Andre Berto: ďIím a fan of Shane Mosley and I still think it would be an entertaining fight. Itís just the fact if the public really wants to see itĒ
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 141st edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with the newly crowned IBF welterweight champion of the world Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) who is coming off a fifth round stoppage victory against Jan Zaveck (31-2, 18 KOs). Berto spoke about his victory and also discussed his future plans. Additionally he shared his views on some upcoming fights including Floyd Mayweather Junior versus Victor Ortiz and Manny Pacquiao squaring off for the third time against Juan Manuel Marquez. Here is a complete transcript from that interview:
JENNA J: Letís move to our first guest of this weekís show, heís a returning guest. Weíre joined by the new IBF welterweight champion of the world, Andre Berto. Howís everything going today Andre?
ANDRE BERTO:Everything is going pretty good. You know Iím just getting back and just relaxing with the family a little bit.
JENNA: Okay, well you had a pretty damn good fight this past weekend against Jan Zaveck. He was a tough opponent. He gave you a good run. You came up with the title. How do you feel about your performance?
BERTO: You know like I said, I feel my performance was so-so because it was a little bit out of character for me. I could have easily just used my speed and just boxed him. I donít know. I went in there with a lot of different emotions and I really wanted to try to press the action. I knew he had never been stopped and I wanted to just try to beat him up a little bit, and try to be the first one to try to stop him, and to just show folks I didnít go anywhere. Pretty much to a point I noticed that his punches couldnít hurt me, so I just started trying to press him, and walk him backwards, and just keep ringing off combinations.
JENNA: Now he was a tough guy that could take a lot of your shots and he also came back with some good punches. You mentioned he really didnít hurt you with anything. Is that really true that none of those shots that landed flush on you did anything?
BERTO: No. No, it didnít really hurt me at all. Thatís why I just kept coming forward. Like I said Zaveckís a tough kid. I could have taken any other type of right and tried to get an easier fight coming back, and thatís pretty much what a lot of fighters do coming off a loss. But I wanted to fight him because I knew he was tough and he was a world champion, and I knew he was going to bring it. I knew he didnít want to lose so I knew it would be an exciting fight.
JENNA: How does it feel to once again be a champion? You went from being a defending champion, you lost your title, and now you once again have a title belt. How does that make you feel?
BERTO: You know it makes me feel good and it just leads to the fact when you work hard in this sport, you know itís a tough game. It feels great to I guess go where Iíve come from and to be exposed to taking that loss and going through the motions that I went through, and going through everything I went through, actually. I felt it was more of just a learning process. Iíve learned and now I just used those energies to get back and be a champion, and now Iím sitting as a champion but with a different type of mind frame than I had before.
JENNA: Letís talk about where you came from in your fight with Victor Ortiz. It was a Fight of the Year candidate. It was very exciting. You guys each traded knockdowns. You had Ortiz down and almost out in the sixth round. Can you talk about that fight and your experience with it, and do you think you brought your best that night?
BERTO: No I donít think I brought my best that night. During camp there were a lot of situations that we were going through and I had my health situation that I was going through as well. Like I said, I was more disappointed to a point that I didnít perform to the best of my ability. I knew it was going to be an exciting fight, and it was an exciting fight, but I was more disappointed that I didnít perform to the best of my ability. I should have gotten him out of there in the sixth round. I should have been using my jab a lot more. I mean there were a lot of different aspects in that fight I could have took over, especially in the sixth round. I just let it slip out of my hands because I pretty much had him out of there that round. Like I said, my body just wouldnít let me extend the energy that I needed. All in all it was a good fight and it was definitely an attracting fight for the fans.
JENNA: What was the toughest part about losing your title in that fight?
BERTO: I think just like I said, itís just the aspect of not even just losing. You can be a competitor but if you have somebody who was just better than you, you can take that as a man and keep going, but I just felt like I didnít perform to the best of my ability and I see some things when I look back. Then at the same time, Iíve always had a little bit of criticism so of course a lot more came after that. Iím hard on myself. I think Iím my biggest critic. A lot of people just look at it and just say, oh he took a loss and he came back strong. But I made a lot of mistakes in that camp and that fight. You know everything happens for a reason. Everybody that knows me knows Iím very, very, very competitive, so of course I took it hard. Like I said everything happens for a reason, so Iím trying to come back strong, Iím trying to sharpen some things up, and come back like I never left.
JENNA: Okay! Well Andre, weíre also on the line with my Co-Host Geoff Ciani.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hi Andre. Congratulations on the victory and itís a pleasure to have you back on our show.
