Andre Berto will make his first defense of the WBC welterweight title against veteran Steve Forbes on September 27, the main undercard bout on the HBO broadcast of Mosley-Mayorga.
I really like Berto because he's got incredible raw talent and he sparks up the future of the 147-pound division. Whether his status as a titleholder is really relevant or not (and I argue it's not, he beat Miki Rodriguez, for God's sake) isn't the question. If the young man keeps developing the way he has these last few years, it soon will be a real deal alphabet soup strap to respect.
Forbes is a nice step-up opponent. He's a tough veteran that has never been on the mat, has never lost by KO or TKO, and has really good boxing skills and ring smarts. He'll give Berto a far stiffer challenge than the last two cans that Andre has wasted. I still can't get over how big of a joke that Michel Trabant fight turned out to be.
I'm not trying to bash Berto (22-0, 19 KO) at all, either. It was Berto's skills, his speed and power and aggressiveness, that made Trabant and Rodriguez look like such chumps, and for a guy with 22 fights, he's been matched fairly well. The one time we saw him backed against a wall to any degree was against Cosme Rivera, who put Berto on the canvas, and Andre recovered to score a wide unanimous decision.
This is really last shot time for Stevie Forbes (33-6, 9 KO). He's still way too small to be fighting at welterweight, and the talk out of his camp was that he might even go back down to 135 pounds after the Oscar de la Hoya loss. Instead, I'd have to guess this chance to dethrone a young, hot titleholder was too good to pass up. Who else was he going to fight?
Forbes has lost three of his last four, but I'll always maintain that he beat Demetrius Hopkins and that D-Hop was given a terribly generous gift that night. Forbes doesn't run, doesn't back down. I have to say, this is a fight I like on paper for a lot of reasons. The younger, stronger, bigger, faster Berto should be the heavy favorite, obviously. But Forbes is the type of slick cat you never can totally count out.