Andre Berto(30-3, 23KO’s) claimed the interim WBA World welterweight title with a 6th round TKO win over Josesito Lopez(36-7, 19KO’s) in California last Friday night, and looks to be returning to some kind of form having lost two of his last three going into this fight.
He spoke to Fighthype.com directly following the win and ran through how he intended to begin in this fight given his opponents tendencies.
“I knew he was gon’ come out fast, I seen what he did to Maidana, so that’s one of the main reasons we[himself and his trainer Virgil Hunter] really worked on staying poised and staying calm and staying behind our defence. And if he came up and he won the first two rounds that’s fine, but we got twelve.”
An argument could be made for Lopez taking every round until the stoppage. He was far more active than Berto, even though, his attacks were wild; he was still landing. Surprisingly, Lopez was also manhandling Berto whenever they got into a clinch, flinging him into the ropes and hitting him on the blind side of the referee; just generally roughing him up.
Berto did stay composed, however. He looked to have disposed of that ineffective shoulder-roll defence exhibited in previous outings and instead opted to try and catch punches with his gloves or put up a high guard. He had varied success with this approach, and although he looked a bit more competent dealing with what Lopez was throwing his way, he was still taking too many punches. If Lopez weren’t so inaccurate, Berto would have taken a lot more.
One weapon he tried to consistently implement was his jab, and again he has successful in spots but there were flaws in his attempts. He throws it with a lot of speed, but he either leaves it hanging out there or lets it fall down to his waist a lot of the time, allowing Lopez to try and counter. It’s a good job he has such power because even with irregular success he still managed to mark Lopez up.
“I just kept trying to work that jab on him and round after round I see his face kept getting busted up. Virgil kept telling me; ‘stay calm, stay poised and keep breaking him down like you’re doing because we’re seeing him wilt.’”
That quote from Virgil was repeated several times throughout the interview like a mantra.
When the end came, it was quite surprising. Berto had pinned Lopez in the corner on several occasions through the fight and looked as if he was about to unload on him, only to stay at a distance before allowing himself to get wrapped up. He didn’t look willing to pull the trigger and used his right hand sparingly up until the fifth round. When he began to throw it, he began to land it, and it was a succession of straight rights that put Lopez down for the first time, three, in fact. Lopez got up and immediately went down again from a double jab followed by another right that didn’t appear to land cleanly. Regardless the ref waved a halt to the contest.
It is difficult to criticise the official here. Even if Lopez looked fine whilst protesting the stoppage he was evidently still hurt enough from the first knockdown to be floored again by a punch that appeared soft in comparison, though I’m sure it didn’t feel that way.
This was probably Berto’s best win in over five years. His imperfections are still glaring; he’s too easy to hit, he doesn’t cover ground very quickly, and he can be outworked. However, his power is very much still there too and it will continue to break him out of jail like it did here until he takes another step up in opposition, where he will need more than a right hand to get the job done.