Andre Berto retained his WBC welterweight title belt tonight with an eighth round stoppage of Carlos Quintana in Florida, and Celestino Caballero dominated Daud Yordan in the co-feature of HBO's first World Championship Boxing card of 2010.
Berto (26-0, 20 KO) started a bit slow and complained frequently of rabbit punches in the early going, but eventually was able to use his speed and natural ability to overwhelm Quintana. Quintana (27-3, 21 KO) was game and tried to make the fight a bit ugly. But it was talent that won the night, and Berto's physical abilities were just too much for him to handle. Quintana, due to the complaining of the Berto corner (and a legitimate rabbit punch, to be fair), had a point taken, but it didn't wind up mattering.
Berto said he hurt his left bicep in the second or third round of the fight, but fought through it and landed a lot of good right hands along the way. In the eighth, he stunned and chased Quintana quickly, and then finished him off with a nasty right hand right down the pipe, forcing Tommy Kimmons to step in and call the fight off.
Quintana is a gatekeeper, but a high-level gatekeeper. He's a step above the David Estradas of the world. In the end, Berto was better and he showed it. We'll have more on Berto this week, as I think the time is right to start examining what we really have with Andre Berto. The hype has died down some and he's become Andre Berto: Welterweight Contender instead of Andre Berto: Prospect. The next step up for Berto is a HUGE jump, as the HBO team talked about, and what stinks for Berto is there aren't a whole lot of guys better than Quintana or Luis Collazo against whom Berto can get better than he is. That's not Andre's fault. He might have to essentially "tread water" for a few fights.
But we'll get back to that later this week.
On the undercard, Celestino Caballero dominated Daud Yordan and won a unanimous decision. But to hear HBO's Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant tell it, Yordan was on death's door and Caballero was the Grim Reaper. Look, Caballero dominated. I said that, I mean it -- he clearly and relatively easily won the fight. But this was not the massacre or slaughter they were describing. Caballero looked excellent, and is a clear danger to the featherweight division. When he's on his game, as he was tonight, he's a terribly tough proposition for anyone from John to Gamboa to Lopez to whoever else at 126.
We went on and on enough about the HBO team's call of that fight in the live thread, so I won't do it here. I'll just say that as radical and upsetting as it might seem, it might be time for HBO to consider revamping their boxing team.
In other action tonight:
- Evander Holyfield TKO-8 Francois Botha in Las Vegas. Our own Brickhaus said there were a few hundred people in attendance. The fight was apparently dirty, as you'd likely expect.
- Mark Jason Melligen UD-10 Norberto Gonzalez, and Lamont Peterson TKO-7 Damian Fuller.
- David Estrada RTD-8 Orlando Lora. This was the ESPN2 fight tonight. I didn't see the last few rounds, but what I did see was Estrada, who didn't have much pop left, just slicing and dicing Lora. Lora clearly had stepped out of his league.
- Cristian Mijares won a split decision over Francisco Arce. While losses to Darchinyan and even Cermeno might have been forgivable, a near loss to Panchito probably means that Mijares is about done. Also on that card, Julio Cesar Miranda got back on the winning track with a third round knockout of Faustino Cupul.