By Nick Bellafatto
This weekend on HBO World Championship Boxing, defending WBC welterweight interim champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KO’s) of Gilroy, California will be taking on returning Winter Haven Florida resident Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KO’s) at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
And in discussing this fight let’s get right down to the specifics and what is likely to occur when the fisticuffs begin. Andre Berto whether pro or amateur has been known to be involved in action packed fights. The reason is quite clear, he isn’t the best defender, available to be hit and hit repeatedly.
Vulnerable as well as reckless at times in trying to impose himself upon others, Berto in facing southpaw Victor Ortiz would in a two-way slugfest taste the canvass numerous times in what amounted to the “2011 Fight of the Year,” while against another southpaw by the name of Luis Collazo some time ago Andre looked to get bested, even though in the end he would be declared the victor.
This doesn’t bode well for the Haitian fighter in that Robert Guerrero as the more consummate ring tactician of the two will eventually if not immediately find openings, taking advantage of Berto’s lack of defensive skills by way of initially boxing at angles, to from there see where further advantages lie.
But Andre knows his shortcomings and knows he’s in for a fight, so that he is in no way looking past Robert. That being said, Berto will look to gain the upper hand by repeatedly visiting upon his foe what he considers to be his own advantages, speed and power.
“Robert he’s a tough fighter, a crafty southpaw,” but “my advantages I think are definitely I have the speed and I have that power advantage. And we’ve been putting in some tremendous, tremendous sparring work. We’re just going to be ready for whatever.”
And come fight night Berto may indeed be quicker fisted from the outset, but I believe Robert will adjust to that speed and find his rhythm. And whereas the Floridian feels he has a strength advantage, he may be in for a rude awakening if he can’t stop Guerrero before the limit.
Robert spars middleweights and up and has already demonstrated he can take a punch at this level, so in settling in nicely at 147 pounds in his second go round I surmise that “The Ghost” will over the long haul be able to outmaneuver his counterpart to at the least get it to the scorecards.
The Mexican fighter will simply not make himself available as did Victor Ortiz, or perhaps any other fighter Andre Berto has faced. Unless Guerrero gets caught with and is unable to whether a counter right hand, one of Berto’s go-to punches, Robert’s chances of prevailing are quite high. Not only elusive on the outside, “The Ghost” is also able to exchange in the pocket while remaining relatively unscathed, something which if he can continue to do this Saturday night, may frustrate his opponent.
Furthermore, the interim champion has shown that he can make adjustments and or change tactics from fight to fight, as well as from moment to moment being the student of the game he is, whereas Berto is not so adept in that department.
“I don’t think he’s seen anything like what I bring to the table. It’s going to be hard for him to pin-point on what I’m going to do in the ring because of the versatility that I have in the ring, because I can change things up and become an entirely different fighter the next fight. So he’s going to be like, whoa, where did this come from?,” and, “’I didn’t see this [coming.]”
Further assessing the situation, the challenger in an irony of sorts would refer to the “The Ghost” as being “mechanical,” whereas I find the opposite to be true. By all outward appearances Guerrero is by far the more fluid and versatile pugilist, as Berto, not much for head or upper body movement, is perhaps restrained from doing so as a result of his bulkiness, looking more the part of a bodybuilder than a prizefighter.
And as regards Andre’s long layoff, Guerrero will be looking to push the envelope from the first bell. “I said it early on when the fight got made, we’re jumping on the autobahn. We’re going pedal to the medal full gas from start to finish. That’s the way I’m coming in to fight. Hey, we’re gonna go all the way hard,” concluded “The Ghost.”
In finality I see Robert pulling out a decision victory, while I wouldn’t be surprised if Berto get’s stopped by way of the Gilroy fighter connecting on what looks to be a suspect chin. Of course Andre in having his own set of lofty ideas is not coming to roll over in what is sure to be an explosive outing.
“I’m happy to be back and to be fighting someone as talented as Robert Guerrero,” said Berto. “It’s a great challenge for me to face one of the best coming off of my layoff. I know I have the ability to be the best in my division and in the sport, and proving that to everyone starts with this fight.”
Guerrero vs. Berto, a 12-round fight for Guerrero’s WBC Interim Welterweight World Championship is presented by Golden Boy Promotions, minus long time Berto promoter Lou DiBella who’s on the outside looking in, and is sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Also featured will be a ten-round junior middleweight fight between rising star and knockout artist Keith “One Time” Thurman (18-0, 17 KO’s) of Clearwater, Florida and former WBO world welterweight champion, Moca, Puerto Rico’s Carlos “El Indio” Quintana (29-3, 23 KO’s).