Sunday, November 25, 2012

Berto/Guerrero: Real life movie w/o special effects

Anytime two men step into a ring it's called a fight, but it is hardly like anything you ever see in the movies. There's no Robert DeNiro in 'Raging Bull' with his face swollen yelling, "You didn't knock me down Ray;" and there's no Sylvester Stallone in 'Rocky' with his eyes swollen shut saying to his cornerman, "Cut me Mick; cut me." However, on Saturday night, welterweight contenders Andre Berto and Robert Guerrero did something you hardly see anymore in boxing; they fought.

As a matter of fact, they fought each other so hard that Berto (pictured @ left) ended the fight with both eyes just about swollen shut and Guerrero (pictured @ right) had his right eye equally swollen shut. All of it was due to a battery of punches both boxers unleashed on each other, which was the strange part.

Going into this fight, my concern was whether Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO's), probably the purer of the two boxers, would be able to outbox the heavier punching Berto (28-2, 22 KO's). Not only did he outbox him, but he out punched him; knocking the former world champion down in the first two rounds. Guerrero, known as 'The Ghost', is aptly nicknamed because no one, especially Berto, could have seen what was coming from the interim WBC welterweight champ.

Guerrero was the aggressor, taking the fight to Berto from the start, leading with his jab and following it with punishing left hooks and uppercuts. Even when Berto tried to tie up the champion, Guerrero would make use of his one free hand and let go from any and all angles. Sometimes it looked as though he may have caught the former champ behind the ear or in the back of the head, but if the ref wasn't stopping it from happening; all is fair in love and war.

Berto (pictured @ left after the fight), coming off a 14 month layoff due to injury and a suspension because of use of a banned substance, looked hesitant at first and then shocked when Guerrero came at him with such ferocity from the start. However, to his credit, he hung on and fought back valiantly, much of the time with his back against the ropes, sometimes incurring his own moments throughout the fight. So much so that I thought it was even closer than the unanimous 116-110 all three judges had on their cards.

Nonetheless, it was Guerrero, whose surname in Spanish means warrior, who was just that. Fighting only his second fight @ 147 lbs., the former super featherweight (130) and lightweight (135) champion let it be known he's right at home at welterweight and is ready to prove it. After the fight, in his post-fight interview, he exclaimed, "I want Floyd Mayweather; I'm ready to take on the best in the world."

As for Andre Berto, one could argue the layoff appeared to have hurt him; however, it appears he has a bigger problem, southpaws. He's now lost two of his last three fights, both where he's taken a vicious beating and both to left handed fighters; first it was Victor Ortiz and now Guerrero; good thing he hasn't fought Manny Pacquiao. I think Brian 'Goze' Garcia of MMAJunkie summed up Berto best when he told me before the fight, "I think Berto is a gatekeeper."

Only time will tell in which direction both Guerrero's and Berto's career will go and more importantly, how much this fight took out of both men. However, for one night on a Thanksgiving holiday weekend that saw the boxing world mourning the death of one of it's own in Hector 'Macho' Camacho, these two gave it their all and then some. Their prizefight was a real life movie without any special effects and for that, we must stand up and recognize.

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