Steve Forbes seems like a good guy. I’ve talked with him a couple of times, and enjoyed the experience. I have nothing against him as a person. But I have not enjoyed as much seeing Forbes fighting in the co-feature against Andre Berto on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in California, and against Oscar De La Hoya in June. The undersized Forbes, against top level fighters such as Berto and Oscar, will provide useful sparring, but he is no threat to pull off an upset. At no point over 12 rounds on Saturday did I think Forbes could derail Berto, and the judges concurred, handing Berto a UD12 win, by scores of 118-109, 118-019, 116-111. That last score stands out as pretty dreadful piece of judging, seeing as how Berto outlanded (147-105) Forbes, and landed the showier power punches. There were no knockdowns in a fairly forgettable fight.
The 25-year-old Berto (from Florida; 22-0 coming in) weighed in at 145 ½ pounds on Friday, while 31-year-old Forbes (from Oregon; 33-6 coming in) weighed 147 pounds. Berto’s WBC belt was up for grabs.
In the first, both men tried to set the table with the jab. Forbes landed a straight right that nailed Forbes, and then Berto hit home with a right uppercut. In round two, Berto tried to load up, and Forbes saw it coming, and slipped the shot, much of the time. In the third, Berto got into gear more. He added some hooks in, too. A little slice opened over Forbes’ left eye, maybe from a punch, maybe a butt.
In round four, Berto looked like he was having fun throwing left hooks. In the fifth, Berto was whooping as he threw. In round six, Forbes was still there. The canny vet, who makes it hard to land clean, paid more attention to “D” than “O” but still hurled left hooks to the body, and right crosses up top.
In round seven, the crowd occasionally perked up with a Berto flurry. A Berto right with 40 seconds to go had them jazzed. They sensed Berto might be building to a climax soon. In the eighth, Berto smacked Forbes’ mouthpiece out of his mouth, and during a lull, at 1:23, it was re-inserted. In the ninth, Forbes hung tough, not out of his league, but looked to be no threat to pull an upset.
In the 10th, it was more of the same. Forbes got a talking to from his corner in between rounds, but he showed no more urgency than before. “We gotta let our hands go, IF you want it,” said a voice from Forbes’ corner after the tenth. In the 11th, Forbes did land a clean right that wowed the crowd. In the 12th, Berto figured that he’d not be able to remove Forbes, so he did what he’d done the last 11 rounds.
As far as Berto goes, his next fight will have to be a step up fight. The fans are restless, restless to see just how highly his management regards him, and eager to see if he himself wants sterner tests, or is content to cherry pick. It looks like he’d have trouble against a taller, longer limbed welter, but eventually, if he wants to put a real stamp on the division, he’s going to have to test himself against a taller foe. To me, he hasn’t progressed like I thought he would when I checked him out three years ago. I’d like to hear your take, TSS Universe…
SPEEDBAG I am not on board with anyone who is clapping Forbes on the back for sticking around, as if that’s some monumental feat. For him, if that’s how he wants to make his living, cool. But as a fan, as a payer of a monthly fee to a premium network, I am not down with seeing Steve Forbes presented to me and other fans as a viable challenge to high level boxers, as he has been lately. Stop telling me that yellow liquid running down my leg is lemonade, people. Forbes is a solid journeyman, who provides rounds, and can be counted on to not stink out the joint. Nothing more, at least not against fighters over 140 pounds.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV