Berto Begins His Climb Back into Contention Tonight

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andre-berto“I’m really happy with Andre’s commitment and the fact that he is willing to re-invent himself without compromising who he is,” stated Andre Berto’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, in the build up to his long-awaited comeback fight live from Cincinnati later today.

Berto will not be the headliner tonight, nor will he participate in the co-main event. Instead, he has been relegated to the bottom of the televised card as the network and promoters evaluate the long term potential of his future as a professional boxer.

Flash back to 2010, however, and most of us can agree that, as the year came to a close, few stars shone brighter than Berto’s. At the time, he was the WBC Welterweight champion boasting a record of 27-0 with 22 knockouts. He was on the fast track to a big-money fight against Floyd Mayweather and had an immense amount of support from both the fans and HBO.

Then came his fight against Victor Ortiz, his 6th defense of the green belt. It was a bout in which both fighters hit the canvas twice and the twelve action-packed rounds they shared became an instant classic. It was also a fight in which Berto took a lot of punishment and was criticized heavily for his vulnerability in the aftermath.

The fights that followed were no less entertaining, with Berto retiring the game Jan Zavek, going the distance with Robert Guerrero, and fighting ten rounds with just 50% of his arms working against Jesus Soto-Karass before eventually succumbing to the punishment in the last round.

Needless to say, a lot of questions remain about his future and we will be tuning in tonight to see if Berto’s recovery has been effective and whether or not it can help propel him back into the top ranks of the welterweight division.

Virgil Hunter is confident of his fighter’s ability to make a sound comeback. “He has the physicality, the speed, the power. It’s all there. It’s just a matter of him understanding how to use it and when to use it. I think he’ll be able to reach that status again because he has an upside, in my opinion. If we go about it right, till the soil right, so to speak, I think he’ll emerge as a force once again. He’ll be an educated force, as I said earlier, knowing exactly what to do and be competitive and dangerous against any opponent, be it the best or be it against anyone in the top 10. That’s what we’re reaching for.”