Berto faces Urango Saturday on HBO

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 29, 2009

WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto makes the third defense of his title against IBF jujnior welterweight champiokn Juan Urango on HBO Boxing After Dark. The co-feature will be a war between upcoming Alfredo Angulo vs. former two-time welterweight champiion Kermit Cintron. Photo Credit: DiBella Entertainment/Warriors Boxing

WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto makes the third defense of his title against IBF jujnior welterweight champiokn Juan Urango on HBO Boxing After Dark. The co-feature will be a war between upcoming Alfredo Angulo vs. former two-time welterweight champiion Kermit Cintron. Photo Credit: DiBella Entertainment/Warriors Boxing

NEW YORK– It’s always fun watching an unbeaten prospect with a celebrated amateur background develop into a world champion. The same can be said of WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto, once regarded as boxing’s top prospect.

No longer an upcoming prospect, Berto, a 25 year-old from Florida, has proven to be a fighting champion. Berto’s title defense against Colombia’s Juan Urango will mark his fourth world title fight in less than two years.

Its champion vs. champion, as Berto (24-0, 19 KOs) squares off against Urango (21-1-1, 16 KOs), the IBF junior welterweight titlist whose title is not on the line. The bout will be the headline attraction of HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” telecast at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET

Berto is a fighting machine. He’s strong, he’s fast, and punches with means intentions. Berto can blow his opponents away, as we’ve seen in fights against Miguel Angel Rodriguez, David Estrada, and Noberto Bravo. However, in title defenses against Steve Forbes and Luis Collazo, Berto has proven that he has what it takes to grind out a victory in a hotly contested battle through twelve rounds.

Berto has never lost since the start of his professional career in December 2004. All of the pressure is on him to perform well and emerge victorious. Urango, regardless if he wins or loses, will remain the 140-pound champion and will drop back to a loaded junior welterweight class that includes: Nate Campbell, Timothy Bradley, Zab Judah, Lamont and Anthony Peterson, Victor Ortiz, Kendall Holt amongst others.

Berto-Urango is an action fight, but I don’t think Urango can hurt the younger 140-pound champion. Berto isn’t going to blow past Urango either. In fact, Berto may have to rely on his boxing skills the way he has done in previous fights.

Angulo vs. Cintron in the co-feature

In addition to Berto-Urango, the “Boxing After Dark” co-featured attraction matches prospect Alfredo Angulo (15-0, 12 KOs) vs. former two-time welterweight champion Kermit Cintron (30-2-1, 27 KOs). The bout is scheduled for twelve rounds.

The jury is still out on Angulo, even though HBO appears to really like the fact that he comes forward and applies lots of pressure. In fact, Angulo has stopped his last eleven opponents dating back to July 2006. Angulo will undoubtedly face the toughest and most seasoned opponent of his career in Cintron, who was once regarded as a top world welterweight champion.

Cintron has been labeled a quitter in each of his two knockout losses to Antonio Margarito. In his previous outing, it appears as though Cintron was knocked out by Sergio Martinez, but the bout was restarted. That gave Cintron new life and fought his way toward a 12-round majority draw to the dismay of many.

Both Angulo and Cintron carry explosive power into this fight. This bout isn’t guaranteed to go the distance. Cintron can box and punch. The big question is how well will Cintron be able to perform under pressure? Expect Angulo to apply relentless pressure until the final bell.

Valuev vs. Chagaev II

Also on Saturday, the question of who truly is the WBA heavyweight champion will finally be resolved when “champion in recess” Ruslan Chagaev (25-0, 17 KOs) attempts to defeat the 7-foot-3, 320-pound “interim champion” Nikolai Valuev (50-1, 34 KOs) once again. The bout will mark the first heavyweight title fight in Helsinki, Finland.

In their first encounter in April 2006, Chagaev handed Valuev his only professional loss. Chagaev successfully out-boxed Valuev through twelve rounds to win a majority decision: 117-111, 115-113, and 114-114.

Chagaev has fought only twice in the three years since their first fight because 1) he was diagnosed with having Hepititus B, and 2) ruptured his Achilles tendon.

Chagaev looked unimpressive in an optional defense against Matt Skelton (W 12) in January 2008. In his last outing against an unknown Carl Davis Drummond in February, Chagaev was awarded a technical decision after six rounds following an accidental head butt that left a laceration.

Since losing to Chagaev, Valuev has fought four times and also has not impressed. He became the WBA No. 1 contender by out-boxing an inactive Sergui Liakhovich in February 2008. Valuev outpointed John Ruiz in a controversial decision to win the “interim” WBA heavyweight crown in August 2008.

In the first defense of his second reign as a WBA “co-champion” in December 2008, many believe that a past-prime, 44 year-old Evander Holyfield was robbed of a decision win against a plodding and non-aggressive Valuev.

Either Chagaev or Valuev are coming off impressive wins, but people are expected to tune-in and watch. Why? Both fighters are “co-champions” of the WBA heavyweight crown and are part of the European grasp of the world heavyweight championship.

Wladimir Klitschko, the IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO champion, along with his brother WBC champion Vitali, are at the top of the heavyweight division. Since the WBA title is significant, perhaps the winner of the Chagaev-Valuev rematch can land a fight to challenge either Klitschko to further unify the heavyweight titles.

Tragedy strikes Tyson Family

Exodus Tyson, the four-year-old daughter of former Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson, died a day after suffering an injury while playing on a treadmill at home.

As a parent, my heart goes out to the Tyson family.

Tyson’s life has been made a public spectacle and a mockery for all to enjoy. He’s had lots of highs from becoming the youngest to win the heavyweight title to his three-year prison stint.

The loss of Exodus was horrific. Let’s hope that Mike can find the resolve and inner peace necessary to recover from such a tragic loss.