Berto Stops Josesito

By Robert Ecksel on March 13, 2015
Berto Stops Josesito
“I don’t care if he’s fighting back,” said Hunter. “Impose your will on him.” (Naoki Fukuda)

Former welterweight champion Andre Berto stopped Josesito Lopez at 1:03 of round six to win the vacant WBA interim welterweight title…

Friday night at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, California, former WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs), from Winter Haven, Florida, stopped Josesito Lopez (33-7, 19 KOs), from Riverside, California, at 1:03 of round six to win the vacant WBA interim welterweight title.

Having lost three of his last five fights, Berto, fighting out of the blue corner in blue trunks trimmed in red and white, needed a win and he needed it bad. But Lopez, fighting out of the red corner in maroon and gold, wasn’t going down without a fight.

Round one found both fighters starting slowly. A minute passed before Lopez even threw a punch. Berto looked unusually tight in the ring. He was firing off jabs, each of which fell short of its target. When Lopez began landing punches, a right, two hooks, several body shots, an uppercut, Berto could do nothing but shake his head as if to say, “You didn’t hurt me. I didn’t feel a thing. Is that all you got?”

The round went to the more relaxed, more accurate, more composed Josesito by a score of 10-9.

Rounds two through four were no better for Berto than round one. Josesito was landing at will. Berto covered up. Berto’s speed and athleticism were impressive, as usual, but connecting with punches would have been even more impressive. Shots to the head and shots to the body had given Lopez commanding lead. Berto had his moments in the fourth when he finally let his hands go and traded punches. But after four, it looked like the fight was the Riverside Rocky’s to lose.

Berto stepped up his game in round five. He started doubling up on his jab. He had finally found the range. His right hand was beginning to land. Lopez continued to fight and fight smart, but Berto was coming on, however incrementally.

Between rounds five and six Berto’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, wasn’t happy with what he was seeing. “I don’t care if he’s fighting back,” Hunter angrily admonished Berto. “Impose your will on him.”

And that’s what exactly Berto did.

Thirty seconds into round six, a big right staggered Lopez who dropped to the canvas. He was up at the count of nine and looked alert—when another right put him down a second time. The referee Raul Caiz Jr. might have given Josesito another 10-count to gather his senses. Instead, he waved it off and that was that.

“I know I was in his backyard and I wanted to bring heat to him,” said Berto after the fight. “Everybody knows Josesito is a competitor. I knew he could hurt me so I just wanted to try and break him down a little bit. I think I proved tonight that I am back in the mix.”

Andre Berto is back, in a manner of speaking. He’ll likely be welterweight champion again in no time.

Arreola Struggles

In a fight that has been mistakenly described as “classic,” former heavyweight contender Chris Arreola (36-4, 31 KOs), from Escondido, California, struggled to win a unanimous decision over unheralded Curtis Harper (12-4, 8 KOs), from Jacksonville, Florida.

It was supposed to be a short night for Arreola. Fighting out of the blue corner in blue and white trunks, it was Arreola’s first fight since losing to Bermane Stiverne last May. Although he wasn’t in shape, inspiring wannabe comedians on Twitter to new depths of inanity, the same could be said for Harper, who was taking a humongous step up in class.

It looked like it would be over as soon as it started. Less than a minute into the fight, Arreola caught Harper with a big right that sent him to the canvas. He got unsteadily to his feet, whereupon Arreola unloaded all the big guns in his arsenal. Miraculously, Harper didn’t go down again, even though he was beaten from pillar to post in what appeared to be an unsightly, unwelcome mismatch.

But then something strange happened. Having let the kayo slip away, Arreola deflated and Harper took over the fight. The two men took turns pounding each other, displaying considerably more will than skill, but Harper took the majority of the eight rounds, as least by my reckoning.

To make matters worse, Arreola hurt his hand in the middle rounds, rendering him even less effective than he might have been had both paws been working as planned.

Harper rocked Arreola several times but the big man never went down. The, in another reversal of fortune, Harper ran out of gas in the last two rounds, letting Arreola back in the fight and enabling him to win the decision.

One judge had it 76-75, which was acceptable. Two judges had it 77-74 and 78-73, which was not.

Porterhouse Steak

In the opening bout of the televised portion of the card, former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter (25-1, 16 KOs), from Las Vegas by way of Akron, Ohio, stopped late replacement Erick Boné (16-2, 8 KOs), from Manabi, Ecuador.

Fighting out of the blue corner in red and gold trunks, Porter was as athletic and sloppy as usual. He wasted no time in bringing it to his opponent, ineffectively at least at first.

Boné, taking the fight on 24-hour notice, was surprisingly composed and confident. Unlike Porter, who was winging looping punches and barreling in, the Ecuadorean fought smart. He also fought graceful and was a joy to watch when he was upright.

But it was only a matter of time before Porter’s experience, his readiness, began to take its toll. He drew first blood in round two. An uppercut rattled Boné in the fourth. In round five Porter dropped Boné a right hand to the body. He beat the count, only to be greeted with a barrage of punches that put him down again. However gallant a performance, Boné was counted out at 2:30.

