Andre Berto Keeps WBC Welterweight Title With Clear Points Win Over Steve Forbes

Andre Bertoby James Slater - Last night in L.A, on the Mosley-Mayorga card, unbeaten defending WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto did just as most people felt he would do beforehand, and out-pointed the slick and experienced Steve Forbes. A stoppage would have been a helluva statement by the 25-year-old, but it was always going to be tough getting rid of "Two Pounds," a man who has never even been down before.

Sure enough, Berto, the bigger man and the natural 147-pounder, dominated and won a wide UD. The scores after 12 reasonably absorbing rounds were 118-109, 118-109 and 116-111. Berto, who was making the first defence of his world title, improved to 23-0(19), while the always competitive 31-year-old former super-featherweight world champ fell to 33-7(9).

Forbes enjoyed a very bright start. After being caught off balance and sent into the ropes in the opening round, the cute and quick-handed veteran had some success with his flashy hands. Catching the younger man in the 2nd round also, it looked like we might have an interesting fight on out hands. Appearing to be even quicker than the speedy Berto, as well as out-smarting him early, Forbes seemed as though he was on his way towards testing the new WBC champ like no one else.

However, after this good start, in which Berto was made to look thoughtful, the naturally smaller man's output faded. Simply not strong enough or powerful enough, Forbes was worn down by Berto's youth and aggression. "Two Pounds" was always there and he did find some somewhat worrying holes in Berto's defence, but after round 3 it was pretty much all the champion as he began to pull away big on the cards. An accidental head clash opened a cut by the side of the challenger's left eye in the 3rd, but due to good corner work the injury never became a big factor in the fight.

The fight was never thrilling, in most part due to the excessive holding being done by both men, but at the same the bout was never a stinker. Berto would unload with an eye-catching burst, then hold. While Forbes would let his hands go and counter well at times, before initiating a clinch of his own. This pattern carried on right until the final round. There was some good body work by Forbes, instructed to him by trainer Floyd Mayweather Senior, but the little guy had nowhere near enough pop in his gloves to slow the heavily muscled and well conditioned Berto.

Quite dramatically, Forbes landed with his best punch of the fight in the 11th round. A sharp right to the head steadied Berto and definitely had an effect on his legs, at least momentarily. Had it been a real banger who had cracked him with the flush shot it may have been a serious problem. Indeed, though he won widely on the cards and looked great in bursts as he pounded away at Forbes, Berto is still in need of further experience and perhaps a tighter defence to match his explosive offence.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the 25-year-old's stamina, as he was still fresh and unloading in the 12th and final round. Forbes, too, deserves credit for the way in which he hung tough to the very end. He said before the fight he didn't want merely to be a competitive loser, unfortunately for him he was just that.

It's hard to see where Forbes goes from here. While he is still a top class, slick and cute operator, he seems unable to beat any of the elite men at welterweight. As for Berto, though he is not quite the finished article yet, his future looks as bright as the way last night's fight began.

Article posted on 28.09.2008

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