Former WBC welterweight champion, Andre Berto, comes up against a tough and experienced veteran in Mexican, Jesus Soto Karass, on July 27. This is the headline bout of the night at the AT&T center in San Antonio, Texas. The winner will claim the vacant NABF welterweight title, but potential lucrative title fights could arise for the winner in the near future.
Berto (28-2-0, 22 KO’s), comes from Winter Haven, Florida. He claimed the vacant WBC welterweight title in June 2008 after overpowering Mexican, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, over 7 rounds. He made a successful first defense of the title against the skillful and savvy, Steve Forbes, in September 2008, and went on to defend the title four more times. The 29-year-old beat Luis Collazo (UD 12), Juan Urango (UD 12), Carlos Quintana (TKO 8), and Freddy Hernandez (TKO 1).
Before he met ‘Vicious’ Victor Ortiz in April 2011, Berto was unbeaten in 27 fights and many people believed he could go on to acheive much more in the sport.
Berto-Ortiz was one hell of a fight. It was that good it was awarded fight of the year for 2011. Both men traded heavy leather throughout the contest. Ortiz had Berto down in the 1st, Berto had Ortiz down in the 2nd and both men hit the canvas once each in the 6th. Ortiz, though, was awarded the win via unanimous decision, claiming the WBC welterweight title from Berto.
Having lost the WBC title and his unbeaten record, Berto got back to winning ways in September 2011, by defeating tough Slovenian, Jan Zaveck, in 5 rounds. With that win, Berto claim the vacant IBF welterweight title. Berto then met, Robert Guerrero (after a 14-month layoff), that November, for the Interim WBC welterweight title. Guerrero set a ferocious pace throughout and had Berto down early in the 1st and 2nd rounds. Berto showed how much heart and desire he has (and not for the first time as a pro), as he stormed back in to the contest, getting off powerful shots of his own. Guerrero finished the stronger though. After 12 pulsating rounds, Guerrero was the victor on the scorecards. Berto was defeated for the second time as a pro.
Karass (27-8-3, 17 KO’s), was born in Mexico but now lives in California. The 30-year-old has established himself as a worthy challenger at welterweight. He is a rugged competitor and always gives his opponents plenty to think about. He does not back down from a fight. Karass has featured in some absorbing contests against some respected opponents throughout his career. In September 2012, Karass fought Marcos Maidana – a hard-hitting, relentless pressure fighter, for the vacant WBA International welterweight title. It was a bitter brawl that lasted 8 rounds. The contest witnessed points deductions, punches thrown after the bell, a knockdown and a dramatic late stoppage. Karass was game throughout but Maidana just had too much for him in the end, but, what it did show is that Karass is able to hold his own against one of the toughest men in the division.
Earlier this year, Karass upset the odds by defeating Selcuk Aydin on points via majority decision. He showed that he is not quite finished yet and should never be written off. Karass is the underdog again in this fight, but that only makes him more determined to win. Going into this contest with Berto, Karass has won three of his last four fights.
Berto comes in to this contest having not fought since November 2012, but he is still a heavy favourite to beat the Mexican. Karass is the more experienced fighter having boxed more rounds (271-161). He is a fearful, high-volume puncher and he will not back down if he comes under fire from Berto’s rapid assaults. Karass is also about an inch taller than Berto and has a short reach advantage. Berto, though, has advantages in speed and power (he is a lethal knockout artist when he’s in the mood, with a knockout ratio of just over 73%). Karass, though, is not feather-fisted and Berto (who has been down before), does not have the best defense. If he switches off for a moment, Karass is capable of sending him to the canvas.
Expect Karass to take the fight to Berto from the off, piling the pressure on and aiming to get Berto out of his comfort zone. Berto used the shoulder roll defense in his last fight against Robert Guerrero, but it backfired, so he may not approach this contest the same way.
As mentioned, Berto has the advantages so look for him to aim to set the tempo, work his jab and let his hands go when in range. Berto may well have a plan which could be to get Karass out of there early, so he may aim to work the body and soften Karass up and take him out. This may backfire though and it could become a tricky night for Berto.
This is what you call a must win fight for both men, especially if they have their sights set on a World title shot. A dream World title fight against P4P superstar, Floyd Mayweather Jr, could become reality for one of these fighters in 2014.
I am expecting Berto to win this fight. I have predicted him to win via TKO 5th round, but I believe this could be tougher than expected and would not be shocked to see this go the full 12 rounds.