By Lee Payton
Photo © Marty Rosengarten / Ringsidephotos.com
Welterweight contender, Andre Berto, won a unanimous decision over tough Juan Urango last night with superior speed, movement and some other less than stirring tactics that sucked much of the drama out of what looked to be a fun match-up.
He won, but compared to his last fight against another southpaw, Luis Collazo, it was a dull 12 rounds.
Despite all of his advantages, Berto seemed content to lay back, explode with a right hand and then fall into a clinch for most of the evening. When referee Tommy Kimmons let him know he was going to take a point for excessive holding, he chose to run around and pot-shot. He won, and that's about it.
We've seen Berto as a speedy offensive force, a gutty warrior, an inside counterpuncher, and now we know he can stink it up if wants to. So what kind of fighter is he exactly?
To me, it's all about his blinding speed. Without it, he becomes merely a solid contender who could never threaten the top level. Solid in most departments, special in none.
They say "speed kills". Well, in Berto's case "speed spoils" is probably more accurate. He's not the type of fighter who will use his quickness to overwhelm top opposition, but he does know how to keep the other guy from having things his way most of the time.
Maybe that's enough, for now, but what happens when he steps up?
The guys on top at 147 aren't exactly tortoises. As it stands, you pretty much have to favour the elite of the division over Berto, though I feel like his natural athleticism would make all those proven hands less than comfortable.
Based purely on styles, perhaps his best chance would be against Miguel Cotto. He has a significant edge in quickness, especially in the feet, and he can counter on the inside with some dangerous looking stuff, including a right uppercut that would likely find it's way to the Puerto Rican's jaw. Of course, Cotto can change things with a few well-placed whacks to the ribs.
I can see why this most recent performance could turn fans off. Yeah, the fight was a total bore, and maybe he's been a little over-hyped, but the kid has a few things going for him and there's no way fans should give up on him just yet.
He was in with a really tough, dangerous guy, who just keeps on coming. It's not the first time Urango has convinced a more celebrated fighter to just get the 'W' and move on. A prime Ricky Hatton also decided to take the safe route once he realized Urango wasn't going anywhere. It should also be pointed out that he was following his trainer's instructions, which is what the fighter is supposed to do.
Perhaps the war with Collazo raised some impossible expectations. I don't know how many more pier 6 brawls he wants to be in. Actually, you may recall that after a few rounds, a point was deducted from Berto for holding. From there, he was basically forced to fight. Perhaps referee Keith Hughes deserves much of the credit for what turned into a great fight. I wish Tommy Kimmons had done the same, as it may have brought out the best in the young man, rather than the cautious fighter we saw.
I still remember how deep he dug in the final round of the Collazo fight. You can't fake guts. It seems like we learn something new about him every time out. I'll be watching to see what he does next.
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Sunday, May 31, 2009
By Lee Payton