Boxing


Alejandro "Naco" Berrio: A special Breed

01.09.2006 - By Ted Sares: Certain boxers are sometimes referred to as a "bomber." Ernie Shavers, Julian "The Hawk" Jackson, John "The Beast" Mugabi, Jaime Garza, Tommy Hearns, Wilfredo Gomez, and Tommy Morrison immediately come to mind. Back in the day, guys like the great Joe Louis and the not-so-great Bob Satterfield were given this moniker. They could take an opponent out with one punch. Some, like Shavers, could do it with either hand.

Others had weak chins which added to their appeal as exciting fighters. When this special breed fought, someone was bound to go and the fans loved it.

What about today? Are there any bombers out there? Well, certainly an argument could be made for Wladimir Klitchko, 46 (43 ko's)-3, and Samuel Peter, 26 (22 ko's)-1, both of whom have one punch knockout power. Wladimir might even qualify as one who can go both ways. Young Allan Green, 22-0, may have the potential but off his somewhat disappointing, though winning UD effort against Emmett Linton, 33-4-2, he remains a work in progress. But there is one guy out there who remains a bit under the radar screen. He is super Middleweight

Alejandro "Naco" Berrio, a 30 year old Colombian who has Ko'd 24 opponents in 25 wins and is an extremely dangerous fighter. However, like Satterfield, Morrison, Jackson and arguably Garza, the downside is that he does not take a punch very well — he was stopped in all four of his losses. He is one of that special breed.

In November 2004, he beat Carl Handy by TKO to win the IBO Intercontinental Light Heavyweight Title in Boynton Beach, FL. He then pulled off a monster upset last year when he knocked out Syd Vanderpool to send the two-time world title challenger into retirement.

"Naco" Berrio can fight, make no mistake. He has a loose, relaxed style and moves well. He can switch from orthodox to southpaw and back and can even utilize bolo punches, but more than anything, he can bang. Like Tommy Hearns, he gets a sharp snap on his long punches. The Vanderpool ko was scary as the Canadian needed to be attended to by the doctors for several minutes before he was able to leave the ring. Tellingly, for all of Jeff Lacy's power and wild swings, Vanderpool's knees never buckled in his loss to "Left Hook."

More recently and equally impressive, Naco ko'd Philadelphia’s highly regarded and undefeated Yusaf Mack, 22-0-2, in a 12-round championship eliminator on Friday Night Fights in Pompano Beach, FL. Some had predicted the fight would be tactical, the sort where either man could hurt the other at any time and it could suddenly end if either one got in a hard, clean shot. Berrio did not disappoint. In the 3rd, the tall 6'1" Berrio rocked the younger Mack back on his heels with a sharp left hook to the chin and by the end of the of the round Mack was bleeding badly from the nose and was visibly tired.

Strange things happened in the 6th when, with 1:41 to go, Berrio bizarrely planted a kiss on the top of Mack's skull and then immediately landed several sharp punches. A new "kiss and punch"combination, if you will! Berrio then hit Mack with another chopping right cross flush on the chin. The shot floored Mack and he landed on the seat of his trunks before slowly getting up at the count of four. Mack stood flat-footed in the center of the ring and with less than a minute to go, Berrio went after him with another right down the pipe and then a left uppercut that again landed flush on the button. Mack hit the canvas for the second time and despite beating the count was very groggy. Referee James Warring, in still another bizarre move, elected to call time so the ringside doctor could take a look after which he advised Warring to halt the fight. So much for a bizarre 6th round....so much for Mack's undefeated record. Meanwhile, Berrio enhanced his reputation as a banger.......maybe even a bomber.

To add to Berrio's appeal, at least from an excitement perspective, his chin is highly suspicious. He was in a very close fight with undefeated

Robert Stieglitz, 28-0, in Germany last December ( the Russian’s eyes were both badly swollen) when he got caught by a right hand early in the 11th and just like that, it was waved off. The thing is he can be winning a fight handily and on the verge of another ko and just one punch suddenly can turn things around. Kind of like Bob Satterfield losing to Rex Layne, Tommy "The Duke" Morrison losing to Michael Bentt or Julian "The Hawk" Jackson being taken out by another bomber, Gerald McClellan.

One thing is certain. If Berrio is fighting, I'll be watching. After all, he is a special breed of bomber.

"Every time I hear the name Joe Louis my nose starts to bleed." Tommy Farr:

Ted Sares is boxing historian and a member of the American Boxing Writers Association. He can be reached at

tedsares@adelphia.net

Article posted on 02.09.2006



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