BERTO: I appreciate it, my man.
CIANI: Andre, I wanted to ask you, during the fight with Zaveck you threw a lot of nice combos where you went upstairs and downstairs and threw some really good body shots in my opinion. Was this something you specifically worked on for Zaveck or is this something that going forward you want to incorporate more of in your game?
BERTO: Yeah thatís definitely something I want to incorporate more into my game. Yeah, I went back to the basics. Throughout training camp I was watching some old fights like I did in the beginning of my career. I watched Sugar Ray Robinson, watching Medric Taylor, and Sugar Ray Leonard, and Marvin Hagler, and I had seen how these guys incorporated everything. They worked up and down, and sometimes in this new generation of ours we just want to headhunt a lot or just do different things, so I just had to go back to the basics. Plus I watched some tapes on Zaveck and we knew he had a tight defense. He brings his arms very close into his stomach when heís trying to block, so I thought it would be perfect for me to go around his arms and try to hit that body a little bit to just try and bring those arms down.
CIANI: It seemed to me in the first three rounds you were doing a little bit better at midrange and to the outside a little bit, but he was able to crowd you a little more in the fourth and fifth and he was landing some good uppercuts in there. Even though he was doing better in close quarters, it looked to me like you were deliberately choosing to stand in there and you were throwing some uppercuts of your own. Is that what you were doing? Were you trying to stand in there with him during those rounds?
BERTO: Yeah. I just wanted to try and stay in close quarters. My coach saw that I started off pretty fast and wanted me to slow down and pace myself, but then again I saw that he wasnít really used to the pressure that I was giving him because watching fight tapes, heís normally the one pressuring guys out. So I just wanted to stay in his face. Even if I wasnít throwing punches I wanted to be on top of him, I wanted to lay on top of him, and I wanted to just be in his face. Every time he threw an uppercut and touched me then I wanted to return it straight back. I wanted to just be right there in his face. Just through every round, I could see him taking more deep breaths and getting a little bit frustrated and I knew I was in shape to go twelve rounds hard just like that. You know, so I just wanted to try and press him out and just continued to try and bring that pressure to him.
CIANI: A lot of fans on the boxing message boards are saying this was a great, entertaining, exciting fight, and that they would be interested in seeing you and Zaveck do it again. Is that in the cards for you, or do you think youíre going to move in a different direction?
BERTO: You know I believe weíll see. Weíll see. I mean you know that this fight game is about business. If they can come up with the money to try and make it happen again I definitely wouldnít be opposed to it, but I think weíre going to try and move forward. I think realistically we have a lot of other big names and big fights ahead of us, and I think weíre probably just going to move forward.
CIANI: In January of last year you were scheduled to fight Sugar Shane and of course that fight never came to be. Since that point Shane Mosleyís stock has kind of dropped in the eyes of boxing fans with his one-sided losses to Pacquiao and Mayweather. As a fan myself who was excited to see that fight, is Mosley a direction you would still look or would you look at that as a step backwards?
BERTO: You know Iím not sure at this point. Iím really not, because just like you said, Shaneís last two losses. You know still, like Iím a fan of Shane Mosley and I still think it would be an entertaining fight. Itís just the fact if the public really wants to see it, or even the networks like HBO and Showtime wanting that type of fight just because of Shaneís last two performances. So Iím not sure. Weíre going to see as a team whatís out there and then weíll move forward.
JENNA: Now Andre, I want to get your view on an upcoming fight and it takes place September 17. Thatís Victor Ortiz versus Floyd Mayweather Junior. Looking on the outside in, how do you see that match playing out?
BERTO: I think it should be a good fight. I think Floyd has all the tools to outbox Victor and even touch him with a few tough shots and maybe stop him. But I know he needs to be on his game because I know Ortiz is going to come and try to bring the heat, heís going to bring the pressure, and heís a lot bigger than a lot of other guys that Floyd has fought. Heís a lot stronger than a lot of the other guys that Floyd has fought and heís young. Heís energized and heís definitely going to bring that heat on Floyd, but like I said, Floyd has all the skills and experience to either outbox Victor or even catch him with a good shot and get him out of there. So I think it will be an entertaining fight either way. Itís either going to be an entertaining fight or itís going to be a mismatch in class and style and Floyd might just outbox him all night.
JENNA: Now do you look at that fight with disappointment thinking that if you had beaten Victor Ortiz that you would be getting this opportunity against Floyd Mayweather Junior?
