By: Sergio Luis Martinez
As far as anyone can tell, Andre Berto is still slated to face Mexican perennial contender Jesus Soto-Karass this coming Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas in a bout that will be televised on Showtime airwaves. The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds for some vacant belt no one really cares about, which is often used to give some value to the valueless. This contest will represent Berto’s return to the ring after the hellacious beating that he took at the hands of Roberto Guerrero back in November of 2012.
Berto is hoping to put the brakes on his current career slide. as he has lost 2 of his last 3 bouts coming into Saturday. Both losses were difficult. as both Victor Ortiz and Guerrero were seen as “naturally smaller” men coming up in weight. In both contests, Berto was tough and game throughout but, in the end, he was the one expected to win and came up short both times.
Berto’s career has not gone exactly the way he and his brain trust planned. Since his amateur days, Berto has been touted as the next crossover superstar and a future legend. This was not to be like in the amateurs, when he lost his bid to represent the U.S.A. in the 2004 Olympic Games after being a “guarantee”; however, Andre has come up equally short in the professional ranks.
Although he has captured 2 belts during his professional tenure, Berto’s crossover appeal has never truly materialized: his popularity is marginal at best. He is the type of fighter that you’ll watch if he is on as he is usually involved in exciting fights. but most people will not go out of their way to make sure to catch his fights as he never developed that immense following everyone talked so much about at the beginning of his career. The obvious lack of media interest and fan buzz over his fight this coming Saturday is proof of this assertion.
In facing Soto-Karass, Berto finds himself in a similar situation as was the case in his two losses because he is expected to beat the much slower and vastly less talented Mexican. The problem is that if Soto-Karass shows up and is able to land early, Berto has shown to be extremely vulnerable to being dragged into wars, which would make for a great fan-friendly fight but, could also mark the end of Berto’s career in the upper echelons of the sport.
Simply said: if Berto does not completely dominate Soto-Karass, how can a Showtime and/or H.B.O. continue to justify having him on their airwaves?
What it all comes down to is that Berto will be facing the crossroads in Texas, and Soto-Karass will be playing the role of the Devil looking to collect his soul. Failed Olympic bids, falling short of expectations and lack of media/fan attention notwithstanding, Andre Berto still has to conquer Soto-Karass this coming Saturday night.
–Contact Sergio L. Martinez at [email protected]