By Professor Fred Whitted NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — The title above...
Golden Boy Presents Knockout Kings II: Berto vs. Karass
Former two-time welterweight champion Andre Berto is on a mission to prove that his best days as a fighter are before him and that he is still a relevant piece in the welterweight title picture. On Saturday, July 27, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX, Berto(28-2, 22 KOs) will face Jesus Soto-Karass (26-7-3, 17 KOs) in the main event of a ‘Knockout Kings II” extravaganza presented by Golden Boy Promotions and SHOWTIME Championship Boxing beginning at 9PM/ET.
Berto was on top of the world and had HBO executives at the palm of his hand when he was an undefeated WBC welterweight champion. In April 2011, he was one victory away from securing a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather who was at ringside to watch Berto defend his title against Victor Ortiz. In what was a sensational battle between two of boxing’s youngest and aspiring stars, it was Ortiz who walked away with the biggest victory of his life. It was Ortiz, not Berto, who defended the WBC 147-pound title against Mayweather later that fall.
Berto did reclaim another piece of the welterweight title by stopping Jan Zavek for the IBF crown, but Berto wasn’t the same. In his recent bout against Robert Guerrero, Berto struggled against a fighter moving up two weight classes from 135. Guerrero dropped Berto and caused his eyes to swell shut. Again, another fighter that beat Berto managed to secure a WBC title showdown with Floyd. Guerrero was outboxed by Mayweather earlier this year.
Berto isn’t crying over lost titles and squandered opportunities. Berto simply is trying to do his best to reposition himself back into a mix of great fights that can be made at 147.
“At the end of the day, man, we’re all fighters,” Berto said. “Do you know what I mean? We go through our ups and downs, but the place where I’m at now is a great place. At the top of the year, I’ve already done made the changes that I needed to make and now I’m at a place that I’ve been in a very long time all the way around. So, I guess I’m just ready to get back to work and really go in and handle business like I know how to do.”
Throughout his career, Berto has always been an exciting fighter. Berto likes to uses his boxing skills to set-up an aggressive onslaught of vicious punches that would make most fighters cringe. But Berto has struggled in recent years and many people point to the fight he had with Luis Collazo as a turning point. A lot of people felt Collazo beat Berto in that fight and that Berto will struggle with fighters that he can’t blast within five rounds.
Soto-Karass is the type of fighter that will push Berto to the limit to see just how much the 29-year-old Haitian has left in the tank. The 31 year-old Mexican has been in the ring with a lot of second-tier opposition that include Mike Jones, Gabriel Rosado, and Alfonso Gomez. Karass is coming off a 10-round decision against hard-hitting Selcuk Aydin earlier this year. He has a lot of experience and is expected to give Berto a tough fight, but Karass is not coming into this fight to pad Berto’s record. Karass is coming into this fight because, he still have dreams of becoming a world champion and is desperate for a career-best, signature win.
“I have to win,” Karass said. “I know Berto wants to become a world champion again. I also want to be a world champion. That’s what I’ve been waiting for my entire career, all my life and a victory here is going to possibly get the winner into position for a world title.”
Karass is expecting the best Andre Berto the world has ever seen. Berto doesn’t care that Karass brings to the table. It doesn’t matter to Berto because, he’ll be ready.
“It doesn’t matter,” Berto said. “I just have to bring that pressure and bring the fight, but I’m anticipating whatever. We’ve trained for that and if he wants to box, we can do that, that’s fine. We’re just trying to make sure we’ve covered all bases.”
In addition to Berto vs. Karass, the SHOWTIME televised card will also feature undefeated rising star Omar Figueroa, Jr. , a Texas hometown favorite, challenging Tokyo’s Nihito Arakawa for the vacant interim WBC lightweight title. Also, Diego Chavez defends his interim WBA welterweight title against Keith Thurman in what should be a very explosive fight.
Tickets start at just $10 and can be purchased through www.ticketmaster.com or ATTCenter.com, or 800-745-3000.
Tony Thompson’s redemption
The heavyweight division has experienced some mild shakeups this year with more to come in the near future. African-American Tony Thompson, best recognized for his two knockout losses to unified IBF/WBA/WBO and IBO/RING Magazine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, shocked the world scoring two tremendous upset knockouts of 2008 Olympic gold medalist David Price in 2013.
At age 41, Thompson (38-3, 26 KOs), a southpaw from Washington, D.C., has spent years developing his craft as a tall 6’ 5,” 250-pound boxer. Thompson probably won’t ever become a heavyweight champion, at least as long as Klitschko is around, but he didn’t earn those two title fights against Wladimir for no reason. In the first fight in 2008, Thompson gave Klitschko all he could handle by stopping Klitschko’s left jab, cutting his face, and made the champion dig down deep before Thompson eventually broke down and was KO’d. Perhaps Price felt Thompson was easy pickings following his 2012 knockout loss in a rematch with Klitschko last summer.
Thompson had the professional record and the experience that would have made Price’s resume look grand after just 16 professional fights. Unfortunately, Thompson was unwilling to cooperate and now Price has two knockout losses. Thompson jumped on Price early in the first bout and stopped inside two rounds in February. Five months later, Price, under the guidance of former undisputed world heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis and manager Frank Maloney, was urged to fight Thompson in an immediate rematch. Price was confident. He gave Thompson all the props in the world. He said he was going back to the gym to work on his mistakes under Lewis’ guidance.
In the rematch, it appeared as though Price would earn his revenge, as he knocked Thompson down with a hard right hand to the head. However, Thompson refused to stay down. He didn’t want to believe that he was about to lose to a fighter that was a much less talented and explosive than Klitschko.
Thompson returned to his feet and slowly jabbed and pummeled his way back into the fight. Thompson cleverly engaged Price into a free-for-all, toe-to-toe brawl in which both fighters exchanged massive punches. Thompson staggered a rapidly tiring Price backwards before punishing him exhaustively into a corner to the disappointment of Lewis, Maloney, and the thousands of people that had supported Price throughout his developing career.
Thompson, the old man that many people thought was no longer a meaningful heavyweight contender, has rejuvenated his career by perhaps ending the once promising rise of Price, who was looked upon as the future of the heavyweight class for years to come. Thompson did a wonderful job of reminding everyone that anything can happen in boxing and that victory isn’t imminent.