Andre Berto faces Soto-Karass on SHOWTIME

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Updated: June 3, 2013

Andre Berto, a former WBC and IBF welterweight champion, plans to set the record straight by returning to the win column in his next fight. Headlining a “Knockout King II” extravaganza, Berto (28-2, 22 KOs) plans to punish Jesus Soto-Karass (27-8-3, 11 KOs) in the main event of a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing broadcast on Saturday, July 27, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX. SHOWTIME will televise a tripleheader featuring Keith Thurman and Omar Figureoa beginning at 9 PM/ET.

“I’m looking forward to this challenge on July 27,” Berto said. “I’ve been through some ups and downs.  I feel that I have made some of the right changes that I needed to get focused.”

Twice Berto allowed chances to fight Floyd Mayweather slip away. In 2011 at Foxwoods, Mayweather was at ringside to watch Berto defend his unbeaten record and WBC 147-pound title against a wounded Victor Ortiz. What was a terrific battle between two ferocious fighters, Berto was nearly KO’d and lost a decision to Ortiz.

Ortiz went to fight Mayweather and was KO’d in round four.

In Berto’s last bout, Robert Guerrero beat him badly. Both of Berto’s eyes were swollen shut, as he tasted the canvas as well. Guerrero won, via decision but lost to Mayweather on points last month.

“I let the big show get away from me twice, once against Victor Ortiz and once against Robert Guerrero.  I’m coming to San Antonio focused,” Berto added.

Throughout his career, Berto sliced through the competition by overpowering guys with his conditioning and combination punching. However, since his controversial 12-round win against Luis Collazo, Berto hasn’t been the same fighter. Berto’s limits as a fighter were exposed by guys that can box like Collazo, Ortiz, and Guerrero. Berto has struggled against guys that are good boxers and can be aggressive by simply punching Berto back. In recent fights, Berto is easily getting hit more and more. Berto has to focus more on breaking guys down by boxing intelligently and picking his spots.

“You can have all the power in the world, but if you don’t know technique or don’t have a strategy, then you’ve got nothing,” Berto stated. “I’ve made changes in my game plan and I’m going to fight smarter. Soto Karass is a good fighter.  I’ve seen his fights.  There’s nothing too spectacular about him, but he does have that tough Mexican fighting style.”

Karass is a very tough fighter, but he isn’t the most skilled. Karass understands that he has been brought into test Berto, but he isn’t expected to win since Berto is the bigger name and there are bigger fights ahead. However, Karass, who doesn’t take a back seat to anyone, is a professional and has always given a hard and honest performance.

Karass will seek to end Berto’s championship hopes, but understands the task ahead won’t be easy.   

“I have a great test ahead of me,” Karass said. “I have followed Andre Berto’s career very closely.  When he was a world champion, I was hoping I was going to get to fight him someday. I wasn’t ready for him then, but now that I got offered the fight, I know I’m ready. This is a very important fight for me and I know I’m ready.  I’m going to give it everything I’ve got to prove all of the doubters wrong.”

Karass is hoping for the performance of a lifetime against one of the biggest names in the welterweight class. Berto was once a HBO favorite, as his bouts would be televised through the years. No longer is he a world champion, Berto is desperately trying position himself as title contender once again. But so is Karass.

“I decided that this year is the year I’m going to become a world champion. “The name of this fight is ‘Knockout Kings II’ for a reason and I’m going to try to make sure it lives up to its name.”

Keith Thurman, Omar Figureoa both fight for ‘interim’ titles

 In addition to Berto vs. Karass, Golden Boy Promotions undefeated rising prospect Keith Thurman (20-0, 18 KOs) will challenge fellow unbeaten Diego Chaves (22-0, 18 KOs) for the interim WBA welterweight title.

As an amateur, Thurman won 101 fights that included 6 national amateur titles. Since his professional debut, in 2007, the Clearwater, FL native has knocked out his first 8 opponents in the first round. Thurman has 18 knockouts in 20 fights. However, in his previous bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 6, Thurman fought former IBF welterweight titlist Jan Zavek for twelve rounds.

“I don’t know if there is another fighter out there that’s hungrier than me,” Thurman said. “They’ve been feeding me, but I’m still starving   I have a long time left in this game and I don’t know when I’m going to get enough of it. I’m looking forward to this fight.  My opponent is a young hungry fighter with a record of 22 and 0 with 18 knockouts and I am 20 and 0 with 18 knockouts.  You know this is going to be a fight.”

Also, Omar Figueroa, hot rising prospect from Texas will be on the card as well. 

“This fight is called ‘Knockout Kings II’ for a reason,” Figueroa said. “I always go out there looking for the knockout.  This is a great fight card for the fans.  This is what boxing needs. It especially means a lot for my home state of Texas.  This is perfect for me.  All of my friends, family and fans can come up and see me fight.”

Figueroa (21-0-1, 17 KOs) will be fighting for the interim WBC lightweight title against Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16 KOs)

“I’m at a loss for words when I think about fighting for my first world title here in Texas,” Figueroa continued. “I pictured myself being in this position because as a fighter, you have to see it in order to achieve it.  This is what we’ve wanted and what we’ve been working so hard for.”

An excited Figureoa added: “July 27, you’ll see fireworks in the ring.San Antonio is the perfect place for a card like this.  I can’t describe what it was like being at the Canelo vs. Trout fight.  Hearing 40,000 people cheer was incredible.  I’m so grateful for this opportunity and proud to be a part of this fight card.”

Tickets priced at $200, $100, $50, $25 and $10, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, are on sale and will be available for purchase at the AT&T Center box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com and ATTCenter.com, all Ticketmaster locations, by calling (800) 745-3000.

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