BERTO: Of course, but like I said you still canít really say whatís going to be what. You know me and Floyd have the same management team so I donít even know if that would have happened or not. Then again, when you sit back and look at it of course! Youíre looking at somebody that a lot of people and a lot of the public still think that I should have gotten that opportunity a lot earlier. Iím just going t o play my cards right now. Victor Ortiz got the opportunity and he fought a hard tough fight against myself, and he came out with the win. Now he has the opportunity to continue to try and prove himself. Heís either going to go on to do bigger things or this fight will be his last stop.
JENNA: Do you have a preference as to who you would like to see win that fight? Would you prefer to see Victor Ortiz win so you can have a rematch and avenge your only loss, or would you a prefer a superstar big matchup with Floyd Mayweather Junior if you could somehow get the winner?
BERTO: You know it doesnít matter at all. It really doesnít matter. I think I would pick either one regardless. I think if they make that matchup between me and Ortiz or me and Floyd, I think itís going to be a big seller regardless. So like I said Iím going to wish both guys the best, and may the best man win.
CIANI: Now these days itís still tough to mention Floydís name without mentioning Manny Pacquiaoís name, and Iím wondering in the other big fight coming up later this year, do you think Juan Manuel Marquez has any shot against Pacquiao in the third fight or do you think the size difference is too much for him at this weight?
BERTO: Well I think the size difference might be a little bit too much for him. Manny, I mean the last two times they fought they fought at a lower weight, and now Manny is pretty settled and strong at 147. In his first few fights he was trying to get settled, but now heís looking full. Heís looking strong as an ox. At 147 heís looking fast, and Marquez is coming up just to try and fight him so I think it might be a different situation, unless Marquez tries to outbox him and tries to do things a little different. I donít think he can get into a shootout with Pacquiao at all. Like I said, heís looking too strong and too filled out at 147 right now.
CIANI: Back to your career Andre, great fighters are often defined by how they rebound from losses and adversity, and Iím wondering in your view whatís the most important thing you take out of your loss with Victor Ortiz now that youíve rebounded and regained a championship?
BERTO: I mean just to stay focused, donít take anything for granted, and always just work hard and respect your opponent because in the blink of an eye everything could be gone. Everything that you worked for, all the people that you expected to be on your side, in this boxing game things can change overnight. You can either be old news or a bum overnight, or you can become a superstar, so you have to really understand the type of sport that youíre in and you have to sit down and analyze things, and put things in perspective. You just have to go in and work really hard for every fight like it was your last, because it could be.
JENNA: Alright well Andre, I just have a couple of more questions before I let you off the line. People are wondering whatís next for you. They want to know who theyíre going to see you in the ring with next. Randall Bailey will be becoming your mandatory soon enough, but do you think you will be fighting someone different than him and do you think you will be able to sneak in another fight before the end of 2011?
BERTO: Iím not sure. It looks like theyíre trying to bring me back as soon as possible. They said something about December, but Iím not sure. Most likely it might be more like January or February. Iím not sure whoís going to be next. I know Randall is going to be next on the list as a mandatory, but Iím not sure. My team really has some big fights ahead thatís pretty much lined up for me. Like I said at the end of the day this is a business, so weíll see what type of moves we can make to fight the bigger fights for the bigger money and thatís the course that weíre going to take. But as of right now Iím not sure at all. Iím definitely not sure.
JENNA: Andre you just turned 28 years old. Do you think weíve seen the best of Andre Berto or do you think the best is yet to come?
BERTO: The best is definitely yet to come. You know being in the sport as long as Iíve been in it, I got a chance to achieve a lot of my dreams. In the amateurs I went to the Olympics and now becoming a two-time world champion and being able to make millions of dollars doing something I love, but like I said I think the best is yet to come. I think Iím stepping into my physical prime right now, and I just think every day I just want to continue learning something new and doing something new and I think itís going to be great.
JENNA: Okay well I have one final question. You have a lot of fans and people that went out and saw you fight in Mississippi and saw you win the title. Anything you want to say to them?
BERTO: I want to tell everybody I appreciate the massive amount of love I get from people all over the world, actually. I just want to tell everybody that I appreciate you and I love you. Continue to support me. I have a lot of big things ahead of me.
JENNA: Alright! Well Andre, itís been a pleasure having you back on the show. I want to congratulate you yet again on winning the IBF welterweight title, and I look forward to seeing more from you.
BERTO: Thank you. I appreciate it.
CIANI: Thank you Andre, best of luck.
BERTO: Thank you. Bye.
For those interested in listening to the Andre Berto interview in its entirety, it begins approximately nine minutes into the program.
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Article posted on 09.09.2011
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