Boxing News

Q&A: Andre Berto

By Jeff Reiners
Photo: Gene Blevins – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy

Two-Time Welterweight World Champion Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) is eager to mix it up as he concludes preparation for his first bout in 14 months. Berto faces Four-Division titlist Robert Guerrero’s (30-1-1, 18 KOs) Saturday night on HBO. At stake is Guerrero’s WBC Interim Welterweight World Championship.

After a workout at the Westside Boxing Club in Los Angles, Berto spoke to about his signature punch, his NFL look-a-like and Emanuel Steward.

Everything going as planned in Los Angeles?

Yeah, yeah everything’s good.

Looking back a couple fights, a lot of boxing types will talk about how a war like the Ortiz fight will take something physically from a fighter. How do you recover and bounce back from a fight like that?

A fight like that was a dog fight. I just took a lot of rest, a lot of time off. You could see that it didn’t affect me at all the next fight after that. I got right back in there and grabbed another title. I’ve had a lot of time since the Ortiz fight so definitely had enough time to rest up.

Having watched you for several years now I notice the right uppercut every time I see you fight. Is the right uppercut a special punch for you and how will you use it against a southpaw?

That’s a punch I’ve always loved. I was a Mike Tyson fan growing up. In the pro’s you don’t see many people trying to execute it as much. It’s a punch I always loved as a young amateur and brought it to the pros. It’s almost become my staple punch. It’s going to be a good punch to use against a southpaw as well.

Regarding Guerrero, given that he’s moving up to welterweight, where you’re solid and that he’s a former featherweight champion, how much of an advantage is that going to be or will it even matter Saturday?

He’s had a good amount of time to settle in. He’s had a fight at 147, he fought a tough guy from Turkey (Selcuk Aydin). Guerrero doesn’t fight like me at all, but I think he’s had plenty of time to settle in at 147.

During your last fight, HBO compared your style favorably to Meldrick Taylor. Is that a fair comparison?

I get that a lot man, it’s just basically the fast hands and fast combination punching. (Taylor) was always one of my favorite fighters growing up as well. So you know, it’s a fair comparison.

I read a piece that you wrote for the New York Times a few years back where you wrote people always mistake you for Reggie Bush. When’s the last time that happened?

(Laughter) You know what, it was recently man. Probably like a month ago I was down in Miami and people swore I was him. I had to tell them sorry. (Laughter) That’s my man though, he’s a good guy.

I understand you sparred at Kronk before the 2004 Olympics, what was that experience like?

Yeah I spent some time up in Detroit with Emanuel. I’ve known Emanuel for years. He’s a good friend of mine. Ever since I heard the news I just couldn’t believe. I definitely reach out and extend my blessings to the family. This fight is going to be dedicated to Emanuel and his family.

Did Emanuel Steward have any special impact on your career?

Manny used to always call me “Mr. Excitement” or “Mr. Explosive.” He watched me in the amateurs. He saw me fight some classic amateur fights and I brought that style to the pros. Emanuel always called me that since the amateurs, saying I’m “Mr. Excitement” and “Mr. Explosive.” He definitely helped me with a few things.

Thanks for your time Andre. Good luck Saturday against Guerrero.

Appreciate it.

Photos below by Big Joe Miranda

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