Al Haymon in recent months has purchased a lot of air time on normal cable stations. Last week he had the premiere of Premiere Boxing Champions with Keith Thurman and Adrien Broner defeating Robert Guerrero and John Molina Jr respectively. This week will be the debut of boxing on Spike TV, live from Ontario, California. There will be a pair of welterweight fights as Andre Berto squares off against Josesito Lopez, and Shawn Porter will step into the ring against Erick Bone, both fights being 12 round, non-title bouts.
Andre Berto (29-3 with 22 KOs) is trying to avoid losing his 4th fight in his last 6 bouts. He was on the fast track to stardom, making millions per fight at a young age, and had a record of 27-0. Then after having the best fight of 2011 against Victor Ortiz, everything seemed to crumble for the proud Haitian. Berto did bounce back against Jan Zaveck his next bout, but then lost in upsets to both Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass. After injuring his shoulder against Soto Karass, Berto didn’t step back into the ring for 14 months, which was last September. He had an easy fight and now is stepping the level of competition up in hopes of proving that his career isn’t over.
While Berto seemed to be a rising star that crashed, Josesito Lopez was the exact opposite. Lopez (33-6 with 19 KOs) lives the true underdog story. He was always an okay boxer that fought hard, lacked big time power, and could beat the average or below average guys. Then, after a loss to Jessie Vargas, Lopez got his big “break”. In a fight he was losing to heavily favored Victor Ortiz; Lopez broke Ortiz jaw in the 9th round, which led to Ortiz quitting after the round. The win landed Lopez in 2 big fights and two big paychecks, against Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana. Despite losing both fights, Lopez had truly earned his nickname, “The Riverside Rocky”.
Berto wants to be a star but was everything given to him too soon? Lopez has as big of a heart as anyone, but does he have enough skill ever to contend with anyone of a significant level? This fight will test both of those questions. This is a coin flip type of fight that could easily go either way. I’ve counted out Lopez before, and he has shocked me, but I think we saw the real him vs. Maidana. I think he has too much heart to be stopped, but I think he loses this one on the cards. So my pick is Berto by decision.
In the other headliner on the card, Shawn Porter (24-1-1 with 15 KOs) tries to also get back to his championship form as he faces Erick Bone (16-1 with 8 KOs). This was originally scheduled to be Porter vs. Roberto Garcia, but with a last minute hospital trip, that was changed. Most people do not know about Bone, but he’s a young 26-year-old who fought most of his career at 140 and 147. He’s not a bad fighter and could cause some problems for Porter because of the unknown factor. I, however, do think that Porter is enough of a veteran to adjust and win this by late stoppage or a sizable unanimous decision.
For a Friday night, there isn’t much more talent on display than will be on stage with these two fighters. These guys are usually Saturday night main eventers on Showtime, but instead, a bigger viewing public will have the opportunity to see them on Spike TV. Hardcore fans are protective of the sport. They don’t usually take to kindly to casual fans, but trust me, more exposure of the sport, helps the sport overall. It leads to better coverage because of better competition, and more public pressure to have the fights we really want. It may not look like much now, but boxing is definitely going in the right direction, so just enjoy the fights.