By James Slater – If reigning WBC welterweight ruler Andre Berto was in the running when it comes to the Manny Pacquiao “sweepstakes” before the sensational 1st-round win he scored this past Saturday, then the 27-year-old surely strengthened his position with the win over the previously unstopped Freddy Hernandez.
Or has Berto actually put himself at the back of the line due to looking too good and too dangerous in his latest fight? As of now, the names being mentioned for Pacquiao’s next fight are: Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Berto and, at the top of the list demand-wise but still having the look of an extremely hard fight to make, Floyd Mayweather Junior.. If we can rule out “Money” (and with his ongoing legal issues, it’s doubtful Mayweather will face Pac-Man in the Filipino’s next fight), we are left with a natural lightweight in Marquez, a faded welterweight in Mosley and a young, strong and fast-peaking 147-pounder in Berto.
Which fight looks to most appealing to you?
Berto’s promoter, Lou DiBella, certainly feels his fighter is more of an attractive rival for Pac-Man than either Marquez or “Sugar” Shane.
“Marquez is one of the greatest fighters who ever lived …… at 135-pounds!,” DiBella said to Yahoo Sports Monday. “You can’t argue about the guy not deserving an opportunity. But at 147 it’s not a fair fight. If Pacquiao is a welterweight then fight at welterweight.
“And honestly, I think Pacquiao-Berto is a more sellable fight than Shane. What’s the point of Shane? He lost every round against Mayweather.”
DiBella said “we won’t price ourselves out” when it comes to the possibility of Berto getting a fight with the pound-for-pound king; before adding, “but we’re not chumps.”
Top Rank’s Bob Arum will look at the options as far as Pac-Man’s next fight goes, and it will be interesting to see if he is willing to give the fight to Berto. DiBella makes lots of sense in what he says, that’s for sure; Marquez IS too small for Pacquiao now, and Mosley, well – who really wants to see the 39-year-old tackle Pac-Man?
But is Berto a big enough name yet, and would the casual fans buy a fight between he and Pacquiao? Berto has the green belt, of course, and he has been seen on some big pay-per-view cards. But what the unbeaten talent lacks is a win over a big name. Will this hold him back as far as his chances of landing the big one with Pac-Man?
Personally – though I’d love to see a Pacquiao-Marquez III, but only if it happened at a comfortable weight for “Dinamita,” say 140-pounds tops – a Pacquiao-Berto clash is a fight I’d pay to see. Berto has a lot going for him, he is a natural welterweight and he would at the least test Pacquiao more severely than Mosley would. I’m not saying Berto beats Pac-Man, but he would be no pushover either. A puffed-up Marquez and a close to shot Mosley, however, would stand next to no chance against Pacquiao.
And, as a sidebar, a Berto challenge of Pacquiao would appeal to Bernard Hopkins – who said recently that Pac-Man has been choosy about facing black fighters!
Floyd Mayweather aside, the 27-0(21) Andre Berto is the best welterweight opponent out there for Pacquiao as of now!