Floyd Mayweather Jr. made it official Thursday, holding a press conference with Andre Berto to announce that Berto will indeed be the opponent on September 12, when the undefeated Mayweather steps into the squared circle for what he continues to insist will be the final time. And while the boxing world has reacted with a collective yawn at Mayweather’s seemingly uninspiring choice, there is at least one person who anticipates an exciting fight.
That person is Andre Berto.
The press reflected what appears to be the mood of the boxing public toward the Mayweather vs. Berto fight. The New York Times headlined its story, “Floyd Mayweather’s Choice of Andre Berto Excites Few.”
The Sports Illustrated headline was even more harsh, declaring, “Floyd Mayweather makes mockery of his own legacy by picking Andre Berto,” and the Turner Broadcasting-owned Bleacher Report site wrote, “Everybody Loses With the Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto Snoozer.”
But the 33-year-old Berto believes that he comes into the bout — the last one on Mayweather’s six-fight contract with the United States premium cable network Showtime — with one significant advantage: his ability to fight through hard times.
“I’ll fight until my last [arm] isn’t attached,” Berto told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. “They’ve seen me get knocked down to get up and fight harder. I’ve fought with a torn shoulder for 12 rounds. Would Floyd endure that kind of pain?”
In fairness to Mayweather, he has fought his entire career with chronically injured hands, which while hand injuries are common in boxing for obvious reasons, have caused Mayweather more problems than most boxers experience with their hands.
In fact, prior to his fight against Manny Pacquiao on May 2, the longtime Mayweather cornerman Rafael Garcia claimed that he used a mysterious “medicine from Mexico” to alleviate the pain in the 38-year-old’s hands.
But Berto believes that he brings other assets to the fight that could make the battle a thrilling one for fans who will be asked to shell out $74.95 for the Showtime pay-per-view broadcast — particularly his blinding hand and foot speed.
“Floyd hasn’t fought this kind of speed since Zab Judah. It’s an exciting fight, for sure,” Berto said. “I’ve got certain tools — speed, explosiveness — that other guys haven’t had. I’m very confident and will bring something to the table we haven’t seen. They can doubt it if they want, but I can tell you, you don’t want to miss it.”
Of course, speed and explosiveness were exactly the tools that Manny Pacquiao was supposed to bring into his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., as well. Whether Andre Berto will succeed where Pacquiao has failed appears improbable at best.
[Images: Kevork Djansezian/Al Bello/Getty Images]