Former welterweight champion Andre Berto (32-5, 24 KOs) won a back-and-forth fight by split decision Saturday night against fellow former champion Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) in the main event at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.
"I knew he was going to be quick and I knew he’d come to fight," said Berto. "I had to get adjusted to his speed a little bit and then I started pressing him. I felt like I was in better shape and quicker to the target than he was."
Alexander struck first as his southpaw stance appeared to give Berto trouble early. Alexander connected with a series of powerful right hooks in round two before following up in round three with a straight right that landed on Berto and allowed Alexander to score a knockdown with follow-up hooks.
"We knew that we had enough power to hurt him and I felt like I was doing that early in the fight," said Alexander. "I slowed down in the middle of the fight, but there’s no excuses. We both came to fight."
The bout saw numerous clashes and tie ups, but as the rounds went on Berto’s relentlessness allowed him to score against a tiring Alexander. Berto had success in the seventh round tagging Alexander on the inside as he began to break through his opponent’s defense.
"I’ve been off for a while but I felt good in there," said Berto. "He was pulling back on a lot of his punches so I stepped in for my combinations and made him pay."
The back-and-forth fight concluded with both fighters slugging it out until the final bell and appearing to have worn each other down from the 12-round bout. The scores reflected the close nature of the bout as once judge scored it 114-113 for Alexander, but was overruled by two judges scoring the bout 115-112 for Berto.
"I thought I edged it out, but it was a close fight," said Alexander. "We’re climbing back still. This happens. I’m going to talk to my team and see what the best move is going forward."
"This is a tremendous feeling," said Berto. "I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing it again."
The co-main event on FOX and FOX Deportes saw former WBO middleweight champion Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs) earned a unanimous decision victory over J’Leon Love (24-2-1, 13 KOs) after 10 rounds of super middleweight action.
"It was very important for me to go up in there and break his spirit," said Quillin. "I established my will in there, but I’ll wait to judge how I looked until I see the tape."
Quillin’s power and punch output proved to be the difference as he focused on getting into range of Love while delivering power punches to back Love up. With his promoter, all-time great Floyd Mayweather, sitting ringside, Love focused on a strategy that saw him move throughout the 10 rounds while trying to build his offense off of his jab.
"Sometimes you don’t have your best night, but I’m far from done," said Love. "I have a lot of good fights left in front of me. I will be back. I could have pressed a little bit more, but he’s a puncher. I wasn’t trying to turn it into a brawl. I went at him and then slid right out. That was the game plan."
Round eight began with Quillin on the offensive as he pinned Love in the corner and unloaded a massive series of shots, many of which landed flush. Love was able to avoid any serious danger from the onslaught, but was never able to land anything that bothered Quillin over the remaining moments of the fight.
The judges scored the bout 99-91 and 98-92 twice, all in favor of Quillin.
"For people who think that I had ring rust, we’ve been in the gym training hard to be ready for a challenge like this," said Quillin. "We’re going to build from this and use it from a foundation. Only time will tell what comes next, but we’ll use this as a measuring stick."