Boxing


'Call Em Out Fridays': Berto/Quintana - Crossover or Crossroad?

bertoBy Vivek Wallace - In the world of stocks and investments, the term 'crossover' is widely used to identify a trending point, signaling investors to either buy or sell. As it relates to the young Andre Berto and veteran Carlos Quintana in their world of boxing, this term is aptly applicable, as fight fans will tune in Saturday night to learn whether it's time to 'buy' what these two men and their respective camps have been 'selling' the public throughout their well chronicled careers.

In the case of Carlos Quintana, despite several questions surrounding his perceived lack of passion for his craft, the echoed pitch from camp members attempt to sell fans on a lone career achieving moment where he was able to outpoint the awkward Paul Williams 2 years ago. While it doesn't take a genius to see the potential that lies within, seeing that potential surface on a consistent basis has been the primary elemental cause of questions surrounding the Puerto Rican southpaw that many once saw destined for great things..

As it relates to the young Andre Berto, from day one, several around the sport positioned him to be that rising star that would reach uncharted heights and go on to dethrone the best of the best in the welterweight division, no names withstanding. Only 5 years into the plan, he has managed to get that same highly coveted 'green belt' that Floyd Mayweather jnr. once toted. Trouble is, he didn't get it from Mayweather.....he got it in an eliminator against the barely known Miguel Angel Rodriguez, and has yet to defend it against a top tier welterweight in the sport.

To his benefit, he was signed to face perhaps the most accomplished and decorated contender within the division, Shane Mosley; but a natural disaster struck which greatly tested the natives of his ancestral homeland, removing him from an equation that would have presented him with the greatest test of his own professional life.

Despite the undefeated record, few seem to be 'buying' what he and his handlers are 'selling', questioning whether or not he truly belongs amongst the elite in what still stands as one of the sports deeper divisions.

Normally when you pair a veteran and a young, yet strong rising star, champion tenured or not, the rising prospect almost always finds himself at some sort of disadvantage if that veteran is still youthful enough to execute beyond the realm of conditioning challenges. While Quintana is still a fairly young contender himself (33) the catch here is that despite being in the sport a full 7 years prior, to date, he only has 15 more professional rounds under his belt and Berto's KO percentage is greater, meaning he (Berto) hasn't even gone the distance as much as his veteran counterpart.

Quintana does win the battle of stiffer resume opposition, but the Berto contingent could argue that he has only once defeated anyone whose talent is remotely close, splitting a serious with Williams and being blown out completely by Cotto, neither which have the blazing speed and subsequent 'pop'. While Cotto may be a bit stronger, Berto's amazing speed creates a velocity that oozes with the element of surprise, as few have the reflexes to combat the intensity, as evidenced in his stellar KO percentage.

When it all boils down, like any other competition, someone will advance, and someone will fail to. Being a crafty veteran southpaw may mean very little to a man who is now facing his third in a row after previously taming both Luis Collazo and Steve Forbes. The flip side of this argument is that if the true Quintana shows up, he could be far more hell to deal with than either one of those men (Collazo and Forbes) were. Paul Williams has been extremely durable, yet Quintana was able to rock him several times in their initial encounter, a feat that not even the glove-loaded Antonio Margarito was able to do, despite landing a ton of power punches over 12 rounds.

This possibility opens dialogue surrounding a few critical, yet softly mentioned questions of the past. Ones which openly point to perceived stamina and conditioning related questions surrounding Andre Berto.

In an era of the sport filled with hype and media built contenders, there's no true way to tell which fight fans around the globe have actually been 'buyin' what these two men have been 'sellin', but with a title up for grabs and endless possibilities looming, the one established fact surrounding this fight is that both men must realize it's time to 'crossover' to that next level in what can be technically viewed as a 'crossroads' affair.

Saturday night will serve as the proverbial bridge over troubled water, only this bridge will contain just one lane. Two men await the rite of passage. One man will 'crossover'.....while the other man will find himself stuck in the midst of a 'crossroad'.

Tune in Saturday night on HBO to see which man it'll be. (Check local listings for fight time).

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at www.vivekwallace.com, vivexemail@yahoo.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook, and Myspace).

Article posted on 08.04.2010



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