Andre Berto hadn't fought since July 2013, when he lost to Jesus Soto Karass and injured his shoulder, requiring surgery and a lengthy rehab. Tonight, he got back into the ring and back into the win column, notching his first victory in three years against Steve Upsher tonight on Showtime.
Berto (29-3, 22 KO) was definitely rusty, and didn't seem to have done much to improve his porous defense under new trainer Virgil Hunter, but he was able to outclass a rather lackadaisical Steve Upsher (24-4-1, 6 KO) over the latter half of the fight. Scores were 99-91 three times for Berto. Bad Left Hook had it 98-92.
Upsher split the first four rounds with Berto on our card, making it 38-38 at that point, but Berto swept the rest, doing so with an assist from Upsher himself, who simply didn't go on the offensive at all. When he used his jab and got off first, he gave Berto plenty of trouble, and even buzzed him early, despite not being a puncher at all. But that lasted only a handful of rounds, and after that, Berto was able to do more or less as he pleased.
Offensively, Berto mostly looked like the Andre of old, using his jab to set up power shots, taking a few risks, unleashing his uppercuts. Physically, Berto looked in very good shape, and didn't seem to tweak or reinjure the bad shoulder at all. He turns 31 tomorrow, and probably will need to take a cautious path to a return to the serious ranks in the welterweight division, at least if he's aiming to rejoin the division's best fighters.
This fight didn't really put Berto in line for any of the serious contenders, but there's time to get there, and he'll be able to get TV dates until he's ready, if he gets to that point again.
Showtime's stats had Berto landing 126 of 284 (44%) of his jabs, and a robust 106 of 169 (63%) of his power shots, for 232 of 453 (51%) of total punches landed. Upsher landed just 34 of 185 (18%) jabs, and 78 of 293 (27%) power shots, for a paltry 112 of 478 (23%) total shots.