It’s another shot at another shot.
And that might not be enough.
If Andre Berto can look good – look very good – against Mexico’s Jesus Soto-Karass (27-8-3, 17 KO’s; pictured above, with Berto on left, in Hogan photo) on Saturday night in their NABF welterweight title fight at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on Showtime, maybe they’ll call Berto and offer him …
Well, maybe they won’t. Soto-Karass isn’t exactly Shane Mosley.
Berto was supposed to fight Mosley a few years back and was several months into training for the fight when Mother Nature interrupted everything and forced Berto to make the right call. Though he was born in Miami and grew up in Winter Haven, FL, Berto’s parents are from Haiti. Berto cancelled the fight with Mosley after losing several family members in the Haitian earthquake that killed thousands. That will take the fight out of just about anyone.
That was in January 2010. A few months later in June, while Berto was still dealing with the devastation and loss, Mosley took a seriously one-sided beating at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
And for Berto, the bleeding began.
If Berto would have fought and beaten Mosley, would he have gotten the shot against Mayweather like Mosley did? Who knows. This is the fight game.
If there’s been some collateral damage done to Berto’s psyche, Mayweather has to take most of the credit. Or blame. He beat the last two fighters – the only two fighters – who have ever beaten Berto (28-2, 22 KOs), the former two-time welterweight champion of the world. And now all Berto can do is sit and watch and wonder what’s happening and why.
Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero are responsible for handing Berto his only two career losses and both losses came in his last three fights. Lose two-out-of- three and look bad losing one (the Guerrero fight this past November) and suddenly the phone stops ringing, your dog goes into hiding and your girlfriend starts spending more time at the mall with her friends.
Desperation usually sets in and fighters do what they can to extinguish the flames. That usually means a change in partnership. Heads roll and careers are altered.
Realizing there was a problem – especially with some mismanagement in his corner between rounds in his recent fights – Berto brought in a new trainer, Virgil Hunter, the 2011 trainer of the year. Gone was his long-time trainer Tony Morgan, who started working with Berto when he was still too young for a paper route.
So now Berto has some serious catching up to do. He’s near the back of the pack that keeps snapping at Mayweather’s heels. If Berto beats Soto-Karass, he’ll win the vacant NABF welterweight title, and NABF titles aren’t high enough on the food chain to bring Mayweather into a serious conversation. So Berto has to be patient and take what he can get. And he has to keep winning.
“I let the big show get away from me twice, once against Victor Ortiz and once against Robert Guerrero,” Berto said at a recent press conference. “I’m coming to San Antonio focused. I’m ready. We had a tremendous training camp for this fight. My new team took me out of my comfort zone, which is something I needed. It was a very technical training camp and helped remind me who I am as a fighter. I’ve made changes in my game plan and I’m going to fight smarter.”
If Berto does beat Soto-Karass, a fight with Mayweather will loom a little closer. It helps a lot that both Mayweather and Berto have ties with Golden Boy. It removes a lot of tough snags when you're trying to put a fight together.
As for the Mayweather curse and boxing fans claiming Berto is just someone else’s stepping stone to a Mayweather title fight, Berto said there is nothing he can do about it and he’s tired of hearing it.
“All I can do is bite down and go get it,” Berto told ESPN.com. “Everything happens for a reason, but it’s frustrating.
“I look at it like I’m the next thing to Floyd, so they know if they can beat me, they can face the best. Two times it’s happened. There won’t be a third.”