Andre Berto was supposed to be a superstar of the future, or at least that's what boxing fans were led to believe during his earlier career push on HBO. He's not going to be a superstar fighter, but it's certainly not because he hasn't had the guts to be one.
Berto's status as a top fighter is probably gone following a TKO-12 loss tonight against Jesus Soto Karass in San Antonio, a valiant effort that saw him reinjure his right shoulder early and put up a hell of a fight, but ultimately get clipped in the final round with a good left hook that ended the fight.
Berto (28-3, 22 KO) probably takes too much criticism for what his career has been, since it's not really his fault and he's proven his guts many times over at this point, but this is two straight losses and three losses in his last four fights. In part, the reason he feels like a flop is because of the way he was force-fed to us by HBO and Al Haymon, as well as the WBC, who once allowed him to win a vacant welterweight title by beating Miki Rodriguez. Because we had him pushed down our throats, the fact that he settled in at capable, warrior-type fighter and not pound-for-pound contender became a major disappointment, rather than just the reality of what type of fighter he is.
For that, Berto becomes the new poster child for recklessly hyping up a fighter without making sure he's being properly tested in order to deserve the paydays and the main events and the talk-up press release articles and fluffer treatment from nicely-connected media and the assorted groupies that love to latch on to a fighter (note: I'm not saying those two things are the same).
And in part, the people who mold careers would be wise to learn something from Berto, not that they will, and not that they haven't had umpteen chances to learn the same lesson well before Berto ever came along. You cannot make a star in boxing. You can try. You can push, and push, and push, and push, but sooner or later, if they haven't got that ability you're lying about, or they don't get the proper development and challenges and pass the tests, they will be exposed, they will fail, and the reaction will be somewhere between unfair and brutal from fight fans and a lot of the media.
There's nothing wrong with Andre Berto as a fighter, except he's not who we were told he was going to be. Never really was close to it. The way he looked tonight, shoulder injury or not, it's really hard to imagine he's ever going to beat a top welterweight again. At this point, he's about to turn 30 and he looks mentally and physically worn out. His game plan was weird from the get-go, and for no good reason, he kept trying out that shoulder roll that Robert Guerreor ate alive last year. Guess what? Jesus Soto Karass devoured the same defensive posture.
Scores at the time of stoppage were 105-103 Soto Karass, 105-103 Berto, and 104-104. BLH had it 105-104 for Soto Karass.
As for Soto Karass (28-8-3, 18 KO), this is a career-best win and continues the best year of his career with two victories on Showtime, both upsets over credible foes. He says that he's taking the sport seriously now, which he did not previously, and while a lot of guys say things like that, I think you can see a legitimate difference in the way he fights now. He remains a fringe contender at best, but this win should get him another opportunity, maybe against someone like Keith Thurman.