Dan Rafael reports from Las Vegas tonight that a November 24 HBO fight between Andre Berto and IBF junior middleweight titlist Cornelius "K9" Bundrage will happen, meaning that the November U.S. TV schedule is just about full.
Berto (28-1, 22 KO) hasn't fought since September 2011, when he defeated Jan Zaveck in a very entertaining fight in Mississippi. Prior to that, he suffered his first career loss in a thriller against Victor Ortiz.
Berto was set to rematch Ortiz this year, but their February date was postponed when Berto suffered a shoulder injury, and the rescheduled June date was canceled when Berto failed a VADA drug test. Last month, Berto received a license to box in California.
Berto says he hasn't heard anything official about this, but it sounds like it's what he expects. It's not uncommon for guys to find out after others that they've got something finalized.
Bundrage (32-4, 19 KO) will be getting a well-earned big fight chance here. At just 5'6", the 39-year-old Detroit native has been fighting small in the junior middleweight division his entire career, and he's had a pretty good run of late, demolishing Cory Spinks to win the IBF title in 2010. He then beat Sechew Powell, left promoter Don King, and beat Spinks again on Showtime earlier this year.
He's a good, entertaining fighter, and he's bounced back from defeats and kept his head up all the way. He's an admirable sort of pro fighter who hasn't been handed anything, kind of a contrast from Berto in many ways.
Berto will be moving up to 154 pounds for this fight, which isn't any big surprise. He's always had a wide frame at 147 and a big upper body at the weight, so he should be fine going up.
I'm looking forward to this one. It should be a good action fight and should be plenty of fun to watch, and if Bundrage can knock off Berto (who will be favored, I'm guessing), then maybe he gets an even bigger fight with someone like Canelo Alvarez or Miguel Cotto in 2013.