Andre Berto vs Shawn Porter
Record: 31-4 (24 KO) ... Streak: W1 ... Last 5: 3-2 ... Last 10: 6-4 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'6½" / 68½" ... Age: 33
Thoughts: On the way up, Andre Berto was sold as a top welterweight in the making, a potential pound-for-pound list type of guy. The reality of Andre Berto has been very different, but sort of underappreciated: he’s an action star.
Berto’s real quality came out back in 2009, when he faced Luis Collazo in a very good, very competitive fight where he absolutely had to dig down deep in the 12th round to secure the victory, and he did so. That was really the first hint of what Berto truly was as a fighter and how he fit into the busy boxing world.
Wins over Juan Urango, Carlos Quintana, and Freddy Hernandez came and went without much fanfare. Then there was his 2011 Fight of the Year loss to Victor Ortiz, a fight that famously caused the late, great Emanuel Steward to nearly lose his mind on HBO commentary, along with the rest of us. He had a tough battle five months later with Jan Zaveck. He and Robert Guerrero beat the hell out of each other in late 2012. He warred on one good arm against Jesus Soto Karass in a 2013 upset loss.
Since the loss to Soto Karass and the surgery that followed it, Berto has pretty much been Berto. He beat Steve Upsher Chambers in a tune-up upon his return, then had an entertaining battle with Josesito Lopez, which “earned” him a fight with Floyd Mayweather, which went about how you’d expect it to have gone. Last year, he fought once, in an overcooked rematch with a well-done Victor Ortiz. Berto got dropped, but came back quickly to overwhelm the man now cosplaying as a boxer, and knocked him out in the fourth round.
Porter stacks up as a supercharged version of the Josesito Lopez fight from 2015. Porter’s better now than Lopez was then, and Lopez got to Berto plenty. Josesito was ahead on two of three scorecards (and the fact that one was close and another other had Berto ahead was ridiculous) before Berto’s power got to him. Porter’s a bigger, stronger welterweight than Lopez, and is a better and nastier offensive fighter, too.
Record: 26-2-1 (16 KO) ... Streak: L1 ... Last 5: 3-2 ... Last 10: 7-2-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'7" / 69½" ... Age: 29
Thoughts: There was a turning point for Shawn Porter, and it came on December 15, 2012, when he fought to a draw with a past-prime Julio Diaz, a former lightweight titleholder campaigning as an also-ran at welterweight.
Porter had been a good physical prospect before then, but there were a lot of questions about him stepping up in competition. He didn’t provide a great answer that night, but it seemed to spark him.
After that, he beat Phil Lo Greco, Diaz in a rematch, Devon Alexander, and Paulie Malignaggi, all while looking like a wrecking ball. Then he faced and lost to Kell Brook in August 2014, dropping the IBF welterweight title he’d won from Alexander, and he faced another question: OK, he’d stepped up and done well, but then that next and really final level proved a little much for him against Brook.
Truth is, Porter’s probably a second-tier talent. After Brook, he beat Erick Boné and Adrien Broner, then lost to Keith Thurman. But what Porter may lack in the fine-tuned skills to win on that high level, he somewhat makes up for in determination and toughness. He’s a relentless fighter, pushing Thurman to the brink and losing on 7-5 scores across the board.
More troublesome the last couple of years has been his inactivity. He fought Broner in June 2015, then didn’t fight again until facing Thurman in June 2016, a fight that had been delayed a bunch. Now, he’s waited another 10 months to get back in the ring to face Berto.
On the one hand, he’s facing all solid or better fighters. On the other, that downtime can’t be helping more than hurting.
Matchup Grade: B. Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions will sell this as a marquee fight, but it’s a notch below that. Berto is clawing to hang on to relevance as a contender at 147, while Porter is 0-2 against actual top welterweights himself. But this should be a good action fight and could, if all breaks “right,” get downright brutal. That’s what’s really attractive here. Forget the rankings and where you’d slot these guys in your top 20 at 147, and just look at it for what it should wind up being, a gritty brawl between two guys who know they can’t afford the loss if they want a big money outing again next time.
- Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KO) will defend his WBC 154-pound title against Don King-”promoted” Charles Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KO). Hatley has taken the bold path of sitting on his mandatory since beating Anthony Mundine in November 2015, and that’s probably not the best thing? But what can you expect, King to get him a useful tune-up or two in the meantime? Other than that, his best wins are over guys like Richard Gutierrez and Saul Roman. Charlo is considered the lesser of the twins, but has wins over Vanes Martirosyan and Gabriel Rosado to his credit, and scored a sensational KO of John Jackson last May to win the WBC belt. He did struggle in that fight before the knockout, though. Hatley’s inactivity worries me. Otherwise, I think this is a good matchup. Grade: B-
- On Showtime Extreme, Amanda Serrano (31-1-1, 23 KO) will face Dahiana Santana (35-8, 14 KO) of the Dominican Republic. Serrano, a super bantamweight titleholder who has become a regular on Brooklyn cards and made her SHO debut in January with a win over Yazmin Rivas, is a lot of fun to watch. I won’t pretend I know much of anything about Santana. This is a fight for the vacant WBO bantamweight title, which is interesting because Santana last fought at 130, losing to Eva Wahlstrom in Finland, while Serrano is again moving down in weight. She’s won titles at, in order, 130, 135, 126, and 122, now she’s shooting for 118. A win here would also make her the first Puerto Rican to win titles in five weight classes.