to hit the market, joining a list of other SNAC products, including ZMA, that fuel Conte's highly successful supplement business and allow him to do what he says he enjoys doing most, work with world-class athletes. Donaire is one of several elite athletes who train under Conte and word has traveled quickly: if you want .exceptional performance results, the man you need to see is Victor Conte.

"He's helped me become a better fighter and athlete," Donaire says of Conte. "My performance level has increased dramatically."

Yes, the BALCO founder who pleaded guilty and served four months in jail for his role in the biggest sports doping scandal of the 21st century - the ring that ensnared the likes of Olympic track star Marion Jones and home run king Barry Bonds and led to an effort to rid sports of doping that has stretched into the current investigation of cycling king Lance Armstrong - can now scarcely field the myriad calls lighting up his cell phone. Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd is a Conte client. So are boxers Andre Berto and Zab Judah. Professional and amateur athletes want Conte's expertise on nutrition, his views on recovery and just about anything else.

"We talk about everything," Donaire says. "Victor is never short for any discussion. I end up sounding like Victor when I talk to other fighters about training and nutrition."

And Donaire, ranked No. 3 on the world's best pound-for-pound list by Ring Magazine and No. 1 in his weight class, says Conte is clean and running a training program and business that is stripped of any BALCO fingerprints - even if agencies such as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency are still keeping tabs on Conte from a distance.

"I've always tested clean and I have always been clean," says Donaire, who is Filipino-American. "I never judge a person (and decide) who they are. Victor wanted to meet with me and I didn't want to pre-judge. I didn't say to myself, 'I shouldn't do this.' I asked my team and they said, 'Why not? The guy knows a lot.' Victor is like a father to me. We have a trust with each other."

Read the full article here

August 19, 2011

Original Article: The Ring
By Lem Satterfield

August 19, 2011

Andre Berto couldn't figure out why he was so tired before, during and after his WBC welterweight title defense against Victor Ortiz in April. A 27-year-old fighter known to some as "The Beast," Berto said that he didn't have any energy and felt "old" going in.

Despite giving all that he could muster during a brawl that featured two knockdowns apiece by each fighter, Berto suffered his first loss in 28 bouts by unanimous decision to Ortiz.

"I take nothing away from Victor Ortiz, he came to fight. But I couldn't lift my arms, couldn't move my legs and my body wasn't there. Every time I tried to throw a combination, my body was just so exhausted," said Berto, who was briefly hospitalized with dehydration afterward.

"Sometimes in the fight, the only thing that I could do was fall back to the ropes. I had trained hard, just like I always do, but my stuff wasn't right. Everything was just dead to me. I fought on pure heart that night, but deep inside, I knew that there was a problem."

Berto has since discovered his "problem" after having teamed up with controversial BALCO founder Victor Conte, whom he credits for re-energizing his workouts. After examining Berto's blood samples, Conte found that the fighter to be overtrained and severely anemic.

"Overtraining occurs in athletes who train beyond their body's ability to recover. Boxers are known to train long and hard, but often times it's without adequate rest and recovery," said Conte, whose supplementation program replinishes nutrients such as Iron in Berto.

"We've been routinely monitoring him and his biochemical profile has definitely improved. He's still training hard, but he's also training smarter and better understands of the value of the recovery interval."

Berto (27-1, 21 knockoutss) will be out for redemption when he meets IBF titleholder Jan Zaveck (31-1, 18 KOs) at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Miss., on Sept. 3.

"Being anemic, it was like going into a fight with less than a half of a gas tank in your car. It's only been about four or five weeks, but I definitely feel better," said Berto, who meets Zaveck four days before his 28th birthday.

"Victor sat down and explained to me what everything does for my body and made me understand that yes, I was training as hard as I trained and getting in shape to a point. But I was also pushing my body to a point where it was ridding itself of good nutrients, and zinc, and other things to the point where I didn't have too much left."

Read the full article here

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