Shane Mosley (left) and Andre Berto (right)
Fresh off his TKO victory over Jan Zaveck (31-2, 18 Knockouts), Andre Berto (28-1, 22 Knockouts) is the new IBF welterweight world champion.
Now Berto stands to leap back onto the path to greatness unless one undefeated boxer wants to stand in his way.
Floyd Mayweather Jr (41-0, 25 Knockouts) has consistently taken opportunities from Berto since coming out of retirement.
These opportunities, had Berto been able to grab them, would've enhanced the 28-year-old's career to epic proportions.
Man is made by the opportunities he takes and the opportunities that are taken from him. Nowhere is that more apparent than with Berto's career.
Berto and Shane Mosley (46-7-1, 39 Knockouts) were supposed to square off on January 30, 2010.
Mosley was the old dog, who hadn't fought in a year thanks to a fruitless chase of pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 Knockouts) and the undefeated Mayweather.
Then a horrible earthquake hit Berto's home country of Haiti a few weeks before his fight with Mosley. He had to back out and help his friends and family, even burying some.
When he backed out, Mayweather saw a credible opponent to take in absence of an ill-negotiated Pacquiao fight. Mayweather and Mosley would go on to fight May 1 2010. Berto returned to the ring April 10 2010 against Carlos Quintana (28-3, 22 Knockouts).
Had Mayweather not given Mosley a chance at a career-high payday, Berto would have surely secured Mosley in a rescheduled match in April. This would've been the potential catapult victory to send Berto into the atmosphere as a superstar, maybe even a pay-per-view attraction.
Though Mosley was older and had a year off, nobody had believed at the time that Mosley would turn out to be the Mosley he had become in his fights versus Mayweather and Pacquiao. Those fights hadn't shown his age and loss of killer instinct. Berto could've been the first fighter to truly expose that.
When Berto and Ortiz stepped in the ring to face each other on April 16, the world paused to watch a modern boxing classic.
Though Berto lost for the first time in his career, the amount of respect he gained was immense.
Now, Berto has taken another belt, the IBF title, from another fighter, Jan Zaveck, in hopes of earning a rematch with Ortiz to get the first world title he earned, the WBC world title.
But Mayweather again, sweeps up and takes Berto's big fight. Had Mayweather not returned to boxing again, Berto would have surely had a scintillating rematch with Ortiz and maybe even a trilogy had he won. Boxing hasn't had a great boxing trilogy in a few years.
Even if Ortiz loses to Mayweather of September 17, a Berto victory would be questioned. Many would say Ortiz was coming off a big loss to Mayweather, thus discrediting Berto's revenge. Mayweather would likely fight Pacquiao and retire if he beats Ortiz. If he loses to Ortiz, he likely retires anyway.
If Ortiz wins, then Berto will certainly not be on Ortiz's radar. Pacquiao will be Ortiz's next line of business. Judging by the action-packed fights Ortiz has had, Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum would have an easy time marketing the fight. Berto would be left out the biggest possible fight again.
If Mayweather had never came back, Berto would've likely been the biggest fight available for Pacquiao.
By 2012, Berto would have a win over Mosley and possibly a trilogy with Ortiz.
If that's not enough to earn him a shot at Pacquiao, then almost nothing is.
The star could've banked off Pacquiao's name even if he had lost, so long as he gave Pacquiao some of the worst hell he's ever received in the ring.
This fight can still come through for Berto if Mayweather can't come to terms with Pacquiao for a 2012 showdown. But Berto has to cross his fingers and continue to win to rebuild his momentum, because the moment he slips, Mayweather will be there to catch whatever opportunities he drops.