Mike Sloan – It was marketed as a contender for fight of the year. By the time the smoke cleared inside the Citizens Business Bank Arena in
Guerrero seized control of the contest early with a series of left hands that rocked Berto. Guerrero pressed the issue and pinned the stumbling Haitian-American against the ropes. From there he landed several more short left hooks to the head until Berto fell to his knees. It was late in an electrifying opening round, but already Berto was in serious peril. He climbed back to his feet but his head was foggy. Guerrero, sensing a surprising early knockout, rushed in to shut off Berto’s lights, but the former champ hung on.
Guerrero continued the attrition in the second. A left hook opened a gash above Berto’s right eye and, after being wobbled again, Andre hit the canvas for the second time. Again, Berto was rocked badly and it seemed unfathomable that he’d be able to stave off defeat. His right eye was a bloody mess and quickly swelling and to make matters worse, Guerrero was all over him.
Somehow Berto managed to keep Guerrero from ending the fight by doing what he does best: fighting. After he cleared his head, Berto fired off a few right hands to keep Guerrero honest. Still, he was trailing badly on the scorecards after suffering two straight 10-8 rounds.
Berto fought himself back into the fight for the next few rounds, but Guerrero was still the far busier man. He forced his opponent into the ropes almost at will, making Berto fight almost exclusively off his back. However, even with his right eye closing fast, Berto seemed to welcome the challenge and eventually began cracking his opponent with short right hands and slick combos.
As the fight wore on, Berto became more active and, more importantly, much more accurate. Guerrero was still throwing almost double the punches of Berto, but the
Late in the sixth, Berto rallied when he stunned Guerrero with a right hand, forcing the popular Californian to stumble forward. It seemed as though Berto had the tides shift entirely in his favor, but he failed to capitalize on the now-wobbly Guerrero.
The success was short-lived because Guerrero responded in the seventh with a wicked left hand, followed by a three-punch combo. The flurry again rocked Berto, who was now fighting with only his left eye. His right was completely closed, but his left was swelling more and more. Guerrero’s eyes weren’t that much better as his right eye swelling shut as well. The two welterweights tore into each other from start to finish; both took as good as they gave and by the time the frame was over, it was easily one of the best of the entire year.
Guerrero’s relentless pressure continued for the next few rounds, and even though Berto hung tough and retaliated every step of the way, “The Ghost” was just a step ahead of him every time. He landed for more shots than Berto and with the two knockdowns, it was clear as to whom the victor was at the end of the fight. The three ringside judges all agreed that Guerrero won the fight with a score of 116-110, as did ThePrizeWriter.
After the fight, Guerrero (31-1-1, 18
Photo courtesy of Raymond Spencer