Andre Berto: From Star-Crossed to Lotto

By Ted Sares on August 13, 2015
Andre Berto: From Star-Crossed to Lotto
The fight is an early retirement package pure and simple for the 31-year-old Floridian.

If Berto lost to Ortiz and Guerrero and struggled against Lopez, he will have no chance against Floyd Mayweather…

“This likable kid out of Winter Haven, Florida seems to be star-crossed, but he is too tough (maybe for his own good judging from the way he looked after his recent fights) and far too exciting to go away just yet. Boxing needs Andre Berto.”—Author (2012)

Andre Berto’s bad luck seemed to have started in the 2004 Olympics where he was a favorite to win the trials and qualify as a member of the US Olympic boxing squad. However, he was disqualified for throwing Juan McPherson to the canvas. Berto was winning the fight, before McPherson bumped into him before being pushed to the canvas, and it was ruled Juan was in no condition to continue. A protest ruled in Andre’s favor. He was declared the winner and advanced to the next round. Berto won that bout and was poised and ready for the finals, but then (in typical Olympic-style vacillation and incongruity) a nonsensical follow-up meeting resulted in reverting back to the initial ruling, eliminating Berto from the tournament for a “flagrant foul.”

His parents emigrated from Haiti. Thus, Andre was able to keep his Olympic hopes alive, qualifying for Team Haiti, and, as an exception, was subsequently granted Haitian citizenship alongside his American nationality. However, it became moot as he lost in the first round.

Since turning professional in 2004 and with a physique like a bodybuilder (at least from the waist up), Andre (30-3) has given fans Fights of the Year-type performances, and in between thrilling losses to Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz, he stopped a surging Jan Zaveck on cuts. The former prep football star has not cherry-picked his opponents. Names like Carlos Quintana, Juan Urango, Luis Collazo, Steve Forbes, David Estrada, Norbert Bravo, Miguel Angel Rodriquez, and other mean-spirited hombres dot his résumé. The controversial Collazo win in 2009 showcased the Floridian’s grit. The stoppage of “Mike” Rodriguez in 2008 demonstrated Berto’s lethal use of the uppercut.

Earthquake (2010)

Berto was set to defend his title against Sugar Shane Mosley for a WBC and WBA welterweight title unification bout on January 30, and equally important, for a mega payday. However, Berto withdrew on January 18 due to grave family losses in the horrific Haiti earthquake. Meanwhile, Mosley then—ostensibly—got a nice retirement package by fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr., while Berto ended up facing and knocking out Carlos Quintana on April 10, 2010 Where Jin Mosley was in all of this remains open to conjecture.

Victor Ortiz (2011)

In a gritty losing effort against Ortiz (Andre’s first loss), Berto was decked in round one, “Vicious Victor” was floored in round two, and then both fighters visited the canvas in round six in what was an old school-type barnburner that had the fans up and howling in Foxwoods.

Testing Positive

In May 2011, Andre tested positive before his much anticipated rematch with Ortiz and the fight was cancelled. However, it was later found that his positive test was the result of contamination, and Berto regained his boxing license. In the meantime, another big payday went by the boards. What’s more, Berto had relinquished his IBF welterweight title rather than face mandatory challenger Randall Bailey in order to ease the way for an Ortiz rematch. Once again, it was not to be.

In September, Berto stopped Slovenian Jan Zaveck on cuts setting him up for Guerrero and Soto Karass.

Robert Guerrero (2012)

Berto was floored twice early against Guerrero, but then came back strong with jolting and frightening uppercuts propelled by his blinding hand speed. In so doing, he made ownership of the phone booth an open question, but in the end, the Ghost laid claim (but not without first absorbing career-altering punishment) to the victory. Both of Berto’s eyes and Guerrero’s right eye were closed shut by the end of the fight. It had been a bloody affair.

