Now that former two-time welterweight titlist Andre Berto has hired a new trainer — 2011 trainer of the year Virgil Hunter, will we see a change in Berto? Berto’s first fight with Hunter will come July 27 in the main event of a Showtime-televised card at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Berto (28-2, 22 KOs) will face battle-tested veteran Jesus Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs).
This is sink or swim for Berto, a loss against Karass can set him back very far but because most of his fights are entertaining, we may still see him on our television screens. “I’ve been through some ups and downs. I feel that I have made some of the right changes that I needed to get focused,” said Berto.
Berto has had opportunities to show his worth and come up short once a highly regarded welterweight and having his name mentioned with the top of that division with likes of Mayweather and Pacquiao, Berto was on the verge of a mega fight, assuming he got passed Victor Ortiz. That fight ended up being a classic that will be forever remembered both men making good accounts of them self but Ortiz getting the win moving on to bigger and better things. “I let the big show get away from me twice, once against Victor Ortiz and once against Robert Guerrero. I’m coming to San Antonio focused,” explained Berto.
Berto shot up the ranks as a prospect and contender blasting limited opposition on the air of HBO. We first seen Berto struggle against Luis Collazo which became his first real test and a fight fans always wanted a rematch of. It was also the first time we seen the young champion pushed to the limits and show signs of fatigue, something that has haunted Berto after stepping up to the top tier of his division. Never the less, Berto has attributes that separate him from his competition speed and knockout power many have fallen victim to his punching power, Karass is durable and can take a shot. “You can have all the power in the world, but if you don’t know technique or don’t have a strategy, then you’ve got nothing. I’ve made changes in my game plan and I’m going to fight smarter,” expressed Berto.
Fighting smarter is something Hunter is good at implementing into his fighters, he’s slowly rebuilding Amir Khan, Brandon Gonzalez stepped up a few weeks ago and deserved the win, and Angulo had a great back and forth fight against Lara ultimately quitting due to the hematoma of his eye.
Karass has breathed new life into his career by adding strength and conditioning coaches to his regimen and continuing his fan friendly fighting style. Karass at one point felt it was a struggle to make the welterweight limit but after not having success at Jr. middleweight came back to the land of the welterweights and has prove to still be a viable challenge for anyone. “Soto Karass is a good fighter. I’ve seen his fights. There’s nothing too spectacular about him, but he does have that tough Mexican fighting style,” said Berto.
This fight is important to both but for Berto there’s rumors of a possible clash with the Sheffield welterweight Kell Brook who has a September 21 Sheffield Arena date against an unnamed opponent (Robert Guerrero, Shane Mosley, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Andre Berto, Randall Bailey and Marcos Maidana have all been mooted) between him and the much-postponed-through-injury IBF title tilt against Devon Alexander.