Floyd Mayweather Jr. is set to put his undefeated record on the line against Andre Berto on Saturday night. The welterweight title fight hasn't generated as much hype as most "Money" bouts, but that doesn't take away from its importance.
Mayweather needs a victory to reach 49-0, a record that would tie the legendary Rocky Marciano. A loss for such an overwhelming favorite would do serious damage to his lasting legacy. And, on the flip side, pulling off the massive upset would be the top moment of Berto's career.
Let's check out some of the important information ahead of the fight, including the undercard and odds for the main event. It's followed by a preview and prediction for the marquee bout.
|Mayweather vs. Berto Televised Undercard Predictions|
|Super Featherweight||Roman Martinez||Orlando Salido||Martinez|
|Super Middleweight||Badou Jack||George Groves||Groves|
|Super Welterweight||Vanes Martirosyan||Ishe Smith||Martirosyan|
|Scheduled Fights via BoxRec.com|
Mayweather vs. Berto Odds
|Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Andre Berto|
|Source: Odds Shark|
Main Event Preview
A unique vibe surrounds this fight, in large part because of the negative reaction that emerged immediately after it was announced. Berto is not viewed as a realistic threat to Mayweather, which is quite a turnaround following Money's long-awaited battle with Manny Pacquiao.
Of course, the lackluster action in the Pacquiao bout also plays a role. After being billed as the type of matchup that could attract mainstream attention boxing wanted—which it did—the fight itself fell flat with very little action.
Mayweather has talked about the potential of this being his final fight, as noted by Sports Illustrated following his win over "Pac-Man."
"My last fight is in September, then it's time for me to hang it up," he said. "You know, I'm almost 40 years old now, I've been in the sport 19 years, I've been world champion for 18 years, and I'm truly, truly thankful and I'm blessed."
He could always change his mind and return to make it an even 50-0, assuming he wins on Saturday, but all of those factors combine to create a weird atmosphere for this fight.
To his credit, Berto has talked a big game. Along with saying he's "just as fast, maybe faster" than Mayweather, he also told Bob Velin of USA Today Sports' Boxing Junkie that he's finally feeling healthy.
"Yeah, I feel pretty good. As everybody knows, I've been dealing with a lot of health issues," he said. "I've got a lot of things worked out, I've got a lot of people to work with me through camp and I'm finally injury-free, I feel good and focused on the task ahead."
It's a noteworthy point because at full strength Berto is far better than he's illustrated in recent fights. He's just 3-3 since the start of 2011 with losses to Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass, a resume that doesn't speak to being able to challenge Mayweather unless injuries hold him back.
Nigel Collins of ESPN noted one other X-factor for the fight:
Alas, Mayweather is still a much better defender and a more efficient offensive tactician than Berto. It's hard to imagine a scenario where he would leave himself exposed enough for the underdog to utilize his knockout power consistently.
Boxing's current pound-for-pound king will keep his distance, slowing down the pace of the fight whenever Berto tries to attack, as was the case against Pacquiao. It's a blueprint that's worked for this long, and he's certainly not going to change now.
He'll use the counterattack to land plenty of solid combinations and easily outpoint Berto to pick up victory No. 49.
Prediction: Mayweather by unanimous decision