Friday, May 22, 2009

Berto vs Urango & Angulo vs Cintron Previews

Next Saturday, quick handed Andre Berto will be putting his undefeated mark on the line against junior welterweight strap holder Juan Urango, while up and coming junior-middleweight bruiser Alredo Angulo takes on big hitting Kermit Cintron.

Michael Nelson has the preview of the HBO double-header.

Photo © Marty Rosengarten /

Andre Berto's path to his WBC title was paved with scrupulous care. In 2009, starting with a fight of the year candidate against Luis Collazo in January, the paving had become rocky and the navigation system had long indicated that he was on his own.

He has reached uncharted territory; the section of a promising fighter's career where true champions emerge. He is now facing world class opposition that know his weaknesses and have the talent to exploit them.

Still, the physically gifted Berto will enter the ring May 30th as more than a 3-1 favorite over the hard-nosed Juan Urango.

It's easy to see why. Stepping up to the Welterweight division, Urango won't enjoy the same size and strength advantages he had over most of his opponents at 140 pounds. And while his sturdy punch has produced some spectacular knockouts, it hasn't resulted in stoppages over the best fighters he has faced. The most accomplished opponent in his career, Ricky Hatton, earned a lopsided decision over him. In fact, three other southpaws - Eamonn Magee, Luis Collazo, and of course Manny Pacquiao - had far better success in the ring against the British star.

But there's a devastating aspect to Urango's game that makes those odds a bit misleading. It's why Ricky Hatton felt threatened enough to invoke the punch-and-grab spirit of John Ruiz for much of the second half of their bout, and it's why Herman Ngoudjo (who was also favored over him) took several deep, pained breaths during their encounter earlier this year.

Juan Urango is a crushing body puncher. And, well, Berto isn't fond of receiving body punches.

Andre looked worn in the late rounds against Collazo, a side product of Collazo's dedicated body work throughout. He had to dig deep to gut out the last round in an effort that won him a host of converts. Moreover, while the final stretch against Cosme Rivera a year and a half earlier was kinder to Berto, he spent the closing minute of the fight with his arms at his waist, smarting from a left hook to the liver. A series of uppercuts landing solidly against Rivera's bloodied mask made sure his discomfort went unnoticed by many observers. But make no mistake, he was hurt.

Urango's a far more resolute body puncher than either of those men. You have to wonder how Berto's going to fare in rounds six, seven, and eight if Urango's still in his face slamming right hooks into his rib cage.

Juan will likely have to eat a healthy diet of uppercuts to get a taste of Berto's ribs though. Andre shoots punches from underneath quickly and violently, jolting an opponent that gets too comfortable on the inside. How Urango fares in the early rounds against those uppercuts and the significant hand and foot speed disadvantage he'll find himself with may tell the story of the fight. Barring an early KO or knockdowns, he'll have to drop rounds in the first half of the fight against his more explosive foe. Fatigue and body punishment should start to slow Berto in the middle rounds, and Urango will have his best opportunity to snatch a hold of the fight thereafter.

Regardless, Berto will no doubt have his fill of tough southpaws after May 30th.

On the undercard, rugged KO artist Alfredo Angulo - who sports a dog collar into the ring - appears to have an easier assignment. His opponent Kermit Cintron lacks the durability and the unwavering focus of a Juan Urango, having been blown out twice by Antonio Margarito (who many have deemed to be a smaller, more accomplished version of Angulo) and essentially knocked out by southpaw cutie Sergio Gabriel Martinez in his last outing. The beneficiary of a very charitable count, Cintron came away from the latter with a disputed draw.

Meanwhile, Angulo is much like Urango; slow, but strong, with staunch punching power and a tenacious body attack. His last 11 opponents have folded under the duress of his pressure within the distance.

Cintron can hang his hat on the fact that he's no slouch when it comes to punching power himself. Boasting a 90% KO ratio, Kermit had an explosive right hand as a Welterweight. Whether he carries enough of that that power to Jr. Middleweight to stop a bull like Angulo is questionable, but he'll have his opportunities to make his right hand felt.

Otherwise, you don't have to wear a dog collar to sniff out a early to mid-rounds knockout victory for Alfredo.

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