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HBO Boxing Preview: Berto vs. Guerrero, Quintana vs. Thurman

By: William Holmes

On Saturday night HBO delivers a boxing card from Ontario, California featuring an interim WBC World Welterweight Title bout between Robert Guerrero and Andre Berto as well as a junior middleweight bout between Carlos Quintana and Keith Thurman.

This is the first fight back for Andre Berto since his positive test for performance enhancing drugs and Guerrero’s second fight in the welterweight division. This is also Keith Thurman’s first legitimate test on national television.

Carlos Quintana (29-3) vs. Keith Thurman (18-0); Junior Middleweight

Carlos Quintana is a formidable veteran and a very big step up in competition for Keith Thurman. Quintana’s best days in boxing seemed to be behind him, but he surprised the boxing world with a mild upset over Deandre Latimore in May of this year.

The southpaw Quintana is tricky and has given many talented boxers significant trouble inside the ring. He is, however, in the later stages of his career, he’s thirty-six years old and he competed in the 1996 Olympics for Puerto Rico.

He has the ability to finish fights: 18 of his victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He is also used to fighting in the big stage as he is a former WBO Welterweight Champion. Quintana has defeated the likes of Latimore, Paul Williams, and Joel Julio. His victory over Paul Williams was the biggest victory and upset of his career. Quintana has also lost to the likes of Williams, Miguel Cotto, and Andre Berto.

Keith Thurman has clearly not faced an opponent with the experience of Carlos Quintana. He’s significantly younger than Quintana at the age of 23, and only one of his victories did not come by way of KO or TKO. Thurman placed second in the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials.

Thurman will be slightly taller than Quintana. He’ll also be looking for the knockout, as all three of Quintana’s losses have come by way of stoppage. Thurman’s biggest knock is that his record is littered with sub-par fighters. This will be his fourth fight in 2012 and he’s been significantly more active than Quintana, but he only recently began taking on opponents with decent records.

This will be a good test for Thurman and a good opening bout. HBO knows that Quintana will not lay down for a highly rated prospect and will give him a fight. Father time, however, is not on Quintana’s side, and Thurman should be able to achieve another stoppage victory.

Robert Guerrero (30-1) vs. Andre Berto (28-1); WBC Interim Welterweight Title

Berto (l) and Guerrero

This is an extremely intriguing bout and makes perfect sense for both fighters.

Guerrero has been begging for a well-known fighter to face him since he made the decision to leave the lightweight division. He called out Floyd Mayweather Jr. but was unsurprisingly ignored, and he even engaged in a war of words with Adrien Broner.

But in order for him to achieve his goal of fighting a Mayweather or a Broner, he first has to get past a very talented Andre Berto.

Andre Berto was recently disgraced with a failed drug test for performance enhancing drugs, and needs a big victory to win some support and put his career back on track to repeat as a welterweight championship. He needed a fight against someone who is considered a credible opponent by the media.

Robert Guerrero is the perfect choice for Andre Berto.

Both Guerrero and Berto are 29, both are 5’8”, and both have about a 70” reach advantage. Berto has spent most of his career fighting in the welterweight division and Guerrero only recently moved up to the welterweight division from the lightweight division.

Berto has 22 KO/TKOs on his record, but we’re now left to wonder if those KOs may be inflated due to PEDs. Guerrero only has 18 KO/TKOs, has not scored one since 2010, and has never stopped an opponent in a division higher than lightweight. Both Berto and Guerrero competed as amateurs, but neither competed in the Olympics.

Berto was on a tear until his surprising and memorable defeat to Victor Ortiz in April of 2011. They were scheduled to do a rematch in June of 2012, but it was canceled due to a positive test for PEDs. Berto first won the welterweight title in 2008 over Miguel Angel Rodriguez. Since then he’s defeated the likes of Juan Urango, Carlos Quintana, Freddy Hernandez, and Jan Zaveck.

Robert Guerrero’s first fight in the welterweight division was for the interim WBC Welterweight title against Selcuk Aydin. Guerrero was able to give Aydin his first professional loss in a close bout. But Guerrero has spent most of his career in the lightweight and super featherweight divisions. He completely skipped over the junior welterweight division.

Guerrero doesn’t have a lot of power in his hands, but he is technical and very good with his defense. He’s defeated the likes of Michael Katsidis, Vincente Escobedo, Joel Casamayor, and Jason Litzau. His only defeat was a split decision loss to Gamaliel Diaz in the featherweight division in 2005.

Berto is significantly better than Aydin, and Aydin gave Guerrero problems in his last bout. Berto will likely give Guerrero more problems than Aydin.

Unless Berto’s impressive streak of victories was due solely to performance enhancing drugs, its likely he’ll win on Saturday night and put himself back into the mix in the welterweight division.

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