By Peter Broderick: Robert Guerrero (30-1-1, 18ko’s)’s second outing as a welterweight takes place this weekend at the Citizens Business Bank Arena against Andre Berto (28-1-0, 22ko’s). A classy boxer at featherweight and super featherweight “The Ghost” brought his weight up to fight as a lightweight and continued to look good, going on to capture interim world titles.
After a year out of the sport due to an illness to his wife he returned to the ring on the 28th of July this year, this time even bigger again having skipped two weight classes to battle for the vacant interim WBC title at welterweight. He accomplished this at the expense of Selcuk Aydin and looked relatively comfortable at 145lbs, a whole 20lbs heavier than when he earned his first title 8 years previous. But there’s a big difference between looking good against Aydin and surviving against an aggressive fast starter like Berto.
Selcuk Aydin has an impressive record except for the fact that he hasn’t fought any quality opposition. Watching the fight he reminded me of a slowed down, more static version of Sergiy Dzinziruk who himself is no more than a solid, experienced fighter. The fight was fairly straight forward for Guerrero and he cruised to a decision win but something about Guerrero didn’t look right. He had Aydin backed up a number of times but wasn’t able to put him to the sword and finish him. On that night it was enough for Guerrero to back off and fence with Aydin but Andre Berto will provide a completely different test and ask a lot more questions of the ghost.
Anyone who saw Berto’s 2011 fight of the year against Victor Ortiz knows his punching power and his ability to deal with a lot of punishment. The amount of solid punches he took from Ortiz would have put most fighter’s out early but his hunger kept him ticking over until the end of the fight where he lost on a Unanimous Decision.
I know there’s two ways of looking at this and you could argue that he shouldn’t have taken so many punches in the first place but between two brawlers like these it was always going to be a slug fest. I think his plan of attack against Guerrero will be to go right after him and to try blow him away early because Berto won’t be wary of being knocked out. He knows as everyone who watched the Aydin fight does that while Guerrero is as skillful as he ever was his punching power seems to have abandoned him, or rather, it didn’t increase the way his body size did.
Punches that would put down lightweights simply won’t have the same effect against a large welterweight like Berto. It will be one of the first times he’s stepped into the ring as the smaller fighter. It will also be the best fighter he’s ever faced (considering Casamayor was 38 when they met). I am a fan of Guerrero and admire what he has done so far in his career, I just don’t think he has what it takes to do at welterweight what he’s previously done at lower weights.
Frankly, I think that if this fight goes the distance there’s a decent chance he’ll win a decision. However, I think the mostly outcome will be that he will be floored early and go on to be knocked out before the eighth. The only thing that stands in Guerrero’s favour is that Berto is just back from a bad shoulder injury that put him out of his Ortiz rematch and may be suffering from ring rust although in all likelihood this won’t be a factor and Guerrero’s marginally superior boxing skills won’t be able to keep ‘The Beast’ at bay for long. This could be a painful welcome to life in the welterweight division.