Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto: Head-to-Toe Breakdown of Both Fighters
How does one select a fitting encore for the "Fight of the Century" that broke all of boxing's revenue records?
It's no easy task, especially when you consider that it's (ostensibly, at least) the final contest of the storied career of one of boxing's greats and the biggest commercial success the sport has ever seen.
How about a massive disappointment?
The pound-for-pound king is fresh off a dominant dismissal of his longtime rival Manny Pacquiao this past May, while Berto, who hasn't been relevant since shoulder injuries and bad luck derailed a once-promising career, is just 2-2 over his last four bouts.
Mayweather has long maintained that he would retire after the final bout of a record six-fight deal signed with Showtime/CBS in 2013, which makes his selection of Berto as the last opponent of that contract a polarizing choice to say the least.
Few took him seriously in June when he floated the idea of facing Berto or Karim Mayfield, and yet, here we are with Berto the recipient of boxing's equivalent of Willy Wonka's golden ticket and the fans likely scratching their heads.
This is a fight that would've made perfect sense as a free-television giveback to the fans for a career of support, which initially seemed to be the idea, per Michael Woods of The Sweet Science, but as a PPV event it falls flat on its face.
It's almost insulting, but it's reality.
So, love it or hate it, read on for your complete head-to-toe breakdown of Mayweather vs. Berto.
Main Event: Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto; 12-round welterweight championship bout for Mayweather's WBC and WBA Welterweight Championships
Where: MGM Grand; Las Vegas
When: September 12, 2015
TV: Showtime PPV
Tale of the Tape
|Floyd Mayweather||Andre Berto|
|Record||48-0, 26 KO||30-3, 23 KO|
|Weight||146 (last fight)||146 (last fight)|
|Residence||Las Vegas, Nevada||Winter Haven, Florida|
|Last Fight||UD 12 Manny Pacquiao (5/2/15)||TKO 6 Josesito Lopez (3/13/15)|
All stats and information per BoxRec.
What You Need to Know
Mayweather marches to the beat of his own drum. He's his own boss, calls all the shots and doesn't much care what anyone thinks about it or about him. The selection of Berto is going to rub his many detractors the wrong way and get them into a lather about not challenging himself in what's supposed to be his last fight, but he won't lose a wink of sleep.
Floyd has already accomplished so much in a career that's destined for the Hall of Fame and all-time great status, and if he wants to go out with an easy one, particularly after vanquishing Pacquiao in May, why begrudge him that right?
That would've been a much easier case to make for a fight on regular TV. Mayweather is the biggest commercial star boxing has ever seen. He had the chance to give one back to the fans with a freebie after years of support that left him the highest-paid athlete in the world, but nope.
Berto just hit the lottery. Apparently beating Josesito Lopez and Steve Upsher Chambers earns you Mayweather these days.
His career trajectory resembles most roller coasters that you'd find in any theme park in America, with peaks, valleys, loops and the eventual hard stop back at the beginning. The 31-year-old Floridian of Haitian descent has been down every path a fighter can traverse in a career that began with huge promise and fell flat because of injuries, bad losses and some bad luck.
Berto has the chance to fulfill the promise so many hoped for him when he emerged from the 2004 Summer Games as one of the sport's hottest prospects. He's a long shot, at best, but in a sport full of the absurd, anything (Buster Douglas?) can happen. Right? Probably not, no.
Mayweather and boxing ability are synonymous terms. You'd have a very hard time finding many fighters in the course of boxing history that have been better at executing the X's and O's of a sport where the objective is to hit and not get hit in return. He has tremendous hand and foot speed, and his boxing IQ—the ability to outthink, outmaneuver and adjust to his opponents—is off the charts.
In his day, Berto had two tremendous weapons. His jab was capable of winning him rounds all on its own, and he matched that with strings of devastating uppercuts that could've felled trees if given the opportunity. Those days are gone, however, as shoulder surgery to repair a tendon in his right shoulder, suffered during a loss to Soto Karass in 2013, has left him a shell of that offensive dynamo.
