Who Next For Andre Berto?

By James Slater: Andre Berto was able to rebound from his sole pro defeat and pick up a major title this past weekend, as he hammered out an exciting 5th-round retirement win over a badly busted up Jan Zaveck. The winning performance he put on in coming back from his upset loss to Victor Ortiz showed how Berto remains a fighter who is there to be hit.

No defensive genius by any means, Berto once again had to suck it up at times. The somewhat leaky defence he has will not serve Berto well if he faces his mandatory challenger next. Former champ and all-round KO artist Randall Bailey took step aside money to allow Zaveck-Berto to happen, and the lethal hitter is now owed first shot at the new IBF welterweight ruler. But will this fight happen next?

Berto, his pride stung over the loss to “Vicious” Victor, has made it clear he wants to fight one man and one man only: the man who took his “O” back in that April FOTY candidate. But will Bailey agree to take step aside money for a second time? Maybe, if Ortiz does the unthinkable and beats Floyd Mayweather on September 17th and then agrees to a rematch with Berto, Andre would be willing to give up his IBF belt in order to go for the big one - a shot at redemption in a rematch that would come against the first man to have ever beaten “Money” Mayweather. And who could blame him?

But where would this leave the deserving Bailey? In all likelihood, Ortiz will lose in a game effort against Mayweather, and Berto will look towards Bailey for the time being. Of course, Berto would not forget about Ortiz, even if he had lost badly to Mayweather, but he would likely have to wait some time to get his sought-after return; especially if Floyd gives the current WBC welterweight champ the ass-kicking he says he will.

Berto should pay his debt to Bailey and, if he wins that fight, then look towards a return with Ortiz. That’s how I see it playing out. Bailey, of course, could very well KO Berto - as it would possibly take just one of his blockbusters to connect on the IBF champ’s hittable chin to end matters. Such a result would likely ruin any chance Berto has of landing a return with Ortiz; whether he’s shocked the world and beaten Mayweather or not.

As good and as game as he is, I just can’t see Andre Berto having too long a reign as IBF welterweight champ - can you?

Article posted on 06.09.2011

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