Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Robert Guerrero and Andre Berto were expected to have a good fight, but they delivered a surprisingly brutal Fight of the Year candidate tonight in California, with Guerrero winning by unanimous decision.
From his time as a welterweight through his brief stint as a lightweight, Robert Guerrero was known mostly as a technical boxer, and a good one. In two fights as a welterweight, Robert Guerrero has transformed into a nasty, brutish animal, and tonight he mauled Andre Berto through much of their action-packed, 12-round war, winning by unanimous decision on three scores of 116-110. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-111 for Guerrero.
Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO) scored knockdowns in the first and second rounds, and it looked like Berto's attempt to adopt the shoulder roll defense was going to epically fail him. But to the credit of Berto (28-2, 22 KO), he clawed his way back into the fight, and with two eyes closed shut, battled Guerrero tooth-and-nail until the very end.
By the later rounds, there's really no way Berto could see much at all, and Guerrero's lead was also swollen shut. It was a savage fight, one that nobody really expected to see, with Guerrero constantly bullying Berto, who at times used his superior speed and big-time power to keep himself in the thick of things.
But in the end, it was Guerrero's fight, and he deserved the win. Most impressive -- other than Guerrero's take-no-prisoners mentality these days -- may have been Guerrero's chin.
"No, he didn't hurt me at all," Guerrero told HBO's Max Kellerman after the fight. "I took some good shots from him. Halfway through the fight he caught me with a shot in the eye, so I couldn't really see. That's why I fought more on the inside. He's a strong guy and fought hard, but I've got a good chin, so I took the shots."
And he went back to the same challenge he's been making for most of 2012: Guerrero wants Floyd Mayweather next, and he may have earned that fighttonight.
"I want to fight the best. I'm looking for Floyd Mayweather next," he said. "'Pretty Boy,' let's do it. This was my second fight at 147 pounds, and I won an unanimous decision against a great champion who's no joke."
Berto took issue with the performance of referee Lou Moret, who had a tough task in trying to wrangle the two. The truth is, both held a lot, both fouled plenty, and both fought dirty. Guerrero may have initiated much of it -- and he was better at it, too -- but Berto was willing to make it a two-way streetfight. Still, Berto received more of the verbal warnings, particularly the early verbal warnings.
"It was ridiculous," Berto said of Moret. "The referee kept calling me for a lot of different things. It made me real timid to throw punches. I wanted to throw inside. He warned me for things I had no control over. I came back after 14 months, fought a tough guy in Robert Guerrero, and he got the win."
He continued, "I didn't understand it. He was coming in, grabbing, holding me, and the referee warned me for shots, saying he was going to take points. It is what it is."
Following that statement, Guerrero and Berto argued a bit, with Guerrero saying he was warned, too, and that Berto did his share of the dirty fighting. But Berto kept it cool from there, and said if he'd love to get a rematch.
Tonight was Robert Guerrero's night, and "The Ghost" has definitely made his mark at 147 pounds now. Against the odds, he has become a legitimate welterweight contender. Why not Floyd?