Let's indulge this question for just a second...
Mayweather's in a whole different galaxy.
Floyd has more power than his raw knockout numbers would indicate. He struggled with hand troubles early in his career and fights a risk-averse style that doesn't lend itself to many spectacular finishes. He's tremendously adept at countering his foes, disrupting their rhythm and winning fights without having to put the zip on his shots that can produce knockouts but also put him at greater risk. Still, he does have a sneaky type of power based on the precision of his shots.
Berto saved his career with a pair of knockdowns and a sixth-round stoppage—that many didn't like—of Lopez earlier this year. That shows that he still carries some pop behind his punches, especially when you consider that Lopez's only previous knockout defeats came against Marcos Maidana and Canelo Alvarez. He used to carry tremendous power in his right hand (pre-surgery), but the devastating Berto who could put you to sleep with huge uppercuts and overhand rights is a memory.
Berto probably carried more one-shot power, but his surgery and general sloppiness in the ring give us significant pause here. Mayweather is far more precise, and his laser-guided ammunition is more likely to arrive on target and produce the desired effects than Berto's home run lobs from out of right field.
Even if you're one of the few who doubt Mayweather's credentials as an all-time great fighter, his accomplishments as an all-time great defender are not even up for debate. If you think they are, you should slowly place down the haterade and walk away. Floyd can block, slip, duck and dodge punches with the very best to ever do it in a professional prizefighting ring, and he's shown a solid chin the few times in his career that he's been clipped.
Berto isn't a particularly difficult fighter to hit, and he's had some significant swelling issues in past fights. That's no bueno for a fighter who will be tasked with hanging in there with the most precise puncher of his generation. He's tried to employ some of Mayweather's tactics, including the shoulder roll to slip or take steam off punches, but to say that he's been less successful than the man he'll face would be a grotesque understatement.
These categories keep getting more lopsided.
Not close, again.
Floyd has won 48 fights by sticking to the same tried-and-true method. What possible reason could he have to change that against a fighter that he's superior to on literally every pugilistic level? Mayweather will box and move, counter Berto as he attempts to bull in and frustrate his man with movement and speed. In other words, get ready for a typical Money Mayweather prizefight.
Berto is still physically strong, and his best chance is going to come if he can bully Mayweather and make this into something of a dogfight. More skilled fighters than Berto have tried that in the past with less-than-zero success, but it's the only hope he really has of being competitive, much less scoring a monumental and historic upset. The thought of Berto attempting to outbox Mayweather is, on its face, a total joke.
Berto might be able to bull Floyd just a little bit early, but once Mayweather's precision punches begin marking and swelling his face, this will look like a walk in the park for the soon-to-be 49-0 pound-for-pound king.
There are only two reasons you'd pick Berto to win this fight.
You'd have to be stone-cold crazy, or the type of degenerate gambler who wants to try to land a huge windfall by hitting the impossible bet, to think that there's any chance Floyd Mayweather's record doesn't read 49-0 on the morning of September 13.
Berto is the ultimate "what if" type of fighter. There was so much promise there when he emerged from the 2004 Olympics and won his first 27 fights and a share of the welterweight title. He had speed, devastating power and was primed for a long run as a boxing star.
But the dustbin of history is littered with fighters that had all the physical tools but just didn't pan out.
Mayweather has made the most of his physical tools in nearly two decades of dominance in a prizefighting ring. He's the ultimate professional, and while many in the media and most fans (rightfully) dismiss this as a showcase event, he's going to take it with the same seriousness as he did Pacquiao, Canelo and everyone else.
Floyd easily avoids his Buster Douglas moment here and decisively dominates Berto for a shutout or near-shutout decision. It's going to be easy work, so, you might want to save your money.
Prediction: Mayweather UD 12 Berto (119-109)
Kevin McRae is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter @McRaeWrites.