ONTARIO, CA-Behind a well-planned attack, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero pounded the body and floored Andre Berto twice in winning by a wide unanimous decision on Saturday. Next up is Floyd Mayweather if further plans proceed as expected.
“Nobody at 147 pounds can hurt Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. Nobody,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO for Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted the fight. “Whoever doesn’t have Guerrero in the top five pound for pound list has something wrong.”
Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 Kos) proved his capabilities early on as a welterweight; the beefed up former featherweight looked bigger, taller and stronger in defeating former welterweight world champion Berto (28-2, 22 Kos) before 4,865 fans at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The WBC interim titleholder took some shots but proved he was the stronger man against the determined Berto.
Knockdowns in the first two rounds by Guerrero may have startled the crowd and surprised Berto, but from there on the Florida fighter bore down and never quit trying to send the Northern California prizefighter into slumber land.
After a few slow minutes in round one Berto connected with a right hand and quickly Guerrero opened up with his own left cross. Berto’s blow seemed to anger Guerrero who then attacked and fired three successive lefts while Berto held on to his right arm. Down went Berto from the blows in staggering fashion as the crowd roared at the surprise knockdown. It was always assumed that Berto was the stronger puncher, not Guerrero, who began his career as a junior featherweight.
“I can punch,” said Guerrero. “And I can take a punch.”
Guerrero dropped Berto again in round two with left hands as the Floridian attempted to hold. A swelling quickly developed on the right eye of Berto. Guerrero pounded Berto on the ropes excessively and refused to allow Berto to regain momentum.
The fight stayed mainly inside with Berto intent on holding and hitting and Guerrero pounding the body. He never stopped pounding the body. The plan by Guerrero seemed clear that he planned to work Berto’s body. In rounds three through five he pounded away on the body with both lefts and rights every opportunity.
“My plan was to fight on the inside,” said Guerrero. “I love it on the inside. I love to fight.”
The fans could sense the glee in Guerrero’s attack and began to shout “Guer-re-ro! Guer-re-ro!”
Berto finally saw his rights connect in round six as he caught Guerrero with some sizzling uppercuts and right counters. Guerrero didn’t seem fazed by the blows but they scored and probably gave Berto his first round on the judge’s cards.
“He didn’t hurt me at all. He caught me with a few shots and punches hard, but I have a great chin,” said Guerrero.
A perfect left uppercut by Guerrero hurt Berto in round seven who seemed surprised by the big blows. Guerrero walloped him with some more combinations and it looked bad for Berto. But the Floridian fought back with a vengeance. Both of his eyes were swollen from the hits he absorbed.
Berto rallied in round nine with some vicious right uppercuts that found the mark on Guerrero’s chin and face. The Northern Californian’s right eye swelled from the shots but both of Berto’s eyes were swollen even worse. The crowd began to cheer “Guer-re-ro! Guer-re-ro!”
With two swollen eyes Berto still tried to match Guerrero who continued to pound the body. Berto tried valiantly to land that one good right hand that could change the fight but never could land the punch to turn the fight around in his favor.
In the final round both fought in their usual position along the ropes with Guerrero firing body shots like some kind of punching machine. Berto occasionally tried to flurry with some combinations but Guerrero would flurry with his own combinations. With 30 seconds left in the fight both began to fire killing blows with Guerrero getting the upper hand perhaps because he only had one eye closed instead of two like Berto. The bell rang but Guerrero continued to fire as the crowd roared and made it impossible to hear the final bell. Four blows connected solidly on Berto’s chin, then, referee Lou Moret stopped the action through the loud cheers. It was finally over.
“I told Andre I was going to beat him down. I had to keep my word,” said Guerrero. “I had to fight him in the inside and work the body. We were on the inside and I was pushing him on the inside to land my punches.”
All three judges scored it identically 116-110 for Guerrero who retains the WBC interim welterweight.
“I came back after 14 months and fought Robert Guerrero. At the end of the day he fought a great fight,” said Berto.
Is Floyd Mayweather next on the list for Guerrero who is recognized as one of the top fighters pound for pound?
Richard Schaefer, CEO for Golden Boy Promotions, said he will be working on making a Guerrero versus Mayweather fight.
“I don’t know how Floyd Mayweather can hurt Guerrero,” said Schaefer immediately after the fight. “Guerrero hurt a natural welterweight.”
Guerrero agrees that Mayweather cannot hurt him and feels he will dethrone the current pound for pound champion.
“I feel I can’t be beat. I’m unstoppable,” said Guerrero during the post fight conference. “I’m here, let’s do this Floyd.”
Florida’s Keith Thurman (19-0, 18 Kos) floored former world champion Carlos Quintana (29-4, 23 Kos) with a left hook to the liver in the first round. It was all downhill from there for Thurman who chased the Puerto Rican for three more rounds and finally ended the fight with a barrage of brutal blows. Quintana refused to quit and kept firing but seemed out on his feet. Finally, referee Jack Reiss jumped in to end the fight at 2:19 of round four.
“I give myself a B-plus,” said Thurman, who grabs the NABO junior middleweight title with the win. “He had heart.”
Quintana said that he is retiring after the loss, but credited Thurman for his talent.
“He’s a strong fighter. He has a good future ahead of him,” said Quintana of Thurman.
Coachella’s Randy “El Matador” Caballero (17-0, 9 Kos) pounded out a third round technical knockout victory at the end of round three against Mexico’s iron chinned Rigoberto Casillas (8-9-1, 6 Kos). Caballero was pounding out combinations throughout the first two rounds including a right uppercut that stunned Casillas. In the third round a seven-punch combination wobbled Casillas but he refused to go down. Both exchanged freely but it was Caballero doing much more damage. At the end of the round referee Jack Reiss brought in the ringside physician who conferred with Casilla’s corner and the fight was stopped for a technical knockout win by Caballero.
Houston’s undefeated Jermell Charlo (19-0, 10 Kos) beat Escondido’s Dashon “Flyboy” Johnson by unanimous decision after 10 rounds of a junior middleweight bout. Charlo was busier throughout the fight with his straight punches through Johnson’s high guard. Every so often Johnson would erupt with a barrage of punches but it wasn’t enough to win the rounds. The judges scored it 100-89, 99-90, 98-91 for Charlo. There were no knockdowns.
Former Olympian Dominic Breazeale (2-0, 2 Kos) started slowly against Tennessee’s Michael Bissett (1-1) who landed some good blows early, but that just seemed to wake up the bigger Breazeale. A four-punch combination sent Bissett down midway through the first round. Then another right cross connected to floor Bissett again. Round two saw Bissett look to kill or be killed instead of running. But Breazeale was too accurate and quick and floored the Tennessean twice in round two right rights. Referee David Denkin stopped the contest at 1:17 of round two.
Manny “Chato” Robles (3-0, 2 Kos), a sharp punching featherweight from Paramount, stunned Missael Martinez (0-7) of Los Angeles with a counter right in the opening round. Then a flurry of 30 blows ensued snapping Martinez’s head back and forcing referee Jack Reiss to stop the fight at 2:15 of round two.