Andre Berto has a Posse
Members of the boxing press are often heard complaining about the undue influence manager Al Haymon exerts on the sport and HBO in particular. Said scribes often cite welterweight Andre Berto as the most obvious evidence that Haymon is secretly pulling the strings at the premium cable network, pointing to Berto’s string of lucrative televised outings against questionable opposition.
Saturday night’s edition of Boxing After Dark in Biloxi will do little to sway those conspiracy theorists as the 2004 U.S. Olympian rebounded from his first career loss by capturing the IBF welterweight strap from Jan Zaveck. The Slovenian was forced to retire after the 5th round thanks to nasty gashes over both eyes. Critics will say Berto, who still lacks a signature win over a marquee opponent, was gifted another opportunity he didn’t deserve against an unknown opponent and now sports a meaningless trinket.
But one could also point out Berto dominated The Ring’s fourth-ranked welterweight for most of the fight while delivering another action-packed, made-for-TV performance. Has Berto turned into a fan-friendly fighter because he’s always on the air or was HBO simply the first to see what was always there? The point is moot. The man belongs on the airwaves and we’d just as soon watch him fight as any welter this side of Manny and Floyd.