Andre Berto is in a tough spot. He’s got high end hand speed, some pop, a decent personality, good cardio, solid coordination and movement. All of those traits were on display against Juan Urango at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida on Saturday Night. But somehow those traits added up to a showing that was a tiny bit less than the sum of those parts. Don’t take my word for it if you don’t care to; Berto is a Florida kid, and his homies weren’t exactly blowing the roof off with hooting and hollering as they took in a totally solid but something less than scintillating unanimous decision win. The judges gave Berto the nod, by scores of 117-111, 118-110, 118-110, but the young hitter seemingly didn’t give a showing that will make the Cottos and Mosleys that much more eager to give the Floridian a tussle. He didn’t awe anyone, really, because he decided that he wouldn’t engage in crowd-pleasing, but brain-bruising trading. Smart for him, maybe not always stimulating to the viewer.
That said, Berto is 25, and if he simply keeps on winning, within two or three years, he will have moved up the ladder through attrition, even if his skills don’t elevate to superstar level. Also, Berto’s last outing was a bit too close for comfort. He won a narrow UD12 against Lou Collazo, and traded too much for he and his team’s liking. Better to box smart, than to be the crowd pleaser, and ignore some of your in-ring advantages.
After the bout, Berto said, “I thought I did alright,” to Max Kellerman. He gave a shoutout to Mike Tyson and his family, a classy move all the way. “We just outboxed him a little bit, showed him we can do a little bit of everything.” He explained that he stayed away from Urango’s right hook, which explained why he moved to his right. Next for Berto? “I think I showed a lot, I showed heart, I can bang with the best…I turned into a complete fighter,” he said. He said he will let promoter Lou DiBella and advisor Al Haymon figure out the next road to travel.
HBO showed the scrap on its Boxing After Dark program. Berto (from Florida;145 1/4 pounds on Friday) entered with the WBC welterweight title around his waist; Urango (from Colombia; 146 1/2) holds the IBF 140 pound crown, but it was not of course up for grabs.
In the first, Berto’s fast hands flew as expected. He pumped a right jab against the lefty, and showed the banger that he could expect heavy volume in this test. They did bang heads, but no nasty damage ensured. Trainer Evangelista Cotto warned Urango to “be careful” after the first.
In the second round, the 25-year-old Berto pawed some with the jab, and moved to his left mostly, toward Urango’s power hand, but he steered clear of truly malevolent tosses.
In the third, Berto whacked the 28-year-old Urango with a right uppercut, and then their legs got tangled, so Urango hit the deck. No knockdown was called. Berto wasn’t afraid to clinch when he wanted to, just to be on the safe side. But his ducking and slipping and foot movement were all he really needed to stay out of harm’s way.
In the fourth, Berto’s quick hands found their mark repeatedly. His right hand worked wonders on the lefty. In the fifth, Urango chugged forward, his head tucked into his chest. Berto kept on moving to his right, against conventional wisdom, but hey, it worked for him. His foe looked a bit crude and top heavy to this point. In round six, Urango as usual neglected a table-setting jab, for the most part, and whaled away with hooks to the body and head.
Berto was in control in the seventh; he controlled the space and the intervals of action to his liking. Same for the eighth. Urango didn’t pressure Berto, cut off the ring, make him go where he didn’t want to go, and it was hard to see what would change the game in his favor. Round nine, Berto heard some boos as he circled, and potshotted, and sometimes clinched, and looked to keep on message. In the 10th, Berto stuck closer to Urango, to give the fans a bit more red meat. In the 11th, Berto came out whaling. He tried to give the ticket buyers some bang for their buck. In the 12th, Berto stayed smart, making sure to get that W.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?