By Jackie Kallen
My heart tells me to go with Andre Berto Saturday night when he faces off against Robert “TheGhost” Guerrero. Coming off his dirty drug test more than a year ago, Berto has a lot to prove. He swears it was an “accident” and the California Athletic Commission believes him. The fight at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, CA is his chance to show the boxing world that he is clean and better than ever.
Both fighters are close to 30 and both have one loss on their record. Neither has ever been knocked out and both are close in height. The Ghost is a southpaw, however, while Berto fights orthodox. Berto’s only loss was to Victor Ortiz, who is a southpaw, but I don’t see that as a problem in this fight. He has beaten other southpaws.
Guerrero is a damn good fighter and this is his opportunity to win the fame and acclaim he so desires. But I have a hunch that Berto wants it more. I also think that over-all size is a factor since The Ghost started out at featherweight and Berto made his pro debut at 162 pounds. He is a more solid man and is used to fighting bigger, stronger opponents. Berto is a true welterweight.
Guerrero has only had one fight at this weight and it was against Selcuk Aydin last July. He won unanimously but Aydin is not in the same league as Berto. Berto has been in against top fighters like Steve Forbes and Victor Ortiz. Most of Aydin’s fights were in Europe against unfamiliar names.
Some fans feel that the long layoff will be a problem for Berto but I have a feeling he has shaken off most of the ring rust in training camp. It may take him a round or two to get into his rhythm, but I believe he will be fine. He has the ability to pressure Guerrero and force him to fight Berto’s fight.
Both teams are confident that their man will prevail and both have solid arguments. I guess I am going with my heart here, but I want to see Berto get this win. The Haitian/American is a tough warrior who has a lot to prove. He has never gotten over his disappointment at getting beaten in the 2004 Olympics by France’s Xavaier Noel. That was a bitter loss. Beating The Ghost for the WBC belt would mean a lot.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen