SAN DIEGO – November 24, 2012 – Fight fans have plenty to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving weekend.
Until tonight, the October 13 fight between light welterweights Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado was the leading contender for Fight of the Year in 2012, a crazy good show from start to finish. Now we have another candidate for the ballot.
Andre Berto and Robert Guerrero came to the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California to fight, and did they ever. It was action packed, crowd pleasing, and incredibly punishing. To see both boxers standing after 12 rounds was nothing short of astonishing.
HBO will replay this bout Sunday morning, November 25, at 8:30 a.m. and also at 5:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Stop reading this column, and go set your DVR. If you missed it, look for additional replays this week, or call it up on HBO On Demand. This is a must-see fight for any fan.
Berto’s rough year looked like it would end even rougher with an early round knockout in his fight against “The Ghost” Guerrero. Guerrero stunned Berto in the first round with a deadly accurate straight left. Berto was stunned, made it through the count, and made it through the round only to get hit again by a similar punch and go down in round two.
Anyone betting Berto wouldn’t make it through the fight at that point would be proven wrong. As Guerrero turned the bout into a street brawl, Berto went along. The two went toe to toe for 10 more rounds of extreme punishment. Berto found the will to gather his wits and recover enough to deliver some wicked shots of his own to Guerrero.
These two guys are as tough as they come. By the end of the fight, neither boxer could see very well out of their swollen eyes. Each took tremendous shots that would have sent most other fighters to the canvas. Think Gatti-Ward I in the ninth round. Seriously, it was that wicked good. “I did tell Andre I was going to beat him down, so I had to be a man of my word,” Guerrero said after the fight.
“He didn’t hurt me at all and I took some good shots from him,” Guerrero said. “Halfway through the fight, he caught me with a shot on the eye and I couldn’t really see. That’s why I had to fight on the inside a lot more, too. He’s a strong guy and he punched hard, but I’ve got a good chin and I was able to take the shots.”
Someone had to prevail, and based on the knockdowns it was Guerrero. All three judges scored it 116-110. But Berto was scoring and winning later rounds. If the fight had gone 15 rounds, assuming the two were still standing Berto would have had every chance to win. He lost on paper, but there isn’t a fan alive who wouldn’t want to see him fight again.
Guerrero is now 31-1-1, 19 KOs, retained his WBC welterweight title, and said after the fight he would take on “the world,” with “Pretty Boy” Mayweather (as he called him) at the top of the list.
Berto gave Guerrero credit for having a tough chin, but he also expressed unhappiness over referee Lou Moret’s failure to stop Guerrero holding him, but calling the holds when Berto tried to return the favor. “It was ridiculous,” Berto said. “The referee kept calling me for a lot of different things… He kept warning me for things that I didn’t have no control over.” Moret didn’t call much of anything either way; in a brawl like this, he decided to simply stay out of the way.
Nevertheless, Berto expressed a desire for a rematch. As a fan, I say bring it on. Bravo to both fighters for being willing to engage, and for being so well trained they were able to withstand the punishment being dished out.
Worse than losing the fight would have been a forgettable fight in the most competitive division in boxing. This was certainly not the case.
On the HBO undercard, Keith Thurman (19-0, 18 KOs) added an impressive knockout to his record, having little trouble taking out former welterweight champion Carlos Quintana (29-4, 23 KOs) of Puerto Rico in round four
Thurman backed up his impressive record on paper with a dominating performance. Bear in mind he came up in weight class for this fight. He looked good and fought well at the higher weight. He’s a star on the rise; he’s personable and engaging. It’s time for his promoters at Golden Boy to line up some significant opponents and opportunities.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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