At 29 years old, Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KO) is no longer an up-and-coming prospect. He is a former welterweight champion, but he has faced defeat in two of his last four fights. On Saturday night, he'll look to re-establish momentum in his career as he takes on the rugged Jesus Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KO) in San Antonio, Texas.
The bout is for the vacant North American Boxing Federation welterweight title, but with Berto having held a world title at 147 pounds, the title at stake won't hold a great deal of weight for him.
He almost certainly has his eye on getting back in the world title picture at 147 pounds. That process starts with taking care of Soto Karass. The fight is the featured bout of a potentially exciting triple-header on Showtime that also features Keith "One Time" Thurman vs. Diego Chaves and Omar Figueroa vs. Nihito Arakawa.
Here's how you can watch:
Weigh-in Results Updated July 26
Per Fight News, both fighters weighed in at 147 pounds. It is clear, both men understand the veracity of this bout.
Who has the edge? Here's a closer look at both fighters and the matchup.
The Book on Berto
Getting Back to Berto
As talented as Berto is, he seems to go through an identity crisis in the ring at times. Losing focus of his strengths led to the two losses on his record. It could be argued that had Berto employed more of a boxing style against Victor Ortiz, he could have easily outpointed him—or even stopped him late.
Against Robert Guerrero, Berto got caught and dropped early as he appeared to try to switch to the Philly Shell style. He showed remarkable toughness in that fight, but he suffered significant swelling around both eyes that dug him a hole he couldn't get out of.
For this fight, Berto has a new team. He told East Side Boxing, "My new team took me out of comfort zone, which is something that I needed. It was a very technical training camp and helped remind me who I am as a fighter and everyone will see those skills when I step into the ring on Saturday night."
Berto is definitely in fantastic shape for the fight. We'll see if it translates into results in the ring.
If he gets back to who he is as a fighter, he may still have an opportunity to make some noise in the crowded welterweight division.
In the Ring
At his best, Berto is a slick, agile but powerful boxer. He has the natural athleticism to dart in and out and fight elusively. Because of his power and natural aggression, he often looks to bang. That approach has served him well throughout most of his career, but against high-quality opponents, it takes Berto away from his primary strength, which is his athleticism.
Against Soto Karass, he must use his speed and athleticism and refrain from brawling.
The Book on Soto Karass
Always a Tough Out
Soto Karass doesn't own any wins over truly significant opposition, but he never goes quietly. Because of that, he may have the most appropriate nickname in boxing: Renuente. The English translation is "reluctant," which perfectly describes Soto Karass' style in the ring.
He's not reluctant to throw punches, but he is unwilling to bend or break against opponents who are usually more gifted than he is.
He has been in the ring with Marcos Rene Maidana, Gabriel Rosado, Mike Jones (twice) and Alfonso Gomez. He didn't win any of those fights, but he did at least make them entertaining.
In the Ring
Not gifted with great speed or agility, Soto Karass is a good, but not great, puncher. He likes to brawl and outwork opponents in close quarters. That is usually his path to success.
He needs to try and make his fight with Berto an ugly bout that is fought on the ropes—much like Berto-Guerrero—if he hopes to win.
Berto should be smart enough to use his physical advantages to outclass Soto Karass in this fight. He's far too quick and slick to allow himself to get caught brawling with a fighter whose skill level isn't on his level.
Expect to see Berto wear down the tough, but overmatched, Soto Karass by the seventh round.
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