Doug Fischer

Berto scores one-punch KO of Hernandez

LAS VEGAS — Andre Berto showed why he was a 10-to-1 favorite to successfully defend his welterweight belt against Freddy Hernandez on the undercard of the Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis fight Saturday.

Berto (27-0, 21 knokcouts), of Winter Haven, Fla., stopped Hernandez with a single right hand two minutes into the opening round of the scheduled 12-round bout.

Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs), of Mexico City, dropped like a sack of bricks after taking the punch. The tough Mexican, who had never been stopped, beat the count and wanted to continue but he was clearly in no condition to fight. Referee Russell Mora waved the fight off at 2:07 of the round.

“You guys (the media) have been giving me a lot of hassle, so I wanted to give a good performance,” said Berto, who was criticized for defending his title against an undeserving challenger.

Berto says his next opponent will be considerably better than Hernandez. The 27-year-old beltholder called out Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto immediately after the fight.

“I think I'm the best available opponent for Pacquiao,” said Berto.

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