By Allan Cerf
April 22, it’s Shawn ‘Showtime’ Porter versus Andre Berto, live Barclays Center, NY and on TV (Showtime).
Background: My Editor, John Raspanti, is a lead writer, a radio co-host and the co-author of the engrossing: Intimate Warfare: The True Story of the Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward Boxing Trilogy.
A true expert, John provides me outstanding fights to cover. This ain’t one of them. At best, it’s a stay busy bout and payday for Porter, who deserves better. Andre Berto, a great human being out of the ring and good one within, arguably peaked 5 years go; will also be paid.
Porter, to most but not all pundits, is a notch below Keith Thurman, as evidenced by his defeat. Porter was born in the wrong era. His toolkit is deep, his skills a threat to any Welter and on the right night, possibly the better of anyone in the division. He is absolutely solid in every way without that ‘special’ punch or other skill, say blinding speed, to get him to the top. Years ago, he would have had multiple cracks at a crown and by this I don’t mean a bogus “lesser belt,” which even I can buy at Walmart.
Andre Berto was the solid number three welter behind Money and Manny for years and has excellent power. He was last seen convincing himself that he may have defeated Mayweather in Money’s ludicrous retirement bout; one as exciting as ink stains. Berto once tested positive for a banned substance; this was over-turned. There is no Fountain of Youth, but in boxing there are continually, miraculously purified failed samples.
Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Shawn Porter: B+ C+ B+, B, B, B+, A (Average of all) B
Andre Berto B B B+ C+ C B A (Average of all) B
Reality Check: Both of these guys are born fighters; Berto claimed Olympic bronze and Porter was a standout amateur. If it wasn’t for Berto’s age and his not-even-close performance against Floyd, this would be a dead-even, exciting event. Expect a technical boxing match more for purists than pundits, with the fresher Porter winning most rallies and lining himself up for a rematch with Thurman who has not lived up to “KO’s for Life.” Berto? I say, apply George Foreman’s HBO-years advice: “go for broke, young man. Don’t let someone pick and pack you to death.” Berto is probably banking on a few years of diminishing, yet lucrative rewards and I think this is nuts: Every fight can be your last. Why not gun for a KO, ensuring a huge payday if accomplished?
Personal: Shawn Porter – Hey – check out Shawn’s maniacal workouts and DIET in a GQ article.
Personal: Andre Berto – Who can forget him passing up a tremendous payday against Mosely to head to Haiti to aid the relief efforts? A class act.
Fight and Prediction: I see some exciting rallies with Porter emerging with a small, but unmistakable UD.