The Interim WBC welterweight title is up for grabs Saturday, November 24, Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California when Robert Guerrero defends against former champ, Andre Berto. Guerrero has been making steady inroads on his way up in the boxing world while Berto has been on the way down after a hard loss of his title to the oft disparaged Victor Ortiz. Then Berto booted their lucrative rematch over a positive trace of nandrosterone in the prefight drug tests done by VADA.
Robert The Ghost Guerrero is a fine champion long relegated to the back pages of boxing due a myriad of problems beyond his control. However, when opportunity came knocking with a chance to secure Floyd Mayweather Jr‘s old WBC welterweight belt, The Ghost jumped all over it. Floyd Mayweather has been in his sights for a couple of years now with Guerrero making some prominent challenges, but he needed to step up 2 or 3 divisions to make the fight, so nobody took him seriously.
Guerrero means Warrior in Spanish, and War is what he waged against Selcuk Aydin, a bruising, brawling undefeated WBC Silver Belt holder from Turkey who always shows up to fight hard. Guerrero fought a tough, gritty fight to show he could step up 2 divisions to handle the strongest fighter he’s ever faced in his career. Mayweather may not be as strong as the young Turk, but he’s got boxing savvy oozing out of his pores and is a tough nut to crack, and tougher to get into the ring, only fighting once a year, so it may take a ghost to track a ghost down, we’ll see.
Enter Mayweather stablemate, Andre Berto, who has taken a different tact from Guerrero. After shoeshining his way up the rankings to become Mayweather’s old WBC #1 challenger, he won the vacated belt in the cushy way too many modern fighters go about it, that of fighting a set up against a fighter who shouldn’t even be ranked.
Berto was disgraced when he tested positive, a real shame since he scored a TKO on cuts over IBF beltholder, Jan Zaveck to set up the lucrative Ortiz rematch, all blown to smithereens now. Redemption will have to come about the hard way, a classy win over the ascending Guerrero who will be the best fighter Berto has ever faced. He can thank the much beleaguered California commission for giving him a license after his failed drug test. Golden Boy is Cali based, and you know how that works.
Andre Berto’s strengths are a left jab, good conditioning, and some heart he showed against Luis Collazo and Victor Ortiz after he was knocked down. It could also be said he’s the naturally bigger man and easy to hit.
Guerrero looks to be the hungrier fighter with more to prove to himself. He should be the better overall boxer and has more experience. He’s also shown plenty enough grit and heart when needed, so on paper, this is a pretty even match, but Berto will also be the best welter he ever faced, a prime boxer type with some hand speed compared to the brawling, looping Aydin.
I like Guerrero to outbox and outslug Berto when needed. He’s a smart boxing southpaw going against the record of Berto against top boxing type southpaws; a knockout of Carlos Quintana, a disputed win over Luis Collazo who knocked him down, and a hard loss to Victor Ortiz where Berto tasted the canvas again.
I see a fight going the distance since neither is a big puncher at the weight. I only hope the judges can score a bout as well as the fighters are gonna fight it, likely a highly competitive fight fought at a higher level than the typical boxing judges could ever be counted on.
Beating Berto would be another line drawn in the sand for Guerrero who might be seeing the end of his career coming and is pulling out all the stops trying to make a megafight, but talk is cheap and the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.
Soon enough it will be one fighter mano a mano against the other fighter, and with luck the ref will stay clear and let them decide who it’s gonna be.