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Berto could’ve accomplished much more

30
May

Andre Berto had no trouble finding the head of Juan Urango on Saturday in Hollywood, Fla. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

This might seem like an odd thing to write after a fighter thoroughly dominated a world-class opponent but Andre Berto didn’t do himself any favors Saturday night on HBO.

The WBC welterweight titleholder virtually shut out tough, but plodding Juan Urango, who was utterly unable to cope with Berto’s unusual speed and considerable boxing ability. It was even more one-sided than the scores: 118-110, 118-110 and 117-111.

However, just beating a smaller, inferior opponent isn’t enough for a talented fighter trying to build his reputation in a 147-pound division rich in talent.

Berto (25-0, 19 knockouts) had a chance to do something special, something that would’ve caught the eye of the boxing world, something similar to what Shane Mosley did to Antonio Margarito. He was so superior to the IBF 140-pound titleholder that he could’ve broken down and ultimately stopped him had he taken more chances, or at least given himself a chance to do so.

Instead, as he said immediately after the fight, he adhered to the game plan. He stuck, he moved, he held, he ran around. Over and over and over again.

“I was trying to stick to the game plan and not get into my fight mode. I think I executed it well,” he told Max Kellerman in the ring.

No one was asking him to get into the fight mode of his last outing, a thrilling war against Luis Collazo in January that certainly enhanced Berto’s reputation. That type of fight takes years off your career. However, Berto took it too far in the other direction

Did you see the crowd in Hollywood, Fla.? They looked positively bored. I even heard boos, a clear indication that the fans weren’t getting their money’s worth. Imagine what those at home were thinking, particularly after an entertaining fight between Kermit Cintron and Alfredo Angulo.

I spoke to someone who lives and breathes boxing toward the end of the fight and he screamed into the phone, “This is painful to watch!”

Yes, Berto did what he had to do against Urango (21-2-1, 16 KOs). He retained his title, he remained in line for more big-money fights and he walked away unscathed. He just didn’t make any new fans in the process.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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