Speaking with Lem Satterfield of The RING, Andre Berto revealed that he doesn't quite understand where the criticism of his record comes from. Here's a quote from Berto, and you'll see what I mean:
"Any time that I fight somewhat of a decent profiled guy, whether it's a David Estrada or it's a Carlos Quintana or just whoever, they're going to give that person that praise until I beat them, and then, all of a sudden, they say that I beat a guy who hasn't fought anybody yet."
This is not the criticism that Berto has been receiving. No one has said, "That Berto, fighting all those young guys who haven't beaten anyone," and they sure as hell didn't say it about David Estrada or Carlos Quintana, a couple of veterans who had been past their best days by the time Andre fought them.
The criticism of Andre Berto's opposition stems from the fact that he has fought mostly one of these types of opponents (we'll limit it to his HBO career):
- Semi-Name Fighters Past Their Prime: Carlos Quintana, Steve Forbes.
Prospect Step-Ups/Guys Who Didn't Really Have a Chance: Miguel Figueroa, Norberto Bravo, David Estrada, Michel Trabant, Miki Rodriguez, Freddy Hernandez. That the WBC sanctioned Rodriguez for a vacant title fight was absurd. HBO buying Freddy Hernandez as an opponent last year was awful, as Hernandez had no business there. Berto proved that by knocking him out in two minutes, and it wasn't that Berto is so great, but rather that he's so much better than Hernandez, who had never looked like a legitimate contender before that bout. I think you can excuse the Figueroa and Estrada fights, as those were steps up for young Berto at the time, but not so much the Bravo fight, which was a step back from Figueroa.
- Guys Moving Up in Weight: Juan Urango. I didn't mind this one much, to be perfectly honest, but the fact is that Urango had never been a welterweight before, and wasn't one after. He and Berto also put on a bad fight, with copious amounts of holding from Berto.
You also have Victor Ortiz (who was also a guy moving up in weight) and Luis Collazo. I do wonder if, had Berto defeated Ortiz, that fight would be crapped on, too, but I thought it was a perfectly decent fight. Really, guys move up in weight. It happens all the time.
The greater criticism is that Berto's career has been propped up by HBO, because they were convinced they had a future star on their hands. I think you can easily argue he's fallen short of their targets. He's been fighting on HBO for five years now, and has never had a really big, marquee main event type of fight, his biggest ever coming against Victor Ortiz.
To be very clear, I don't really have anything against Andre Berto, but I do think his opposition has, at times, deserved the ridicule. But I don't blame him or promoter Lou DiBella. They've made good money from HBO, mostly for fights that carried very little risk. Whether you believe that's a feather in DiBella's cap or simply another good reason that the HBO Sports department is undergoing an overhaul is your call.
Berto is back on September 3, again on HBO, facing IBF welterweight titlist Jan Zaveck. I will not criticize that fight, as I think it's a good one.