Days before his fight with Andre Berto, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero vowed that he will beat Andre "The Beast" Berto up and "take care of business" on fight night. On the other hand, Andre Berto proclaimed that "I've had a hell of a year, going through a lot of trials and tribulations," and hoped to turn things around.
On Saturday night's HBO Boxing After Dark, Robert Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs) fulfilled his promise in stunning fashion as he gave Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KOs) the beating of his life and his second career loss via a Unanimous Decision victory to retain the interim WBC welterweight title in front of a loud and boisterous crowd at the Citizens Business Center Arena in Ontario, CA. The three judges have identical scores of 116-110 favoring the Gilroy, CA native.
On Saturday night, Andre Berto went to hell and back, yet fell short of his aspirations and succumbed to a gutsy and superior fighter in one of the best fights of the year to date.
Andre Berto surprised the crowd when he came out of his corner doing the patented Floyd Mayweather, Jr. stance. Robert Guerrero surprised the crowd by coming out of his corner by taking the fight to his opponent and throwing bombs.
Caught by surprise by Robert Guerrero's aggressiveness, Andre Berto's experiment, the 'shoulder roll' defense was no match for the hard shots that were unleashed by a fighter ready to rock and roll.
And despite giving up six pounds to Andre Berto (158 to 152), Robert Guerrero imposed himself on his opponent: leaning, crowding, pushing and smothering him against the ropes -- tactics that the Ghost used very well to his advantage in order to tame the Beast.
Although Andre Berto was able to recover from two earlier knockdowns, the rugged fight once again showed his vulnerability; his suspect chin, among others, probably contributed to the way the fight unfolded.
A left upper cut by Robert Guerrero followed by two left hooks to the side of the head that downed Andre Berto in the first round set the tone of the rough and tumble fight. Never mind that Guerrero landed some of the shots while holding Berto behind the head for leverage and easier targets. The dye was cast and the showdown was on.
The second round belonged to Robert Guerrero as he pummeled Andre Berto with hard shots that sent the game Haitian-American to the canvas for the second time. A lot of observers thought it would only be just a matter of time before Andre Berto would crumble from the barrage of punches that he was taking. Yet, he survived the fateful round, regained his composure, fought his way out of danger and engaged Robert Guerrero in a war of attrition for the next 10 rounds.
And what 10 rounds of no-holds-barred fighting it would be -- a test and showcase of both fighters' will to win and unyielding courage. They exchanged vicious upper cuts that would put a lesser man to sleep. They traded wicked blows to the body, digging hard and deep with impacts that could make even the Undertaker wince in pain.
Robert Guerrero and Andre Berto pummeled each other with sledgehammers, wrestled like no other and threw some dirty tricks on the side for good measure, all just to have that small edge in the hotly-contested firefight. Both fighters traded their original game plans in favor of closed quarters combat characterized by toe-to-toe bombings and phone booth snipings.
It was a fast-paced, mean-spirited battle between two fighters who threw caution to the wind and unleashed their vast and powerful armaments on each other: upper cuts, hooks, straights. But Robert Guerrero maintained the upper hand for the rest of the night because just like in a nightmare, the Ghost just keeps on coming and engaging Berto in an in-your-face brutal brawl.
Andre Berto was supposed to be the faster and stronger fighter, but he had little effect against a very game Robert Guerrero, a fighter with decent power and speed beating him to the punch as well as to a pulp.
We may ask, where is the speed and where is the power? Either Robert Guerrero's chin is made of granite or the Ghost was on his element on this particular night because he was getting off his punches faster and quicker than his opponent.
Or could it be that Andre Berto's vaunted speed and power were the product of PEDs, as some people allege? Thus, having tested positive for norandrosterone recently last May and just finished serving out his suspension, maybe it is safe to assume that Andre Berto was free of any PEDs inside his well-chiseled body for this fight.
Anyway, Robert Guerrero and Andre Berto figured in an old school slugfest that made boxing a true mirror of man's heart and spirit. The barnburner was a picture of two fighters who gave it their all and then some.
And when the final bell tolled, both fighters sported the marks of a hard-fought battle: Robert Guerrero with a huge mouse on his right eye while Andre Berto's eyes were almost closed from the swelling, not to mention all the blood, sweat and tears that they shed in the ring.
Robert Guerrero landed 258 of 731 of his total punches for a 35% clip compared to Andre Berto's 182 of 411 for a 44% clip. But Robert Guerrero also threw more power punches to negate Andre Berto's accuracy -- 234/611, 38%, versus 162/326, 50%.
In the end, Robert Guerrero outworked, outhustled and outgunned the favored Andre Berto to ensure his career-defining victory.