“A good big man always beats a good little man.” Such is one of the old adages in boxing. This Saturday night in Ontario, California, a question will be posed to both Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs), Robert Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs), and onlookers alike: “Is Robert Guerrero a very good, or great little man, going up against a good big man in Andre Berto?” There is no doubt about it, this match up is damn intriguing, and either 29 year old fighter having their hand raised after the final bell wouldn’t shock anybody.
The stakes are the same for both men. Guerrero, a Gilroy, California native, and former three division world champion, has been clamoring for respect in the welterweight division, as well as an opportunity against one of the division’s stars, most notably Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. It was 21 pounds ago when Guerrero first became a world champion, thus the skeptical outlook on his campaign at 147 pounds. The last time Guerrero held a world title in a division, it was lightweight, 12 pounds south of the welterweight weight limit. With a victory over Andre Berto, Guerrero vastly increases his credibility as not just a good fighter pound-for-pound, but a serious force to be reckoned with in the welterweight division. If Guerrero comes up short, he’ll have to move back down to the lower divisions and miss out on the bigger paychecks he has been longing for.
As for Andre Berto, the Mami, Florida, native, and former two time welterweight champion of the world has been trying to reclaim the momentum his career had up until his defeat at the hands of Victor Ortiz this past year, surrendering his WBC Welterweight championship. Until then, Berto was being discussed as an opponent for just about anyone, if not anyone from 147 to 154. Andre Berto needs this victory over Robert Guerrero. Guerrero is a highly regarded fighter by everyone within the sport, and even though Berto has a size advantage over Guerrero, a victory would vault him right back into the fray of big things.
As for the fight itself: There is no question about it, Robert Guerrero is the better technically sound fighter. However, are his advantages going to be significant as Berto’s advantages in size, strength, speed, power, and most importantly athleticism? For athleticism may sometimes make up for technical errors that shouldn’t be committed. Although Guerrero is the better technician, a mover and dancer like Willie Pep he is not. Guerrero will commit to his punches and find himself in exchanges, and although he’ll usually dominate the action, he’ll take some licks along the process. So, with that in mind it appears as though in all likelihood the better little man’s advantages won’t be enough to beat the good big man. Yes, it’s true, Andre Berto has been plagued by a history of stamina problems. However, Andre Berto knows if he fails to finally utilize his potential, then he may not be given many more opportunities. With that in mind, it’s probable that a vintage Andre Berto steps inside the squared circle Saturday night. It should be exciting no matter who the victor may be, and however long it may last, but Guerrero’s gutsy tendency to exchange may lead to his downfall against the explosive Berto.
BRB’s Prediction: Andre Berto, via stoppage.