Andre Berto-Steve Forbes - Can The WBC Welterweight Champion Become The first Man To Stop "2 Pounds?"

By James Slater: In yet another intriguing fight in a currently red hot welterweight division, newly crowned WBC champion Andre Berto makes defence number one this coming September 27th against former IBF super-featherweight ruler Steve Forbes. Boxing as the chief support to the Shane Mosley-Ricardo Mayorga match-up, Berto and Forbes will clash at The Staples Centre in Los Angeles. An interesting fight on paper, both the 24-year-old champion and his 31-year-old challenger have good boxing skills, if less than devastating punching power. The edge has to go to Berto in this department, however, and the question is, can Berto become the first man to stop the slick boxer known as "2 Pounds?"

There is little doubt Forbes is getting this big chance because of the way in which he handled himself in his recent fight against box office champion Oscar De La Hoya - still one of the most marketable fighters in the world even while at the tail end of his career. Never really hurt once in the May bout, Forbes' combination of savvy defensive moves and overall durability saw to it that he lasted the full twelve rounds. Not only that, but the former 130-pound champion landed enough blows of his own to both keep things interesting and to mark up "The Golden Boy's" face some.

A clear loser on points, Forbes' own marketability went up a notch. Hence the fight with Berto. Sure, some will say Forbes does not deserve such a big fight as the one he's getting with Berto, claiming that the new champion should be facing someone far more formidable and dangerous. But as a first defence, the match is a reasonable one for the 24-year-old. Should he win - and most people are sure he will - the big fights will come later. A KO win over Forbes would really be making a statement. Can Berto, 22-0(19) do it?

While he is way past his best at age 35, De La Hoya is still a fine fighter. He also hits harder than does Berto. But Oscar was unable to get rid of the gutsy Forbes, therefore it's fair to say Berto will find doing so equally as hard, if not more so. Though he has six losses on his record (33 wins, 9 inside), Forbes isn't really a guy who has taken a lot of punishment in his career, and as he proved in the De La Hoya "Homecoming" fight, he is still a fast, good looking boxer. I think this will be enough to see him to the final bell against Berto.

A win for Forbes would be a real shock, but so too (to a slightly lesser degree) would a KO loss for him. In a fast paced and lively encounter, I see Berto keeping his title via a reasonably close decision. Bottom line; if De La Hoya couldn't stop Forbes up at 150-pounds, Berto is unlikely to do so at 147.

Article posted on 05.08.2008

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