On the other side of Andre Berto and Shawn Porter’s welterweight bout on April 22nd, which will air exclusively on Showtime, awaits Keith Thurman.
Thurman’s victory over Danny Garcia just over a month ago not only kept his perfect professional record intact (28-0), but also unified the WBC and WBA welterweight titles, solidifying Thurman as the weight class’s top dog.
Berto-Porter is a win-or-go-home bout in the truest sense of the term. Win, and it’s on to a date with Thurman for the WBC welterweight. Lose, and you’re sent to the back of the pecking order with a title shot at least a few fights away, if you’re lucky.
Ahead of the big bout, CBS Local Sports caught up with Berto to discuss his big win over Victor Ortiz, his fight against Floyd Mayweather, and how he’ll manage to defeat Porter on April 22nd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
CBS Local Sports: How great did it feel for you personally to get revenge on Victor Ortiz all these years later?
Andre Berto: (Laughs) It felt amazing man. That fight’s been looming over my head for a lot of years and that fight was something that I wanted for a long time. A lot of people feel like that was a fight that kind of got me off track for a while. So to get that fight and to be able to finish it the way I finished it, it felt amazing. It felt tremendous man. Definitely one of the highlights of my career.
CBS Local Sports: What have you been up to since then? Did you take any time off to relax, or did you dive right in getting ready for your next fight?
Berto: The crazy thing about it is I was just so hyped from that fight I just really got back to it. I didn’t really take too much time off, I was just in such a zone. I wanted to just keep that momentum going. So I got back home, chilled for like a week, week and a half, then got right back to business.
CBS Local Sports: When did you really start training camp for your fight against Shawn?
Berto: Those who know me or follow social media know that I stay training and I stay in the gym and I try to stay in pretty good shape year round. So as soon as I started getting whisperings about the fight I had my sights set on it. So I’ve been on and off getting it in for the last three or four months — just fine tuning some things, making sure I’ve got me a great base for training camp.
CBS Local Sports: In the aftermath of your fight against Floyd, how did you go about recovering and getting yourself back on track?
Berto: It wasn’t realistically anything I had to recover from. During the fight… I didn’t take any damage during the fight. It was more of trying to recover mentally and just trying to get my life back in order. Going into the situation fighting Floyd, you go into his circus, man, and it’s a real circus. You get phone calls, people trying to contact you that you haven’t talked to in years. It comes with a lot of media attention, and it comes to a lot of craziness… it came with a lot.
But just our fight in general, it wasn’t anything I had to recover from. Training camp was probably 10 times as hard as the fight. It was really just me staying strong mentally to be able to handle that circus and after it all was over, just trying to put things back together and slow things back down and get back to normal.
CBS Local Sports: What’s the biggest challenge that Shawn Porter presents?
Berto: Shawn is a fighter that’s going to come and bring that pressure man. He’s going to bring that pressure and he’s going to show that fortitude and aggressiveness. I think that’s his main attribute. I always feel that he has advantages in every fight when it comes to a lot of fighters that try to outwork him and out-pressure him. Us in general, we’ve been preparing for that and we’re in great shape — we’re in great shape in general — so what are they going to do when you have a guy in there that hits hard, is fast, and is in great shape like you are? It’s going to be something different for him. But at the end of the day I know he’s going to come ready.
CBS Local Sports: Where do you think you have an edge over Shawn in the fight?
Berto: I mean, of course I’m faster, of course I’m stronger, experience wise, I definitely bring that to the table. I have a lot of different attributes just in general that I can bring to the table that I feel superseded his.
CBS Local Sports: Did you learn anything about Shawn from watching his fight against Keith Thurman?
Berto: Yeah I’ve seen the fight and of course like I said, Shawn comes like we know he’s going to, bringing that pressure and trying to make you work. I think that’s his downfall to though to a point. Same thing against Keith Thurman and same thing with Kell Brook, he brings a lot of that pressure, but a lot of it isn’t effective pressure. Just a lot of mauling. These guys that beat him, they make sure to land good punches. They try to make sure to land the better effective punches, and I think the judges see that at times. It’s easy to bring that pressure and kind of maul an opponent and get him tired and wear him out. But I think these other guys that were able to beat him, they were able to handle the pressure and handle the mauling and at the same time they were able to land a lot more effective punches.
CBS Local Sports: It’s been a while since you’ve been on the East Coast for a fight and first time in Brooklyn, how are you feeling about fighting at the Barclays Center?
Berto: Definitely excited about it. I started my career in New York fighting and just the energy man. Everybody keeps telling me the same thing, that the energy there is amazing. So I’m looking forward to getting back to the East Coast and feeling that energy man and going there and just putting on a show.