Andre Berto in many ways was the prototype of Al Haymon’s champion-building formula. He was brought up with a lot of pomp, matched incredibly poorly thanks to the generosity of the WBC to the point where he won a title and upon losing his toughest fight to date, he’s spiraled into a late-career tailspin in where that popularity and name recognition has kept him up.
That is the exact opposite of Porter, who has had to grind his way through the rankings in near-obscurity at times to earn his place as a top fighter. Even so, Porter continues to get shafted and dismissed making every fight a critical one. There is no name recognition, glitz or glamour that will keep him afloat even as his career starts to go under.
It’s the silver spoon kid vs.the junkyard dog in what might as well be a loser leaves town match in the Welterweight division, and that always makes for good stuff.
It’s hard to gauge where Berto stands in the Welterweight division, being that he is 4-4 in his last eight fights and outside of Floyd Mayweather, those opponents had a lot in common with Porter. Guys like Robert Guerrero, Jesus Soto Karass and Victor Ortiz walked Berto down and took his shots and drowned him once they got to deep waters.
Though Berto is not built for extended engagements, he still is athletic and very strong in his own right to give Porter trouble. Berto’s speed will be critical in his survival; Porter’s hard charging offense should give Berto opportunities to land those explosive shots coming in. If Adrien Broner could drop Porter with a quick potshot, Berto can too and with much more authority.
Of course, Berto banking on landing one big shot each round means he’s going to have to weather Porter’s storm to do it. For every moment Berto does nothing, Porter will be jabbing his way inside to mug him and bully him all over the ring. Porter’s wild offense may be at times counterproductive, but Berto isn’t defensively disciplined enough to discourage Porter from changing his game plan.
While Porter does have the tendency to smother his own offense at times, Berto’s speed and punching power may make him a bit more cautious where he’ll be more fluid with his offense while trying to time and bypass said speed. Once Porter does have you hurt, he does not let you off the hook without ensuring you stay that way.
This could be a very entertaining fight, especially with both fighters ultimately having the propensity to fight it out when things start to get rough, but outside of an early knockout or a series of unfortunate events, it is hard to see Berto pull this one off. Porter is simply too strong, too physical and extremely confident in his aggressive approach to where Berto will have any sustained amount of confidence.
Once Porter takes Berto’s best shot, which by no means will be more than everything he took for Keith Thurman last year, he’s going to make it a phonebooth fight and grind Berto down. The call here is that Porter takes the heat early, but takes over the bout not too long afterwards before lowering the boom and knocking out an exhausted Berto in 11.