Judgment Night: Berto vs. Soto Karass

By Robert Ecksel on July 25, 2013
Judgment Night: Berto vs. Soto Karass
Bob Arum is interested in top rank fighters, not second, third or fourth rank fighters.

Love him or hate him, we know what Berto can do. We’ll see what he will do, with Virgil Hunter in his corner, Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas…

I spoke with Bob Arum. We didn’t discuss the price of tea in China. We did, however, discuss boxing. I said, more rashly than necessary, that I thought “boxing needs fighters like Andre Berto.” Arum scrunched his face and glanced out of the corner of his eye. “Need?” he said. Arum assumed I was from outer space. “Need?” he repeated.

I didn’t explain. Bob Arum didn’t want me to hear what I had to say. I wasn’t sure I did either. The head of Top Rank, as befits a promoter of his stature, is interested in top rank fighters, not second, third or fourth rank fighters. He is not interested in promising fighters whose trajectories fall short of the pantheon. Berto’s greatness or lack thereof, however fleeting or however forever, can be argued until death do us part. But there’s a place in boxing for Berto, just as there’s a place in Berto for boxing.

On Saturday, July 27, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, former WBC and IBF welterweight champion Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs), from Winter Haven, Florida, meets Jesus Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs), from Los Angeles by way of Las Mochis, Mexico, for the vacant NABF welterweight title.

Berto is one of those fighters, too numerous to name, that fight fans love to hate. He may have been showcased prematurely. He may have been overexposed. He may have been showered in gold. While clearly physically gifted, he never seemed to fully develop as a thinking fighter. He banged out solid winning performances consistently, until he was stopped by Victor Ortiz in 2011 and Roberto Guerrero in 2012.

Had Berto won either of those fights, the Floridian with a penchant for rumbling would have gotten the shots of shots against the Big Kahuna. Instead, Vicious Victor, still wet behind the ears, mistakenly mimicked Vivacious Victor, at least until such time as Money May saw fit to clean his clock. And Guerrero, a fine fighter, a fine man, a credit to his race, went and channeled the well known boxing prognosticator from Bethlehem, who gave heavenly odds that The Ghost would defeat Mayweather.

Berto has been through the wringer. The two losses followed by a failed drug test, which was or was not favorably resolved depending on one’s outlook, will probably dog him until his dying day. Saturday night is Berto’s last big chance. Should he fall, as he might against Soto Karass, Berto’s future, already murky, becomes murkier still. But Berto is no fool. He knows the stakes. That’s why he’s training with the illustrious Virgil Hunter.

“This right here is definitely a different situation for me—-how do I say it?” said Berto on a recent conference call. “I’m not sure have the right words, but definitely it’s a tough training camp, technical training camp, and very—these guys are really precise on what they do and things they want you to work on and it’s not just going to camp and just working the same routines, just getting in shape. One of these guys here they definitely just work on strategy and a lot of repetition and they definitely just pound that into you so that you get the game plan right. So, it’s definitely a training camp that I love. Here, like the schedule, my schedule situation is kind of up and down. Back home in Florida, we always had the same routine, the same schedule every day. Here, things maneuver, things change and they definitely go by how you feel. It’s different, but it’s definitely effective.

Something different, something effective, is just what the doctor ordered.

“Coming out here, Virgil of course I’ve known since I was like 13. He’s watched me ever since I was 13 years old. He’s watched me for many years in amateurs and…watched me come up as a high prospect in boxing and…sees that I had my own style. So, he knows I’m capable of it and I have definitely been able to blossom and just be able to work on my techniques. It’s just the fact on just me just being the athlete that I know I can be and just staying sharp and just staying alert and not just getting comfortable and picking up bad habits and going back to the basics on what I do and that’s to stay strong, stay good on my defense work on my jab, and work on my strong combination and just be me at the end of the day. So, Virgil, he definitely continues to point that out for me. He doesn’t let me get lazy. He doesn’t let me get comfortable and he knows what I can do.”

Love him or hate him, we all know what Berto can do. We’ll see what he will do, with Virgil Hunter in his corner, Saturday night at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The fight will be broadcast live at 9:00 PM ET/PT on Showtime Championship Boxing.

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Andre Berto vs Jesus Soto Karass Promo

Andre Berto, Jesus Soto Karass, Omar Figueroa, Keith Thurman - Pre-Fight Action - SHOWTIME

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  1. Kid Blast 12:15pm, 07/26/2013

    CLASSIC CROSSROADS. Winner stays alive. Loser is all done.

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