Gene Blevins-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Andre Berto and Robert Guerrero are set to collide in a fight that could lead to one of them landing a major money opportunity in 2013. Will a rusty Berto fall short, or will Guerrero find himself overpowered by an explosive true welterweight?
Robert Guerrero's last four fights (and wins) have been against Olympians. Berto is also an Olympian. I think Guerrero will go 5/5. Berto never really progressed as a pro fighter. He's mostly flash and raw talent. Berto didn't learn the subtle tricks of the trade and I think Guerrero will exploit his flaws, provided he can hold up to Berto's power. Guerrero is going to have to walk through a few bombs to pull this off, but I think he can do it. A blueprint for this fight is Berto-Collazo. But this time Berto is the away team. I'm predicting a fight that fans will disagree about who the victor should be. The judges may, too. Logic suggests you go with the home team in these scenarios.
Early Berto will look too fast and strong for Guerrero. But he's going to fade and Guerrero is going to take over. If by some miracle Berto doesn't fade (which usually begins with him abandoning his movement and jab, squaring up, and trying to bang his way out of trouble) I suspect clinching will have a lot to do with it. If that's the case all of a sudden the referee becomes the most important factor of all. If the ref lets the clinching go without penalties, Berto is probably going to cruise to a decision. Guerrero is only going to be able to dominate Berto during the spots where Berto doesn't want to work. And if Berto is allowed to clinch Guerrero loses that opportunity. I'm counting on Guerrero to get a hometown referee here that is a bit partial to him. Penalizing people for breaking rules
really shouldn't be partial in boxing, but it's just that most refs let clinching go in general. Should things go the way I'm guessing they will, Guerrero should take this by a close decision; I'll say majority. Guerrero by majority decision.
Call me crazy, but I don't really think Robert Guerrero is quite ready for what Andre Berto is going to bring. Berto has his issues but he's a strong fighter who can bang and makes things exciting. Guerrero is plenty talented but I think he's going to be surprised by his inability to hang when things get scrappy. I have a soft spot for Berto (when he's in the ring, not so much when he's doing interviews) so maybe it's personal preference, but I'll take Berto by late round stoppage.
I happen to believe that Robert Guerrero is a better professional boxer than Andre Berto. He just is, in my opinion. He's got more dimensions to his game, he's smarter, he doesn't tire as noticeably (or rapidly), and though he had his own long layoff recently, which Berto will deal with tomorrow, he's been in the ring much more recently. Likely, he worked out some kinks and some rust in a tough, gritty win over Selcuk Aydin, and I wouldn't expect the same chippy, rough, out-to-prove-something approach from Guerrero here that we saw in that fight. He knows Berto can be really explosive, and he's going to do what he can to avoid that. He won't trade if he can help it.
I suspect this will be a good fight, and I'm just leaning toward Robert Guerrero here. Berto might blast him with something big and beat him, might be able to overpower him, but I like Guerrero to make Andre work more than he really likes to in the ring. Berto is best when he can bowl over opponents; resistance somewhat befuddles him. Guerrero is too determined to let that happen to him. He'll win a 7-5, 8-4 type of competitive decision. Guerrero by decision.
This, on paper, is an excellent fight, and I don't think it'll disappoint. It's an interesting clash of styles. Berto is a smarter boxer than I think he sometimes looks but, though he catches the eye against fighters he has the better of in terms of brawn, how he performs against someone who's arguably a better technician than him remains to be seen.
Guerrero has a confidence and belief about him that I like, and he keeps impressing. It's hard to back against a guy like that. With home advantage on his side, look for Guerrero to make the contest his own, rely on his excellent jab to keep the distance, and avoid a firefight with the bigger puncher of the two. Guerrero by decision.
I'm of the opinion Robert Guerrero bit off a bit more than he can chew here. His lone foray at welterweight, a competent but predictable points win over a limited fighter in Selcuk Aydin, hasn't convinced me that Guerrero's two-division, twelve-pound jump from lightweight will conclude with a happy ending. Guerrero would be a great addition to the loaded landscape at 140 and maybe he'll end up there after this. There's no getting around the fact that at 147 he's a small fighter without a lot of pop in his punch. Andre Berto is not only the stronger man but, in my estimation, also boasts a damning advantage in speed. Guerrero's boxing skills, respectable as they are, won't be enough to survive a relentless opponent desperate to erase the taint of a positive drug test that cancelled his last fight. I favor Berto by TKO8.
I'll be surprised if Berto doesn't win convincingly. At lower weights, Guerrero could use his lanky frame to keep opponents at a comfortable range, and he still enjoyed an edge in that regard over a compact welterweight like Aydin. That advantage is no more against Berto, and when one also takes into account Berto's speed, it's very difficult to see how Guerrero can possibly control the distance. And if Guerrero can't score points without getting cracked in return, he's in trouble, as Berto's easily the harder hitter. Berto by wide decision, or late stoppage.
I'm not sure about Guerrero as a welterweight, he looks like he could still make lightweight with ease. And that's where the problem will lie come Saturday night. I can see Guerrero boxing well and catching Berto with straight rights but at some point Berto's extra physical strength and punch power will have an effect.
I can see Guerrero making a bright start before getting bullied by Berto as the fight wears on. Guerrero is as tough as they come but I wouldn't be surprised if Berto became the first man to stop him. I'm going for Berto stoppage win around the ninth round.
Final Tally: Andre Berto 4, Robert Guerrero 3.