This YouTube shows how Larry Merchant reacted to the fight:

Jesus Soto Karass (2013)

“In that 12th round my corner said to box, but I said no, I want to finish Berto.”—Jesus Soto Karass

On July 27, 2013, Jesus Soto Karass (27-8-3), outworked and out-landed Berto, stopping the former two-time welterweight champion when a short left hook dropped vulnerable Berto at 48 seconds in the 12th round at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Referee Jon Schorle stopped matters when Berto wobbled as he got to his unsteady feet. It was still another Berto thriller, as Mexican Soto Karass was decked in the 11th round, but came back strong to punish Berto much of the rest of the way until the aformentioned Schorle’s stoppage at the count of four.

The sight of Andre weeping while he was hugged and consoled by trainer Virgil Hunter after the loss was one that was striking in its poignancy. And rather than blame the loss on a legitimately badly injured shoulder, he said, “I could have used the right hand…But at the end of the day, I’m a warrior and I’m going to go out on my shield regardless.”

The undeniable fact is, Andre Berto brings excitement and courage into the ring but he has suffered heartaches along the way. After the Soto Karass disappointment, Andre’s career seemed in doubt.

Joselito Lopez (2015)

After beating Steve Upsher Chambers by UD in September 2014, Andre met Joselito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez (33-6) in March 2015. It was still another exciting and fan-friendly affair, as Berto rallied to stop Lopez and get his career righted, but little did he know at the time just how right he had gotten it.

In the sixth round of the Lopez fray, Andre finally unleashed his signature hand speed that can generate considerable power. He won a crunching and super fast exchange in the middle of the ring setting up Joselito who, until that point, had been the more aggressive and smarter fighter and seemed to be leading on the cards. However, after the exchange, Lopez was decked by a devastating right hook that drew an eight-count. Lopez got right back up, only to be decked again by another crushing blow from Berto prompting an immediate, albeit controversial, stoppage by referee Raul Caiz Jr. These punches had more steak than sizzle to them as Andre recorded his first high-profile win since losing three of four fights between 2011 and 2013. See: opined before the fight that the winner might do well to face Robert Guerrero or Victor Ortiz: No one opined anything more grandiose. No one expected Berto to win the Lotto.

Fast Forward

“Berto is a very tough guy. He’s hungry and he’s not going to lie down.”—Mayweather

“I’m coming to kick Floyd’s ass on September 12.”—Berto

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”—P.T. Barnum

Then, this startling announcement confirmed the cascading hard-to-fathom rumors:

VEGAS (Aug. 4, 2015) – In what is expected to be the final fight of his illustrious 19-year career, boxing superstar and pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) will put his undefeated record and WBC and WBA Welterweight World Championships on the line against power-punching, two-time welterweight world champion Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) Saturday, Sept. 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME PPV (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

In addition to his in-ring accomplishments, Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated have named Mayweather the world’s highest-paid athlete multiple times. His events amass record-breaking numbers; he has headlined four of the six highest-grossing pay-per-view events of all time and holds the all-time record in gross pay-per-view receipts.

If Berto lost to Ortiz and Guerrero and struggled against Lopez, he will have no chance against Mayweather and may well present an opportunity for a rare stoppage win. For those who want to look ahead, Berto also represents a safe conduit to a super lucrative fiftieth fight for Junior.

As for Andre Berto and his entourage, this fight is like winning the Lottery (though it won’t come remotely close to the Pacquiao receipts). It’s an early retirement package pure and simple for the 31-year-old Floridian and given the hard luck he has experience along the way, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy even if he is undeserving.

Ted Sares is a member of the Ring 4 Boxing Hall of Fame (New England) and a member of Ring 10 (New York). He is one of the oldest active powerlifters in the world and competes full power raw in the Grand Master Class.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Larry Merchant rips Andre Berto and gives his take on a Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero clash

FULL FIGHT: Berto vs Lopez - 3/13/15 - PBC on Spike

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  1. KB 04:45pm, 08/20/2015

    Berto will be easy for Mayweather, Tex

  2. Tex Hassler 02:41pm, 08/20/2015

    Berto should be easy for Floyd Mayweather.

