By Jason Gonzalez at ringside
Uniondale, L.I. --- Former welterweight champion Andre Berto, improved to 32-5, (24) after earning a split decision win over ex-title holder and current PBC [Premier Boxing Champions] stablemate Devon Alexander. Berto had to overcome a third-round knockdown during the main event held at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to do so. The scorecards read 114-113 for Alexander, which was eventually overruled by other two cards at 115-112 for Berto.
“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.”
The split decision may have been an early Christmas gift for Berto. Maxboxing.com scored it 116-111 for Alexander. Alexander’s southpaw stance gave Berto a lot trouble early on. Alexander connected with a series of solid right 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, whose ledger now drops to 27-4-1, . “I slowed down in the middle of the fight, but there are no excuses. We both came to fight.”
The contest was less than scintillating to say the least. Berto-Alexander was the type of fight that saw a lot of clinching and fouling [mainly on Berto’s part], but as the fight progressed into the later rounds, Berto’s courage combined with his aggression allowed him back in the scrap, but most importantly on the scorecards. Berto experienced the most success in the latter half of the fight. In the seventh round Berto scored a lot against a visibly fading Alexander.
“I’ve been off for a while but I felt good in there,” said the 34-year-old Berto, who hadn’t fought since April of last year, when he was stopped in nine rounds by Shawn Porter. “He was pulling back on a lot of his punches so I stepped in for my combinations and made him pay.”
Both fighters gave it their all, but it was evident that both are on the back nine of their careers. And if they’re not totally shot, then both the likes of Berto and Alexander will either be gatekeepers at the 147 pound division, thus being used as measuring sticks against any up and coming prospect, or the alternative of being an opponent in a “stay busy” fight against any of the top stars in the welterweight division.
So whether or not the right fighter got the nod isn’t the question. Career wise both Berto and Alexander are mirror images of each other. They are both irrelevant. Retirement should be considered by both men.
“I thought I edged it out, but it was a close fight,” said Alexander, who has now fought three times since his two year layoff. “We’re climbing back still. This happens. I’m going to talk to my team and see what the best move is going forward.”
While inactive, Alexander battled an addiction to opiates.
“This is a tremendous feeling,” said Berto. “I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing it again.”
In a strange turn of events, in the eighth round, Berto experienced a wardrobe malfunction that saw his protective cup slip through his trunks and falling on the canvas. Referee Ron Lipton allowed the native of Winter Haven, Florida to continue to fight. Berto was provided with another protective cup at the end of the round.
In the co-feature bout of the evening Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin won a unanimous decision over J’Leon Love in a 10 round super middleweight bout. The scorecards read 99-91, and 98-92n twice.
“It was very important for me to go up in there and break his spirit,” said Quillin, who improved to 34-1-1, . “I established my will in there, but I’ll wait to judge how I looked until I see the tape.”
In Quillin’s first matchup at 168, it appeared that he was matched easily. Love was beyond cautious. There were several instances in which Quillin pinned Love in the corner to score a lot. Whether Quillin has the power at super middleweight to hang with the likes of David Benavidez, George Groves, and Gilberto Ramirez remains to be seen.
“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.”
Former welterweight champion Luis Collazo improved to 38-7,  after earning a majority decision victory over Bryant Perrella in their 10-round bout. Collazo crowded and hurt Perrella several times throughout the contest.
“Perrella didn’t have much power, which allowed me to just stay on top of him and smother his punches,” said Collazo. “I was able to play the aggressor and control the fight.”
Collazo had Perrella hurt badly in the late rounds, but Perrella was able to show enough toughness and athleticism to finish the fight on his feet.
“I’ve had a lot of fights that prepared me for what I had to do tonight,” said Collazo. “I felt strong in there, but I’ll know more once I look at the tape. I want one of the top welterweights next.”