Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Hunter: 'Confidence crucial' for Berto vs. Soto Karass
Trainer Virgil Hunter on Andre Berto: "When he came out with the shoulder roll and things like that against Guerrero, I had never seen him do it. So I just stressed to him that it was important to him to have his own identity."
Trainer Virgil Hunter says that "confidence is crucial" for Andre Berto as the Florida welterweight heads into his July 27 comeback clash with rugged Jesus Soto Karass at The AT&T Center in San Antonio, his first fight under Hunter.
"I want to see that he can adjust at the right time and that he can make the right calls and respond accordingly to what I might ask him to do in the ring. I'd like to see him fight with the confidence of knowing that he has a lot to offer and that he has what it takes to adjust to a guy with Soto Karass's style," said Hunter.
"He just needs to go in there with confidence. If his confidence is up, then he'll do some things that we've never even worked on that I know that he's capable of doing, so I think that his confidence is first and foremost in this fight. If he fights with confidence, then we can go to another level in the next training camp, and so on and so on. So I think confidence is crucial in this fight. He and I both have that in each other."
A former two-time 147-pound beltholder, Berto (28-2, 22 knockouts) is attempting to bounce back from November's unanimous-decision loss to Robert Guerrero, having also fallen to to ex-titleholder Victor Ortiz in April of 2011 before stopping Jan Zaveck in September of that year.
"The main thing that I stressed is to make sure that he had his own identity, and that was crucial. For instance, when he came out with the shoulder roll and things like that against Guerrero, I had never seen him do it. So I just stressed to him that it was important to him to have his own identity, and let's find out who Andre Berto is, and find out who he wants to be and aspires to be and let's build on that," said Hunter.
A resident of Winter Haven, Fla., Berto, 29, has been preparing in Oakland, Calif., under Hunter, who has replaced long-time trainer Tony Morgan.
"I just think that he felt that it was time for a change," said Hunter, who also trains RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward, and who has also helped to resurrect the careers of Amir Khan and Alfredo Angulo.
"I consider Tony Morgan a friend of mine, and I haven't spoken with Tony yet. I plan to. But sometimes, it's just time for a change, but that's left up to the fighters. Tony did a heckuva job with him, so it's not like you've got to tear down and rebuild. I think it's just about him finding his own identity. They haven't seen the best of him, so he definitely has an upside."
Hunter said his initial conversation with Berto was as much about what Berto wanted to improve on as what he saw in the fighter from a training perspective.
"I don't know if there were expectations, but it was more of what he was looking for. When we sat down to talk I was just all ears. I was just trying to stay in tune to what he was looking for," said Hunter.
"He was looking to make some subtle changes, which is understandable, coming off of two tough fights like he did. He felt like he had more to offer, if it could be brought into perspective for him, and we just decided to take it a day at a time and grow together, which is all that you really can do the first time that you connect. I'm happy with the camp, that's for sure."
Although Berto called Morgan "a tremendous coach," and, "one of the best in the game" in his own right, he said, "I just needed a change."
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com