  3. KB 04:47pm, 08/13/2015

    Frank Bruno and Gary Mason were two well-ripped Brit heavyweights. Bruno was almost too muscular for his own good.

  4. KB 04:43pm, 08/13/2015

    Yep, Hercules. Great body. Also Norton—the real Mandingo

  5. Big Wally 04:41pm, 08/13/2015

    Mike Weaver?

  6. KB 04:33pm, 08/13/2015

    Yep. If he gets hit hard, those legs won’t help him. I think Mayweather will pot shot the crap out of him and cut him up. I thing the fight gets stopped because of those cuts. Berto has had a big problem with his face getting broken up and Floyd can exploit that with his leads and counters.

    One thing about his upper body is that it propels fast hands which in turn means combos and power. But he won’t get close to Floyd.

  7. John aka L.L. Cool John 04:23pm, 08/13/2015

    Yeah, Ted, I looked at some training photos of Berto. He does have Tommy Hearns-like legs.

  8. KB 03:56pm, 08/13/2015

    HA, Bill, so would I if I were your age, Like the late Trevor Berbick once said, “It’s just like going to sleep,”

    See you in Concord buddy.

  9. KB 03:53pm, 08/13/2015

    John, Berto’s physique is really two. From the waist up, he is ripped and vascular. However, his legs are extremely thin and this sometimes impacts his stamina and balance. In short, he is not well-proportioned.

    I’d agree that Monaco was a monster. But when Richie Womack got out of prison, he was an Adonis.

  10. Dollarbond 03:50pm, 08/13/2015

    I should be so lucky.  I gladly take a beating for that kind of money

  11. John aka L.L. Cool John 02:45pm, 08/13/2015

    Big Wally: I think the best physique in boxing history belongs to Louis Monaco.

  12. John aka L.L. Cool John 02:40pm, 08/13/2015

    I saw Andre Berto fight back in ‘08 against Michel Trabant. He reminded me of Meldrick Taylor. If Berto has anything left, he COULD give Mayweather a good fight. One thing Berto WILL BE is aggressive.
    Personally, I’d rather watch a rerun of Ronda Rousey on TV. By-the-way, I have Rousey’s new book “My Fight / Your Fight.” It’s a damn good read.
    Nice piece, Ted. Thanks for keeping us fans up-to-date on breaking fight info.

  13. Big Wally 11:54am, 08/13/2015

    He really does have physique like a bodybuilder. Bet he uses weights. His vascularity is stunning.

  14. KB 11:26am, 08/13/2015

    kb, this was a case of Larry being hateful and hurtful. It’s what he often did and still does. It’s a pity really

  15. KB 11:01am, 08/13/2015

    Agree with each of you 100%

  16. FrankinDallas 07:21am, 08/13/2015

    Larry Merchant sounded as though someone got him out of bed
    for that radio interview. Grouchy and, well, just plain old.

    No matter what happens, this should be a lot more exciting than Pac-May
    although that wouldn’t be difficult to accomplish. Berto will bring the fight
    to Mayweather….most likely unsuccessfuly but still it should be a decent fight.

    But not decent enough to me personally to PPV it.

  17. Mike Casey 04:54am, 08/13/2015

    Agreed, Pete. An ‘early retirement package’ sums it up, Ted - kind of like Patterson’s last hurrah against Ali in ‘72. Berto shouldn’t get badly hurt and then he would be wise to walk away.

  18. Pete The Sneak 04:14am, 08/13/2015

    Toro, I would have to agree…I guess the only good thing about this fight is that Berto, who aside from reminding me of ‘mushmouth’ from the Cosby Kids (look it up and see) appears to be a pretty decent guy and is going to make a nice bundle of change in this fight. I do know that he works tirelessly in his efforts to continue to help his homeland in Haiti, who are still reeling from that Earthquake (I was just there recently and these folks are still trying desparately to recover). If some of this windfall can further help the cause, then I say good for you Andre….That aside and from a boxing standpoint, this unfortunately will be another FMJ snoozefest…Peace.

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