Berto vs. Urango: Beauty and the Beast

andre bertoBy Ted SaresI showed a lot of people my skills early in my career. But that fight [Collazo] I got to show my heart a little bit. Next fight after that I think I’ll probably just use my head a little bit more, and then try to be a bit smarter. Just try to become a complete fighter. --Andre Berto

The military is something where you need discipline. If you lack discipline, it's going to go bad for you, and that's something I learned. If you put the right amount of work in and stay disciplined, things come out right most of the time, and that applies to my boxing career now. --Juan Urango of his time the Colombian armed forces

Andre Berto is 24-0 with a very impressive 79.17 KO percentage which he demonstrated in frightening fashion against Miguel “Miki “ Rodriquez on June 21, 2008 in Memphis... It was Miki’s only stoppage loss (he is 29-3) and he has not fought since. However, his last two wins over Steve Forbes and Louis Collazo (both iron-chinned) have gone the 12-round distance.

On of many things I like about Berto is that he has been fighting increasingly better opposition. Andre is a high-activity fighter who throws fast and sharp combos, punishing body shots, rattling uppercuts, and a whistling right hand behind his stiff jab. But what drives all this (and his great power) is his dazzling hand speed. He also showed a warrior’s heart against Collazo in a fight that could have gone either way going into the last canto, but Andre did enough to take. Collazo bravely fought back and landed some rockers of his own as the two went toe-to-toe until the final bell. However, had Collazo more power, he might well have been able to put away the newly crowned champion on at least a couple of occasions. But all in all, it a was truly great fight and I had no issues with the decision.

And that’s a bit of the rub on Berto, his stamina sometimes betrays him as does his chin (the somewhat limited Cosme Rivera almost finished him in July 2007 when he decked and hurt him in the sixth). As for ring smarts, I give him a B+, which is not shabby at this stage of his career.

Against his next opponent, the very rugged Colombia bomber (are the any other kind) Juan Urango, most think his speed will carry the day. And for certain, he will be the solid favorite going in. Unlike the Collazo fight, this one will feature a stark clash of styles. The bout willl be at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida on May 30. At stake, the WBC welterweight title—and Sate of Florida bragging rights.


This humble and affable brawler (21-1-1) re-acquired the IBF junior welter title with a solid win over Herman “The Black Panther” Ngoudjo in January (in Montréal no less) and showed that he can handle a speedy opponents he simply walked though The Panther. However, in this one, he will be moving up in weight to 147 and if his vaunted punching power doesn’t come with him, he may find himself in big trouble.

Urango, nicknamed “Iron Twin,” fought decently against Ricky Hatton in 2007, but many will remember him for his spectacular near-decapitation of Carlos Wilfredo Vilches in an IBF title eliminator in 2008. That KO, by a thudding right hook, gave “scary” a new meaning. As well, his spirited draw with “Mighty Mike” Arnaoutis in 2004 involved 12 rounds of savage ebb and flow action that had the crowd up and roaring throughout. The Iron Twin is one of those fighters who seldom are in a dull fight.

While his Juan’s style has sometimes been compared to that of Mike Tyson’s, there are few mysteries or subtleties when it comes to his modus operandi. He comes straight at his opponents demonstrating great stamina, brute strength, and wide hooks that carry power in either hand. An if one connects flush, it can be lights out. Built like tank though shorter than Berto, he is a stalker and an excellent closer. If he should hurt and trap Berto on the ropes or in a corner, things could get dicey, but that’s a big “if.”

The X factor

Most Colombian fighters do very poorly after building up a great record in their home country and then fighting elsewhere. I have researched this at great length and the findings are astounding (of course, there are exceptions like Berrio and Prescott). Urango, however, doe not fit this mold. Yes, his first eight fights, all early KOs, were in Colombia, but then he fought and won four in Spain including points win over tough Armenian Leva Kirakosyan. He then settled in at the Seminole Hard Rock where he has gone 7-0-1. He fought Hatton in Las Vegas, silenced Nasser “The Silencer” Athumani in Atlantic City, and beat “Ngoujo in Montreal. Against Berto, he could be considered the home boxer even though Andre is from nearby Winter Haven.

At the end of the day, this one is a bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” scenario, and on paper, the slicker Beauty should win handily. But remember what happened in this year’ Kentucky Derby. And remember what almost happened to Lucian Bute against Librado Andrade.

Let’s get it on.

Article posted on 10.05.2009

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