Berto: The Heartbreak Kid
This Floridian (20-2) has given us two Fights of the Year performances in his last three bouts. In between thrilling losses to Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz, he stopped a surging Jan Zaveck on cuts in a so-so outing.
The former prep football star has not cherry picked his opponents as names like Carlos Quintana, Juan Urango, Luis Collazo, Steve Forbes, David Estrada, and other mean-spirited hombres dot his resume. The controversial Collazo win in 2009 showed Berto’s grit.
Against Ortiz, Berto was decked in round one, Vicious Victor in round two, and then both fighters visited the canvas in round six in what was an old school-type barnburner.
Berto was down twice against Guerrero, but then came back strong with jolting and frightening uppercuts generated by his exceptional hand speed. In so doing, he made ownership of the phone booth open to question. In the end, The Ghost took ownership, but not without first absorbing career-altering punishment.
The plain fact is, Andre Berto brings uncommon excitement into the ring but he has suffered heartaches along the way.
Andre was a favorite to win the 2004 Olympic 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 was 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 vacillation and incongruity) a follow-up meeting resulted in reverting back to the initial ruling, eliminating Berto from the tournament for a “flagrant foul.”
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. Mosley then got a nice retirement package by fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr., while Berto ended up facing and knocking out Carlos Quintana on April 10, 2010
Banned Substance (2012)
In May 2101, 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, but once again it was not to be.
For whatever reason, many of the rankings exclude Andre Berto. The Transnational Boxing Ranking is as follows for welterweight:
1. Floyd Mayweather
2. Manny Pacquiao
3. Timothy Bradley
4. Devon Alexander
5. Josesito Lopez
6. Victor Ortiz
7. Jan Zaveck
8. Robert Guerrero
9. Paulie Malignaggi
10. Kell Brook
How can feather-fisted and boring Paulie Malignaggi or Jan Zaveck (?!) be rated higher than Berto? The Ring ranks Vyacheslav Senchenko number 10 while excluding Berto. The WBA, IBF, WBO do not even rank him in their top 15. FightNews gets it right and ranks Berto second, while the WBC has him as number 8.
Whatever the case, 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.