Shawn Porter and Andre Berto might have been fighting under the bright lights of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night, but the former took the latter boxer to a dark, bloody place.
Porter used relentless pressure, energy and power to chop down Berto in this welterweight bout, winning by a technical knockout in the ninth round.
CBS Sports' Brian Campbell and boxer Sergio Mora summed it up:
The fight featured at least three accidental head clashes, several mid- and between-round checkups from doctors, elbows, brawling on the ropes and a litany of phone-booth power punching.
Porter's ninth round was a picture of brutality. A clash of heads sent Berto crashing into the ropes, and a massive hook soon after sent the 33-year-old back into the ropes again. Porter finished the job with a left hook he raked across Berto's face, finally forcing the referee to put an end to the brawl.
Porter was all class after the bout, apologizing to Berto for the multiple head clashes, per the Showtime broadcast. Keith Thurman came into the ring after the bout, and he and Porter certainly made it sound like a rematch was in the cards, per Showtime Boxing:
Berto's best moments came when he stayed away from the ropes and kept some space for Porter, but he wasn't able to control the fight for long enough stretches to really make inroads against his opponent.
Porter did an excellent job frustrating Berto early on in the fight. He followed up cobra-strike jabs with plenty of clinching and grappling, preventing Berto from sneaking in his powerful counter hooks.
The pugnacious Porter put a ton of pressure on Berto in the second, pummeling away at him on the ropes and then knocking him to the canvas in the final few seconds of the round.
Showtime Boxing has the highlight:
Berto's frustration was readily apparent, from his rabbit punching in the third round to his shakes of the head at the corner between rounds. Boxing journalist Andreas Hale noted Berto might have to do some soul-searching due to fights like this:
Porter's tenacity might have thrown Berto a lifeline, in that a pair of accidental headbutts opened up gashes over both of his eyes, while another left Berto with a relatively minor scrape. The ugly nature of the fight led to this quip from Bad Left Hook:
Showtime Boxing showed a brutal image from the bout:
After a brief slowdown in the sixth and seventh rounds, Porter went back to his all-out attack mode, again driving Berto to the ropes and bludgeoning him with uppercuts to the body and hooks to the skull.
It was merely the prelude to Porter's dominant ninth round that earned him the victory.
Porter's last bout prior to his beatdown of Berto was a decision loss to Thurman at the Barclays Center in June 2016. That fight was electric but not nearly as messy as the contest on Saturday.
Porter is now a mandatory challenger for Thurman. It would make for another excellent, kinetic fight for the talent-laden welterweight division, one that many boxing fans would welcome without hesitation.