By Ricardo Conde
In his last outing, undefeated WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (26-0, 20 KOs) defeated former WBO welterweight champion Carlos “El Indio” Quintana (27-3, 21 KOs) of Puerto Rico, via knockout in the eight round last month at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. We recently caught up with Andre Berto and asked him a few questions about his fight with Carlos Quintana, who he’d like to face in the near future and a lot more. Here’s what he had to say…
You were scheduled for a WBC/WBA welterweight unification bout in January against “Sugar” Shane Mosley (46-6, 39 KOs) but had to withdraw two weeks before the fight because of the tragic earthquake in Haiti and the loss of some family. Can you talk a little bit about that? What was going through your mind when you first learned about it, what was your reaction upon hearing about the earthquake, and about having to withdraw from the fight?
It was a very tough situation for me, I was basically preparing for the biggest fight of my life and then to have such tragedies happen and losing my family like I did, it was hard. I went through different emotional stages during that time. I was trying to stay focused for the fight and at the same time I was worried about my family that I lost and that’s all I could think about. Everyday it just kept getting harder and harder so we made a decision to cancel the fight so I can make a trip over there and try to do everything I could for my family.
Subsequently, Mosley ended up fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. (41-0, 25 KOs), give us your thoughts on the fight, was it what you expected?
Yes, and no, I mean Mosley definitely showed his age. He just couldn’t get off; he just couldn’t let his hands go. Floyd, he looked sharp, it was the best I’ve ever seen him, he stayed composed and very relaxed and he came out with the win, it was a good win for Floyd.
Any idea who you’ll be fighting next, when and where?
I’m not sure yet. I just got off the phone with my manager and it looks like I’ll be back in the fall, sometime in August or September maybe. They haven’t mentioned any names but I’m still in rehab for my bicep that I injured during my last fight so I’ll have to be 100% before we can make a decision on when I’ll be coming back.
Let’s talk a little bit about your last fight. In your last outing you were able to stop former WBO welterweight champion Carlos Quintana in the 8th round, what’s your opinion of him as a fighter?
Carlos Quintana is a tough fighter. He’s a tough southpaw and he’s showed that in the fight with Miguel Cotto, he showed that when he beat Paul Williams, and he’s definitely a tough veteran. He impressed me a lot but I came out victorious.
Before your fight with Carlos Quintana, you hadn’t fought for almost a year; do think having been out of the ring for so long had any affect on you during the fight?
Yes, definitely I felt some ring rust in there, with everything that was going on I couldn’t fight for a year but I still had to go in there and do what I do best and that’s winning. So I definitely paid a price there, I was battling two things in the fight, ring rust and it didn’t make things easier when I injured my bicep in the second round so it was just another obstacle I had to overcome.
You had injured your bicep during the fight, how’s the arm now?
It’s feeling better, a lot better. I’ve been in rehab so it’s getting better. The doctor said I couldn’t be in the gym for a few weeks so with rehab everything is coming along pretty well.
What kind of statement were you looking to make in your fight with Carlos Quintana, were you looking for the knockout?
Yea, definitely, with so much attention on the 147 pound division and going the distance in my last three fights, we worked on different things in the gym and I definitely wanted to make a statement in this fight with Carlos Quintana. I went into the fight with a lot more emotion and I really wanted to give the fans a great performance.
Who do you feel has been your toughest opponent to date and why?
I think my fights with David Estrada and Luis Collazo have been my toughest fights. With David Estrada, I felt like that was my first real test as a young fighter coming up, I would punch the guy and he would come back and punch me harder and I had to dig deep in that fight to come out with the win and I did. With Luis Collazo, I didn’t come in the best shape and he definitely pushed me to the limit in that fight but again we did what we do best and that’s winning.
What is your opinion on the current welterweight division?
It’s the best division in boxing right now. At the top of the division you have Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and these are guys I looked up to coming up and now to be up there with them in the same division, its great. It’s just so full of great competition.
Name one or two fighters you’d like to face in the near future?
Well, anyone at the top of the division. I’d love to fight Floyd, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto; a fight with any one of them would be great. Basically anyone in the top five of the division would be great.
Do you plan on moving up in weight any time soon?
Not right now, the weight has been coming pretty easy. No plans on moving up any time soon, I haven’t had any problems making weight, so no.
You are signed with Lou DiBella’s, DiBella Entertainment; tell us a little bit about him and how it has helped your career?
Louie has been great, he’s always believed in me and had faith in me from the beginning. He’s done a lot for my career and I know we made the right choice in teaming up.
What are some of your goals for the rest of 2010?
Well, I hope 2010 will be an interesting year for us. One goal of course is to stay healthy and hopefully I can give the fans the best fights.
Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?
Definitely, I really and truly appreciate everybody that’s shown me support here in the States and all over the world; I thank everyone for all the tremendous support. I look forward to putting on some great fights for the fans and make this the best year.