Andre Berto and Robert Guerrero is really a pay-per-view caliber fight. In this rare instance, fight fans are getting an opportunity to see two very good fighters clash without paying $49.95.
The fight takes place Saturday, November 24 at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif. The interim WBC welterweight title is on the line, but in reality, it's for more than just that a title. The winner of this fight will officially be one of the hottest names in the welterweight division.
Both men have bigger plans should they win, but they realize they are facing a formidable opponent on Saturday night.
This will be Berto's first fight since September 2011. He defeated Jan Zaveck when the latter couldn't come out for the sixth round.
Guerrero has been on a tear since he returned to the sport. He was off more than a year in 2011 and 2012 spending time with his wife.
Casey Guerrero was battling Leukemia, and Robert stepped away from the sport to be with her. Guerrero has scored four straight unanimous decision victories, including a hard-fought but clear win over Selcuk Aydin in July.
Berto represents Guerrero's most significant opponent to date. He'll be putting his 30-1 (18 KOs) record on the line as Berto brings his own one-loss resume (28-1, 22 KOs) into the ring.
The time away from the ring is partially due to Berto testing positive for performance enhancing drugs in June. The test came prior to his planned rematch with Victor Ortiz, per Los Angeles Times.
Berto maintained his innocence, but memories of the scandal still linger. Berto told Jake Donovan of Boxing Scene that the positive test came from a contaminated sample. He has since been cleared and seems at peace with the situation.
These fighters aren't up-and-comig anymore. At 29, it is time for them to take a major step in the sport. Either can do it with a win in this fight.
Here's how you can catch the action:
When: Saturday, November 24, 10 p.m. ET
Where: Citizens Bank Arena, Ontario, Calif.
Live Stream: HBOGO (Pay Service)
Here's some deeper analysis into this upcoming bout:
The Book on Berto
Tale of the Tape (via BoxRec.com):
Birth Place: Winter Haven, Florida
Berto can be a slick boxer, and he has very good punching power.
He has fast hands, and he looks to put on a show whenever he is in the ring. He is very strong physically, and he uses that strength to muscle opponents on the inside.
His proficiency banging on the inside and his quickness give him multiple ways to defeat an opponent.
Though he rarely chooses to, he has the skill set to be more of a boxer than a puncher.
Watch him destroy Carlos Quintana in this video.
Berto throws caution to the wind too often.
He keeps his hands too low in exchanges, and he puts himself in unnecessary danger by brawling more than he should.
This is the mistake he made in his only career loss. Berto is a better fighter than Victor Ortiz, but he allowed himself to fall into Ortiz's brawling style. Had he boxed Ortiz and used his speed, he would have won an easy decision.
Here are highlights of that bout.
If Berto ever found a better balance between boxing and punching, he'd be an even better fighter than he already is.
He must show some poise and restraint against Guerrero. The latter is a very smart, technically sound, accurate puncher. Berto is the stronger and more stout fighter, he can wear Guerrero down by engaging in in-fighting and going to the body.
He needs to pick his spots to bang inside, though. He can also use his speed to counter Guerrero's jab while moving in and out.
If he stands still in front of Guerrero, he could be setting himself for a defeat.
The Book on Guerrero
Tale of the Tape (Via BoxRec.com)
Nickname: The Ghost
Birth Place: Gilroy, Calif.
Accurate and crisp punching are the Ghost's best qualities.
He also has excellent poise, and he sticks to his game plan well. Guerrero has very good hand speed, and he throws excellent combinations. He rarely gets into a habit of throwing one punch at a time.
Throughout his career, and especially in his latest fights, he has shown great desire.
It really showed in his last fight against Aydin. Matched against a very hard puncher that dinged him a few times, Guerrero still showed the willingness to throw power shots.
Perhaps an example of Guerrero at his best is this bout against Vicente Escobedo. He embarrassed Escobedo in a very lopsided unanimous decision that saw Escobedo hit the mat in rounds three and six.
Here are the highlights of that bout.
Guerrero's chin is a bit of a question mark.
He did answer some inquiries about it in his last fight, but Aydin wasn't as busy as Berto will be. Guerrero was dropped in the 10th round by an old Joel Casamayor in 2010, and I thought Michael Katsidis hurt him in their bout in 2011.
One can also question his power at welterweight. He has only 18 KOs for his career, and he's originally a featherweight. He has stopped only one of his last eight opponents.
If he can't make welterweights respect his punching power, it could be an issue for him.
Lateral movement and counter-punching are the keys for Guerrero in this fight. He needs to sidestep Berto's bull-like charges to create angles for his sweeping hooks and pinpoint combinations.
If Berto is looking for a brawl, Guerrero would be smart to slow the pace with a well-timed jab. His precision punching could win him a decision.
This is a tough fight to call because Berto could win this fight if he uses his speed to out-box him and fights a more defensive fight. It's an interesting bout because the fighter who chooses to be the counter-puncher is at an advantage.
However, neither man is likely to fight that fight.
I'm going to go with Guerrero because of his accuracy and more conscious defense. Berto seems destined to run into combinations all night, and he'll be stopped late or lose an exciting decision.
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