by Jeff Meyers: Saturday night, November 24, 2012, Robert Guerrero defeated Andre Berto in a welterweight slugfest that displayed all that is wonderful about boxing. The two welterweight would-be heir apparents to the 147-lb. belt strap fought a tremendous bout that appeareabd to take place in a phone booth or bar room commode up close. Guerrero scored early knockdowns in the first and second rounds that caused him to earn a closely-fought decision win over Berto, whose eyes were virtually shut closed by the championship rounds.
What to love? Two guys taking it to the absolute limit, fighting in close quarters with more heart and barroom brawl activity for twelve rounds straight than technique. A show of heart that boxing hasn’t seen in some time.
What to hate? A referee too tired, old or timid to break up Guerrero’s punch-and-clinch offense—and worse, too clueless to attribute the hugging to Guerrero instead of Berto. Does anyone who saw the fight really think Andre Berto was the guilty one when it came to excessive hugging and clinching.
What if? What if a referee had the wherewithal to warn Guerrero—not Berto—that his holding of his opponent behind the head and excessive clinching would result in a points deduction? What if the fighters were allowed to go one more or two more round? Of course the former is rhetorical, but one has to admire Berto’s ability to keep the fight within winning distance with both eyes nearly shut.
A fight for the ages, yes.
A rematch in order? Yes, as well.
Congratulations to both fighters for displaying the heart, courage and skill for which the Sweet Science is known.