Hopefully we’ve not seen the last of him.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Andre Berto vs Josesito Lopez 13.03.2015

Chris Arreola vs Curtis Harper 13.03.2015

Shawn Porter vs. Erick Bone

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  1. Kid Blast 10:16am, 03/15/2015

    Comanche Boy was beaten

  2. Jesse 07:10am, 03/15/2015

    Berto got schooled for 5 rounds n the 6th got caught!!! That’s boxing! But I do believe the ref should have given the man a chance to at least stand up and show if he’s able to keep fighting! I mean man, the ref didn’t even get one count off before waiving off all of joseito hard work…. So am I to assume there’s no 3 knock down rule bc it’s now 2? 2 knock downs in one round equals u can’t fight no more???? Or was this haymond knowing if Berto lost this fight he’s 100% done with ???

  3. Kid Blast 12:17pm, 03/14/2015

    Comanche Boy will be beaten

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:06am, 03/14/2015

    Nielsen girding his loins for Comanche Boy who was destroyed by Delvin Rodriguez….like it’ll be a battle for the ages makes me think that a lot of what goes on in boxing in the EU is really minor league.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:49am, 03/14/2015

    The right hand that Slava Shabranskyy landed on Garrett Wilson as he ducked away from Wilson’s right hand would have ended many a’ career and you can bet your bippy on that. I say Cunningham is indeed a live dog in there with Glaskov.

  6. Kid Blast 08:46am, 03/14/2015

    “There was no reason for the ref. to give a count to Bonet when he went down the last time. There is no scenario where he should have been permitted to continue at that point regardless of making the count.”

    That said, I thought it was a great night for action. We always crave a heavyweight brawl. When it happens, I am always confused as to why we dump on it. These two fat guys gave their all. Harper showed tons of grit—pun intended. 

    It would have been easier for him to get through the eye of a needle than win a decision in Cali. But at least he gave 110%. That’s a lot more than most and I salute him for that.

  7. Clarence George 07:51am, 03/14/2015

    Ha!  Yes, Irish, I think we can safely conclude that Arreola’s career is over.  He may continue fighting, but that ain’t the same thing.

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:33am, 03/14/2015

    Arreola says he’s ready for his title shot now, thank you!

  9. Clarence George 06:22am, 03/14/2015

    “New ideas are not necessarily good ideas, which is telling you nothing you don’t already know.”  Well put!

    And thanks for reminding me of Jack Reiss looking like he was about to step on a court at Wimbledon.  It had completely slipped my mind for some reason.  He did indeed look ridiculous.  And what was the point?  What, I need an up-close shot of a boxer while the ref’s talking to him?  What nonsense.  They abandoned the idea for the other fights, if I remember correctly.

    But the use of Hearns was really inexcusable.  I mean, how could they not have vetted him beforehand?  At least they saw their mistake and didn’t return to him.  I don’t recall the name of the girl who was interviewing him, but she must have been sweating sheets.  I cringed when she desperately said something like, “Come on, Tommy!”

  10. Robert Ecksel 05:39am, 03/14/2015

    Having Tommy Hearns offer commentary was definitely a miscalculation. It reminded fans, as though any reminding was necessary, what an injurious sport this is. And what about the referee and cornerman cams that were touted at the beginning of the broadcast? Jack Reiss looked absurd with that thing encircling his head, and the one time they gave us a shot from his perspective, the herky-jerky movement made me seasick. I’m all for technology (said the unregenerate Luddite), but this stuff, like the Hearns appearance, needs to be thought through and tested before unleashed on the unsuspecting public. New ideas are not necessarily good ideas, which is telling you nothing you don’t already know.

  11. Clarence George 03:48am, 03/14/2015

    I was saddened, by the way, to see Thomas Hearns in such a deplorable condition.  Although only 56, he clearly had a hard time formulating and articulating his thoughts, and I assume he’s suffering from dementia pugilistica.  Is that known?  If so, I didn’t know it.  Small wonder that they never returned to him for further commentary, as it would have been just too painful.

  12. Clarence George 02:54am, 03/14/2015

    A lot better than what NBC broadcast last Saturday.

    Berto-Lopez was a decent fight, despite Berto pointlessly shadowboxing over the first four rounds.  He seemed to somehow confuse the ring for the gym.  He ultimately proved too much for Lopez, though I think the ref stopped the fight prematurely. 

    I really enjoyed Arreola-Harper.  Not very elegant, to be sure, but an ample demonstration of true grit on the part of both fatties.  I agree with you, Robert, that “Harper took the majority of the eight rounds,” and I had him winning 76-75.  Not the worst robbery in the history of the Sweet Science, but a robbery nevertheless.

    I, too, was impressed by Bone, who’s reasonably skilled and very gutsy, while Porter continues to do little more than elicit a shrug.  He obviously doesn’t stink, but there’s nothing special about him.  That it took him five rounds to put away a guy who took the fight on a day’s notice speaks volumes.  Assuming he steps up his competition, he’s likely in for a series of shellackings.

    By the way, Gerald Washington only beat Jason Gavern by unanimous decision.  Unimpressive.

  13. Robert Ecksel 09:43pm, 03/13/2015

    Maybe they’ll create a new title just to accommodate Berto. It’s happened before. In fact, it happens all the time. Nothing surprises me anymore. Rules are meant to be broken or stretched like they’re elastic.

  14. nicolas 09:39pm, 03/13/2015

    Wow, Berto is now WBA Interim champion. Let us see, Floyd is WBA super champ, Keith Thurman is the regular champ. I just hope that Berto does not believe he is a champion. MR ECKSEL: are both Floyd and Keith going to give up there titles so that Berto will be champ again? Per your comment that he will be welterweight champ again.

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