As Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), said following his victory over Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KOs),: “A lot of people don’t know that I started my career at 122 pounds.” With that in mind, many writers, this site included, believed that as good a fighter Guerrero was at the featherweight and lightweight weight classes where he was champion of the world in each division, that the Gilroy, California, native wouldn’t be able to summon the same performances at welterweight. Well for those of us who echoed those sentiments heading into this past Saturday’s WBC Interim Welterweight championship showdown, allow us to insert our foots into our mouths. Roberto Guerrero smashed away those sentiments as badly as he smashed a tremendously game Andre Berto’s face.
Coming into the bout, Guerrero was the supposed smaller man, and puncher. Those predisposed opinions left some ringside experts shocked to see Guerrero put Berto down not once, but twice, in the two opening stanzas. That set the tone for the rest of the night, and for the folks that had placed money on Andre Berto that night, they soon knew they had turned in a bad investment. Although he is “The Ghost” Guerrero was easily visible to Andre Berto. As he not only stood in front of his larger adversary, he even bullied and mauled Berto onto the ropes. Guerrero Pounded away at Berto’s ribcage, and took Andre Berto’s uppercuts the way Marvin Hagler ate Thomas Hearns’ best shots in their legendary showdown. Guerrero also fought with the same hunger, passion, and intensity that Hagler had fought with that night against Hearns in 1985. Guerrero wanted it more, and his outside of the ring tribulations make him one of the sports’ hungriest elite fighters.
It wasn’t until the second half of the fight that Andre Berto began to make this fight a barn-burner. Up until then, it was all Guerrero. When Berto did begin to let his hands go more, and fight on the inside rather than just being mauled, he had success. The problem was, as mentioned before, no matter what the hard-hitting, athletically gifted Berto hit Guerrero with, he could never quite sway the momentum of the fight. Robert Guerrero would not allow it. Each time Berto landed a shot that left spectators wincing for Guerrero, Guerrero immediately returned fire in bunches. Never allowing the crowd on hand, nor Berto himself believe for a second that Berto’s punches were going to affect the inevitable: A scintillating performance by a fighter that is no longer in the category of good, or very good, but elite.
To Andre Berto’s credit, the Winter Haven, Florida, native gave his all, and indeed had his moments. This is not the last we have seen of Andre Berto. The man of the hour though, that night in Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, California, was without a doubt Robert Guerrero. Robert Guerrero should no longer have to plead his case to fight the very top fighters in the world. His fists have provided an argument that cannot be denied.