Lem Satterfield

Birthday boy Berto eyes Mayweather-Ortiz winner, Cotto

Andre Berto reveals in this Q&A that part of his preparation for last Saturday’s clash with Jan Zaveck included hours watching fighters he has long admired.

“I’m talking about the Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe fights, and the Meldrick Taylor-Julio Cesar Chavez fight. I watched Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard. I wanted to be a throw-back fighter in there, so, you know, I went all the way back,” said Berto, who turned 28 on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to take some to give some. That’s natural for me at times, and I wanted to come back and put on an exciting performance for the fans.”

Berto dictated a furious, physical, in-your-face bout against the 31-year-old Zaveck (31-2, 18 knockouts), whom he dethroned as IBF titleholder with a fifth-round knockout on HBO.

Their battle was stopped by Zaveck’s corner as a result of profuse bleeding from severe cuts over each of his eyes.

“I think that it was the left uppercut that caused the cut over his right eye. I caught him on the other side of the eye, and I felt it rip,” said Berto (28-1, 22 KOs), who exhibited only slight swelling below his left eye.

“Zaveck was a real tough kid with a good chin, and he had never really been in trouble. I guess that his face wasn’t cooperating and it started to fall apart on him.”

In victory, Berto rebounded from a unanimous decision loss to Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs), who dethroned him as WBC titleholder in April during a fight that featured each fighter hitting the canvas twice.

“When Sugar Ray out-boxed Roberto Duran the second time they fought, you know, I think a lot of people came away from that thinking that he was just a cute fighter,” said Berto.

“But realistically Leonard won a lot of wars by ot into a lot of wars because Leonard demonstrated the ability to bang it out. And at the end of the day, sometimes, that’s what you’ve got to do to show that you’re really there.”

Berto elaborates on his triumph in this Q&A below.

RingTV.com: Given that you are known to have speed, power and generally good boxing skills, was it a concious choice on your part not to use them more?

Andre Berto: “I could have used my speed and out-boxed him. I could have used my jab more to create distance. But everybody knows that I have that dog in me at the end of the day. I can bang it out with whoever. I just wanted to sit in there and to make a statement. I’m the type of guy that doesn’t always want to take steps backward.

“I knew that he was rugged, but I wanted to try to pressure him, work those combinations, because that was something that he wasn’t used to. I feel like I have one of the strongest and best jabs out there when I use it.

“Of course, I could have used my jab more. But I came in there with a whole different type of mentality. I wanted just go nose-to-nose, first. I wanted to incorporate a lot of different things, work the head and the body up and down. I wanted to show a complete arsenal.”

RingTV.com: How about that commitment to the body punches?

AB: “I just went back to old school with and that’s what we used to do in the amateurs a lot. We used to always tear that body up.

“When Zaveck fights, you know, he has a tight defense. He folds his arms in close to his body and kind of leaves the outside of his body open. So we wanted to work the outside of his body.”

RingTV.com: Was your energy level better as a result of your work with Victor Conte, who discovered and treated your anemia?

AB: “Victor Conte just blew our mind with how much he knows. As far as the protein shakes, the importance of working hard and also getting rest, Victor was hip to all of those things.

“Victor helped me to get back to that hunger to be the best that I can be. My energy level was definitely a lot better. I started off a lot faster. I was feeling a lot better. But there still is a lot more improvement to be made as far as my health.

“I came out strong. When they stopped the fight, we were getting ready to push the pace and turn it up a  bit. I felt great.”

RingTV.com: How does Zaveck rank among all of the opponents that you’ve faced?

AB: “I knew that he was a scrapper and that he was just going to come and throw punches. Sometimes those guys are the toughest ones to fight. They just want to prove something by throwing punches from all different angles, and sometimes, that works for them.

“You know, he was a good fighter, but he couldn’t hurt me. He was able to catch me with some punches, but he didn’t have the power to hurt me at all. I wanted to continue to press the action.”

RingTV.com: How do you answer fans and/or future opponents who might be critical of your defense?

AB: “You know, that’s fine. A lot of people think that they’ve figured it out, but then, when they get in there, they see something different. They see a different a different Andre Berto.

“They see me move around and box, they see me in the pocket and trading, and they see me trying to bulldog some guys. They’re going to get a different look every time.

“If somebody thinks that they can see me in one kind of way and have me figured out, then they had better watch some more tapes, because I can switch it up.”

RingTV.com: What’s next?

AB: “I’m not sure. We only want to jump back in there and continue our path and face good opponents. We’re going to see what happens with this Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz fight.

You might get the winner or the loser of those two. There’s a Miguel Cotto out there and there’s been talk. I know that the next one is going to be a big one.”

 

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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