Andre Berto stopped tricky Carlos Quintana in the 8th round last night to defend his WKRP welterweight title at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Quintana gave Berto, now 26-0 (20), problems early, scoring a clear knockdown within a minute of the opening bell (ruled a figment of the imagination by referee Tommy Kimmons) and jarring Berto with a hard straight left in the second, but, as expected, Berto, younger and stronger, wore him down and scored the TKO win with an explosive finish.
Berto, 26, entered the ring against Quintana with an edge in speed, power, athleticism, and youth; in addition, Quintana, who falls to 27-3 (21), has had the dreaded “downhill” look since being annihilated in one round by Paul Williams in 2008. Last night he did not resemble the fighter who slapped around Joel Julio and outboxed Williams in their first bout. The Puerto Rican veteran is a capable boxer, but he has never been “Old Ironsides” in the ring, and the punishment he took from Berto left him looking all-in by the fifth round.
It was a sloppy fight until the TKO, when Berto went after a wobbly Quintana, 33, with a two-fisted attack. On the one hand, Berto was far livelier against Quintana than he was in his last fight, a clownish decision victory over undersized Juan Urango; on the other hand, Berto did only what was expected, and until the TKO, did not look particularly good doing it. Certainly he must have broken some kind of record for whining in a single round – the first – and all the accolades he deserves for fighting through the pain of an injured arm are offset by his weak sister act when Quintana began to rough him up.
Quintana, not exactly Jake LaMotta in the clinches, practically toyed with Berto on the inside, landing uppercuts, lefts to the side of the head, and short shots to the ribs. Berto is as helpless as a puppy on the inside, and spent most of his time there appealing to Kimmons. No sooner did Quintana prove his dominance in close than Kimmons began to warn him for holding. Then Kimmons started breaking the fighters up as soon as they got within six inches of each other. Being a referee is not an easy job, so it makes sense that folks like Tommy Kimmons, surely a nice fellow, should be relegated to preliminary bouts until he proves his competence as a third man. Indeed, from the moment Berto went down from a left to the ear and blubbered on about it, Kimmons was on Quintana like a boa constrictor. He deducted a point from Quintana in the third round and castigated him for everything from rabbit punches to low blows to jaywalking. At one point, it appeared
that Kimmons would deduct points from Quintana just for showing up at the Bank Atlantic Center. Once Quintana was denied the opportunity to work on the inside, he was easy pickings for Berto, whose high-powered offense from the outside began to overwhelm him.
Now that Berto has shaken his ring rust–in exchange for a seven-figure purse–perhaps he can go out now and earn the status prematurely accorded to him by HBO and the usual suspects who gorge themselves at hype troughs throughout cyberspace. Berto has unfinished business against Luis Collazo, but strangely, despite having been the mandatory challenger off and on according to the whims of the WBC, Collazo is heading to Turkey to fight Selcuk Aydin for the “interim” version of the title Berto already owns. Team Berto once thought about facing Aydin in Europe, but, of course, with million dollar paydays from HBO and near-empty arenas waiting for him in America, opted against it. Some boxers, it seems, just have it easier than others.