On The Beak – Staff
Current British welterweight champion Frankie Gavin, who outfoxed former world titlist Junior Witter to claim the belt in London three weeks ago, has analysed the high-profile 147lb match-up between the bruising Andre Berto (below left) and the skillful southpaw Robert Guerrero (below right). The two American-based fighters box on Saturday, November 24 and Gavin has backed Berto to win via knockout despite Guerrero’s technical prowess.
“It’s going to be really close and I certainly wouldn’t want to be putting any of my money on it. I’ve seen Guerrero’s last two fights and he’s quality. He absolutely took Michael Katsidis apart, was far too good, a different level, and he was way too slick for Selcuk Aydin last time. To step up through so many weights as he has shows he’s one of the best around. You can only get away with that if you’re really top drawer.
“His biggest strength is his boxing skills. I love the way he picks his shots and forces his openings rather than just waits for them to happen. He can make you miss, then counter accurately, by darting in and out. He’s got fantastic uppercuts and I like the way he phases his attacks; throws a combo, then re-sets and goes again.
“Power wise, he didn’t look too dangerous last time out against Aydin but Selcuk’s a really big puncher. I boxed Selcuk twice in the amateurs. Second time, he got disqualified for repeatedly kicking, butting, elbowing…. basically everything you ain’t supposed to do! Perhaps that’s why Guerrero was wary and didn’t take too many risks. Still, he had the strength to keep Aydin away so he’ll probably have the strength to fend off Berto, provided he keeps it cute. Don’t count on it.
“For me, Guerrero’s downfall is that he voluntarily chooses to go to war, in fights where he’s the better technician and winning easily. He can get drawn in when he doesn’t need to and, other times, he chooses to row. It’s great to watch, I’m not complaining, but it might not win him this fight.
“My advice to him would be to try to keep control from the centre of the ring, dictate the pace and keep off the ropes at all costs. Being shorter, Berto will come looking to ‘put it on him’ – he’s stronger and better on the inside – so Guerrero needs to constantly move and counter; give him angles. Berto’s a career-long welterweight yet he’s never been stopped so, if Guerrero’s to pull this off, it’ll definitely be a points job.
“I’ve not seen too much of Berto but what I have has been impressive. He’s a short, stocky type who reminds me a lot of an orthodox Timothy Bradley. He always turns up in terrific shape and, though he’s not the tallest, he seems really quick, raiding in and out. I think he’ll be the heavier puncher; not a real blowout merchant but hard enough to gain anyone’s respect.
“He’s definitely the more natural welterweight and the more proven welterweight. He’s been fighting there at world title level for over four years now and only Victor Ortiz has beaten him in that great fight when they were both down twice. He’s rebounded since and picked up another world title [leaving Jan Zaveck retiring on his stool after five rounds last November]. He always seems to find away to win. You gotta respect that.
“His downside is that he’s a bit short for the weight and, while he can be really explosive, at times he fades off and admires his work. Even now, he’d not get near Floyd Mayweather. To win, he needs to set a hot pace that’ll disrupt Guerrero’s rhythm. He’s marginally younger, certainly fresher and naturally bigger.
“It’s a really tricky one that’s basically there to be won by whoever delivers on the night. But, as you’re forcing me, I’ll go with Berto on a late stoppage. I think Guerrero is gonna stand and have a fight with him and that’ll be his downfall.”