BASN Boxing Spotlight

By Francis Walker
Updated: January 24, 2008

NEW YORK — There is so much going on in boxing right now. 2008 is truly shaping up to be a dynamic year for the sport. Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez will fight for a third time.

Manny Pacquaio’s long-awaited rematch with Juan Marquez will take place as well. Jermain Taylor plans to avenge a knockout loss to Kelly Pavlik. Both Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito appear to be headed on a collision course.

Also, Joe Calzaghe will make his U.S. debut against Bernard Hopkins.

Plus, Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov will unify a pair of heavyweight championships for the first time in nine years. Plus, Oscar De La Hoya returns, as he will pursue a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. later this year.

So many fighters will be involved with many different fights including David Haye and Chad Dawson. One fighter that shouldn’t be overlooked is unbeaten welterweight Andre Berto.

The 24 year-old from Miami, Florida, is ranked No. 1 by the WBC and is the official mandatory challenger to welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather.

Berto will not be fighting Mayweather anytime soon, but will appear as the co-featured attraction to an HBO Boxing After Dark show on February 9, at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Tem, CA.

Berto (20-17 KOs) will face the toughest opponent of his career, in twice-beaten Michael Trabant (43-2-1, 19 KOs). In the main event, unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Paul Williams makes the first defense of his title against Carlos Quintana.

Berto has been moved along pretty well throughout his career. He has become a fan favorite fighting frequently on the east coast at popular venues such as Madison Square Garden and in Hammerstein Ballroom.

He was has been featured on nationally televised HBO, ESPN and other regional sports programs throughout the country. Berto is one of the most exciting prospects in boxing today and it appears as though his promoter Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment is willing to take Berto to the next level.

Last year was Berto’s toughest. Berto fought four times, knocking out three of his opponents. In July, Berto tasted the canvas for the first time his career in the sixth round against Cosume Rivera.

A stunned Berto survived to win a 10-round unanimous decision.

In September, Berto, in a WBC/IBF 140-pound title elimination bout, stopped David Estrada in the 11th round of a grueling fight. Unlike the previous opponents that Berto has been able to knockout early in recent years; Estrada took Berto’s punches well and pushed him to the limit.

Berto’s youth, power, and speed eventually wore Estrada down, as the bout was topped at the 1:17 second mark. His next fight should be the most difficult of his career.

Trabant, 29, from Berlin, Germany, has a wealth of experience, having competed in 46 professional fights in a 13-year career. He’s a durable and well-conditioned professional who has never been knocked out.

If Berto can decisively outbox Trabant or knock him out,that would solidify Berto as a leading contender for a world title.