11 years after their first fight, Robert Guerrero and Andre Berto will meet again on Saturday night, opening the final Showtime boxing card from Minneapolis.
When they met on Nov. 24, 2012, the two were the headliners in a surprisingly brutal brawl, with Guerrero winning by unanimous decision.
Both men were in their 20s then. They are both 40 now. Guerrero retired after a one-sided mauling at the hands of Omar Figueroa Jr in 2017, only to return in 2018, last fighting in Aug. 2021. Berto has not fought since Aug. 2018, over five years if just listing the date doesn’t make it clear enough how long ago that was.
Many will wonder why they’re bothering, or why Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime are entertaining the rematch by putting it on a notable card. The winner will not a contender at 147 or any other division. There are, in terms of today’s boxing landscape, no stakes.
Guerrero and Berto said at Thursday’s press conference, though, that it’s about more than that.
“These fists are hungry and I gotta feed them. It’s been a long time coming,” Guerrero said. “Things change, but like my dad always told me, ‘the older the bull, the stiffer the horn.’ We’re ready to go.”
“This is a fight that I felt like I always needed to get back,” Berto said. “I’m on a revenge tour now before I leave this game. Robert is a great fighter of course, and he did what he did. But I’m hungry for this one. I still think about situations from that fight back then. I’m hungry to get this one back. We had a hell of a training camp and we’re gonna get it.”
Berto (32-5, 24 KO) says he’s stayed in shape, but that would really just be cosmetic after five years without a live fight. Prior to his exit from the sport, his final two fights saw him trounced by Shawn Porter inside of nine rounds, followed by a highly debatable split decision win over Devon Alexander.
The loss to Guerrero, though, sticks in his mind, even after all these years, but he has a lot of respect for his opponent, which you could see went both ways when the two faced off, in some ways looking simply happy to be here, perhaps for a final time with any sort of real spotlight.
“I wasn’t in the right space mentally or physically when we first fought,” Berto said. “I only gained four lbs after the weigh-in. Even then he barely beat me. I’m not taking anything from Robert, because he’s a beast.
“Now, even at this age, I’m feeling like a beast right now. I’m focused right now. I didn’t pull any punches in camp. I had young studs pushing me every day. I feel good and I feel fresh.”
“The last time we fought, I was really a 135 lber fighting at 147. I’ve grown into the weight now. It’s gonna be a lot different match now,” Guerrero said. “We were both in Las Vegas out there running and doing our camps. I’m ready and I’m excited to do it again. When you run at that elevation in Las Vegas, there’s nothing like it.
“If you know Robert Guerrero, you know I come for war. We come no matter what. It’s just what we do. We’re warriors.”
Guerrero vs Berto 2 will kick off Saturday’s Showtime card, which starts at 9 pm ET, and is headlined by David Morrell Jr — who was 14 years old when these two first fought — and Sena Agbeko.