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Sat Sep 12, 2015, 12:29 PM

Mayweather vs Berto

September 12, 2015
Las Vegas

Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto, 12 rounds; Showtime PPV.


Tonight, Floyd Mayweather will defend his welterweight title against Andre Berto. Floyd, who is 48-0, is correctly a heavy favorite to defeat Berto, 30-3. However, I think it is likely to be one of the most interesting bouts in Floyd’s long reign as the pound-for-pound best fighter of his era. Let’s take a look at both boxers, and then I will answer some of the most common questions that boxing fans ask about this fight.

Floyd is 38 years old. He made his pro debut at the age of 19. Coming from a family of boxers, he had begun his amateur career at the age of 7. He was a national amateur champion in his teens. Thirty-one years is a long time to compete in the sport of boxing.

Berto is 31 years old. After an amateur career of over 200 fights -- in which he, too, was a US national champion, and represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics, he turned pro at the age of 21.

Floyd, at 5’ 8”, is an inch-and-a-half taller than Andre. Mayweather’s 72” reach is 3.5 inches longer than Berto’s. Both are physically very strong individuals. Both have good footwork, and impressive hand-speed. Berto appears slightly top-heavy, but displays adequate upper-body movement. Still, Andre is not hard to hit, and has taken far more punches than Mayweather. Floyd has uncanny abilities to avoid punches, and land solid counter-punches.

When it comes to “punching power,” it is safe to say that either man is fully capable of hurting the other with a single punch. Yet neither is a “one-punch knockout artist.” Both men’s power is found in combination-punching, in which each punch thrown becomes progressively harder. This creates the opportunity to land the punch the opponent doesn’t see coming, which is always the one that does the most damage.

Berto typically looks to overwhelm and stop his opponents; Floyd prefers to outbox his foes, and win lop-sided decisions. There are some indications Floyd is looking to score a knockout here, which brings up each man’s ability to take a punch. Berto has three loses, including one by TKO. However, he was stopped in round 12 of a bout in which he tore his shoulder in an early round.

Berto has been decked several times in his career, including twice in his loss to Victor Ortiz; he decked Ortiz twice in that fight, as well. Two things stand out: first, he has always been floored as he is coming in throwing punches; and second, he’s always gotten up and fought back. Floyd has one official knockdown on his record, when in an early pro fight, his glove hit the canvas. The closest thing in recent years was when Shane Mosley hurt him twice early in their fight, and Floyd was “wobbled,” but clinched, and then came back strong.
Now, let’s consider a few questions people have about this fight. The first one is: has Floyd picked a weak opponent, or can Berto actually make a fight of it? The truth is that Berto has earned his shot at Mayweather, and will almost certainly make a far more competitive fight than Manny Pacquiao did in May. Berto has been among the top fighters his weight in recent years. He’s actually held titles. And of particular importance, he’s never ducked anyone.

Some “experts” claim Floyd should be fighting Amir Khan. Yet Khan has been knocked out several times. He has a history of ducking tough opposition -- in fact, he’s not even the top in his division in England. He refuses to fight Kell Brook, of England, who holds one of the titles. Khan simply wants to capitalize on the huge payday he would get from being in the ring with Mayweather. Most people familiar with Amir recognize that he lacks the mental toughness to fight Floyd. He’d freeze during the referee’s instructions.

Unlike Pacquiao, who was satisfied to avoid being counted out, or Khan, who can’t function under pressure, Berto is going to fight his heart out. It will be among the most “fan-friendly,” entertaining of Mayweather’s career.

Next, people ask if Floyd shouldn’t be fighting Golovkin or Thurman? Floyd is looking to seal his record as the greatest fighter of this era. Those two young warriors are of the next generation They both have the potential to become great champions. Although a loss to Floyd now would not derail that potential, both are simply too young at this point. Floyd would easily outpoint them in what those who do not favor his hit-and-don’t-get-hit style would then complain was boring and meaningless. In a year, GGG would be ready to fight Floyd; Thurman needs two more years. There is no benefit to rushing them.

People ask if it is important to Floyd to “beat” Marciano’s record of 49-0? Floyd, like those who are actual students of boxing, know Rocky’s retiring undefeated is a myth. As I have documented here, and elsewhere, Rocky lost five of his first ten professional fights. I’ve documented the dates, opponents, and how much he was paid each time. And I have photos of one of those fights. His manager “removed” these from his record as he rose in the ranks. (More, the judges scored one of his bouts a draw; the commissioner changed it to a decision favoring Rocky.)

Rocky’s record is, like Columbus Day, a myth that appeals to a specific audience. Many were offended when I showed the truth. The truth is that Marciano was exactly as great a champion as he was, no matter what his record as a novice in the pro ranks was.

Will Floyd fight again? I think he is sincere about retiring. He feels the damage the sport has done. Plus, he sees Uncle Roger, who is suffering the damage from the punches he took in his career. Floyd wants to retire with his brain undamaged -- well aware that great fighters like Ali and the real Sugar Ray took lots of punches by fighting too long.

Might he return in a year? Yes, of course. That is distinct from how he feels about it now. It may be very difficult for Floyd to not be the center of attention, as he currently is. If he were to return to the ring, I think it would be to beat Pacquiao again, for $300 million.

Who will win tonight? Obviously, Floyd is the favorite. I think that the fight will resemble his fight with Ricky Hatton.

Where will he rank in boxing history? As the very best of his era. As the fighter with the most wins against current or former champions. As a guy who established himself as a unique talent, when he separated himself from other elite champions on 1-20-01, when he dropped Diego Corrales five times, knocking him out in the tenth round. As perhaps the greatest defensive fighter in the sport’s history

Because of the combination of his defensive style and his offensive personality, the boxing community will not evaluate him objectively for many years after he retires. Even then, people will enjoy debating who would have beaten who, in fantasy fights pitting the greats from different eras. But one thing is already certain: Floyd Mayweather would have been tough for any of the great welterweights in boxing history.

Enjoy the fight!

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Reply Mayweather vs Berto (Original post)
H2O Man Sep 2015 OP
StevieM Sep 2015 #1

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Sep 12, 2015, 10:46 PM

1. I hope you enjoy it!! And I hope it's a great fight!!

It sounds like a victory for Berto would be a nice story. But it also sounds like it is unlikely.

BTW, here is an interesting article I read from Evander Holyfield. I am not sure if you have already read it, but if not, I thought you might like it.

http://www.theplayerstribune.com/mayweather-vs-pacquiao-state-of-boxing-a-fight-for-relevance/

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