Saturday Night Fever: Porter vs. Berto

By Robert Ecksel on April 22, 2017
Saturday Night Fever: Porter vs. Berto
“End-of-the-day, know who you are. You can’t let this fight game ultimately define you.”

“Andre Berto is dangerous if you allow him to be. I’ve seen this man get hit. I’ve seen him get put down and he got up…”

Tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a fight televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing, former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter (26-2-1, 16 KOs), from Las Vegas by way of Akron, Ohio, fights an elimination bout against former WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (31-4, 24 KOs), from Winter Haven, Florida.

The winner gets a shot, or in Porter’s case another shot, at WBC/WBA Super welterweight champion, undefeated Keith Thurman.

At the age of 28 with only two losses, Porter is the favorite coming in. He has lost two of his last four fights, a majority decision loss to Kell Brook in 2014, in addition to the unanimous decision to Thurman in his last fight. But he has wins over Adrien Broner, Paulie Malignaggi, and Devon Alexander, who he defeated to win the title, and believes he has what it takes to defeat Berto Saturday night.

“Andre Berto is dangerous if you allow him to be,” said Porter. “I’ve seen this man get hit. I’ve seen him get put down and he got up. I know he can be hurt and I know he can be stopped.”

Berto has lost four of his last eight fights dating back to 2011, with only one of those losses coming by early stoppage. He is resilient and athletic, but at the age of 33 and having been plagued by injury, he is something of a trial horse. Berto is, however, a trial horse who always puts up a good fight.

“I’m still on top of my game. That’s something that’s hard to do,” he said. “I respect Shawn and his dad, but right now, they’re in the way. I’m going to show you what it is to go through adversity in life and make it to the top again.”

Fighters say these things, not to hoodwink the public, but because they believe them. Berto has heart. He also has skills. He has no intention of going in the soup.

His fight against Floyd Mayweather in 2015, a one-sided loss in what was supposed to be Money’s final fight, looms large in the Berto canon. Porter has studied that fight and knows what to expect.

But Porter is not Mayweather.

“My boxing ability may be a little underrated,” Porter said during a recent teleconference call. “I’d say there are moments in the ring, sometimes you make it more of boxing, sometimes you make it more of the pressure and the aggression. So, we’ll build this fight accordingly. We’ll take a look at what’s going on. We’ll make our adjustments during the fight. You might see more boxing; you might see more pressure. We’ll see how it plays out.”

Berto is prepared for whatever Porter brings.

“That’s his business. He can give us any game plan however he wants to. Whichever way he wants to maneuver, whatever the situation is, we’re just preparing for every look. We’re focused on what we need to do. We don’t really focus on the way he’s trying to beat us.

“Shawn, he’s shown in the past he can brawl. He can press the guys out. He’s going to go in there and move around, box, he’s going to play, real slippery. He might try to use something new in this fight. I’m not sure. We can box; we can bang; we can do whatever we want to do as well.”

Berto has been written off and not for the first time.

“Everybody knows the boxing game,” he said. “You’re as good as your last performance. Just as they can raise you up high in the next great thing, going through defeat or going through some tough times, they’ll write you off quick in this game. With all of the buzz surrounding me, coming into the pro game, and me being a world champion myself, I can give myself accolades, but if things don’t go your way, they’ll definitely discredit you.

“You have to see it for what it’s worth, man, and end-of-the-day, just know who you are. You can’t let this fight game ultimately define you.”

Shawn Porter vs. Andre Berto will be televised live starting at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT. 

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Berto vs. Porter: Preview | April 22 on SHOWTIME

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