The CBZ Newswire

Porter Eclipses Berto in Battle of 2 Ex-Welter Champs for WBC Eliminator!

by on Apr.24, 2017, under Boxing News

By “Ice” John Scully

World-class trainer and former light heavyweight contender

 

BROOKLYN, NY, April 20, 2017 — As someone who has known of and watched these two men since they were young kids, with Porter boxing at the Ohio State Fair in the 1990′s and Berto at the National Golden Gloves in 2002, I had more than a passing interest in the fight and was eager to see it in person.

Although I perceived Andre as having seen better days while Shawn is much closer to his own prime, I still felt that Andre’s speed, ability and gameness would help make it a competitive and entertaining battle for as a long as it lasted.

My biggest question going in was whether Andre would be able to withstand the kind of pace that Shawn generally sets and the type of physicality that he brings into the ring with him.

Either way, though, all things from each of their histories pointed to a night of entertaining back and forth warfare.

Settling in at ringside, after mingling in the Barclay Center corridors with the likes of Gerry Cooney, Eric Kelly, Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs, Michael “The Silk” Olijade, ring announcer David Diamante and former unbeaten heavyweight and current entrepreneur George “Monk” Foreman III (he owns magnificent gyms in both Boston and New York City) , I’m just in time for the main event ring walks.

I was immediately touched at the way Shawn and his father-trainer Kenny stood facing each other in their corner, forehead to forehead, during the pre-fight introductions. If anyone ever needs to see an example of what kind of bond can be developed between a boxer and his trainer, all they would need to do is take a look at that moment between Kenny and his son.

I got the distinct feeling from watching them that Shawn might actually attempt to fight to the death if his father urged him to do so in between rounds of a fight.

The crowd is pretty hyped up for the fight, it sounds like, and Berto’s pre-fight body language implies that he, is as well.

The subsequent action in the ring, although at times a bit sloppy, does not disappoint.

 

ROUND ONE:

By the end of the round, two things were clear to me. First, when Shawn got in close and made it a rough and tumble type of affair, Andre wasn’t liking it. Some boxers put pressure on opponents but they do so in a way that leaves them open to counters on the inside. For the first round, though, Shawn was mugging Andre in close, making it ugly and physically demanding in a way that Andre’s frustrated facial expressions told me wasn’t to his liking.

Inside the last minute, though, Andre came alive with not one, but two very good and obvious right hands that landed flush on Shawn’s head. Clearly, Berto came to fight.

 

ROUND TWO.

With a minute and ten seconds to go in the round, Shawn brutally mauls Andre and it is very clear to me that Berto is not liking it. At all. It’s extremely early in the match and Berto most definitely needs to either accept that this is the style of fight he’s in for tonight and get into it, or he’d better do something to counteract it.

 

ROUND THREE.

Round three sees a bit of a role reversal. For the first two rounds it was Shawn being more of the aggressor and Andre being a bit hesitant, but here for the first minute they have switched places. About a minute into the round, it appears Shawn realizes he was more effective in the first two rounds and he attempts to duplicate it here, only to run into a couple sharp and fast counter shots from Berto that cause him to back away to apparently regroup.

Berto’s best round so far.

 

ROUND FOUR.

At around the halfway point of the round, Shawn is digging hard and relentlessly, especially to the body. He’s setting a furious pace and work rate, only to see it interrupted by the referee so the doctor can check on a possible cut on Andre’s face — likely from an inadvertent head butt.

The last 15 seconds of the round sees both former champs trading furiously.

There’s rough inside fighting, head butts and an exciting finish to end the round.  It’s that kind of fight.

 

ROUND FIVE.

Shawn gets into the pace quickly, mauling Andre to the ropes. There is a definite pattern unfolding here. Shawn looks almost unstoppable and is definitely at his best when he throws caution to the wind and lets everything fly ,while trapping Andre against the ropes.

Body language and facial expression are very, very revealing if a fighter allows them to be, and from where I sit, it is extremely obvious that Andre is showing signs of breaking down. Sometimes it is as mentally punishing as physically when an opponent does not allow you the room and space to get your shots off, to get your game plan in motion. Shawn simply, and very wisely, isn’t allowing Andre a lot of time to move, think and regroup.

It’s definitely a good round for Shawn.

 

ROUND SIX.

It’s a slow paced round, with both guys waiting more than they have thus far. with lots of movement from each. Its almost as it the timing of each guy has temporarily short circuited. Maybe each guy feels the need to conserve a bit now in order to put out a stronger effort later in the fight?

 

ROUND SEVEN.

Shawn is still comparatively conservative. Or he’s gassed out — it’s hard to tell. If he’s exhausted, he’s way too poised and experienced to visually show everyone in the building that this is the case.

 

ROUND EIGHT.

Early into round 8, Shawn EXPLODES. It’s almost like he’s channeling Marvelous Marvin Hagler versus Tommy Hearns all those years ago. Caution to the wind, seemingly going for the most dramatic of endings now, Shawn lets go with a relentless onslaught and Andre is voluntarily backing to the ropes. Shawn no longer has to work for it. Andre’s legs aren’t as sturdy as one needs to be inside a ring with this version of Shawn Porter.

Showing a championship level heart, Andre regroups and attempts to hold Shawn at bay with the biggest shots he can muster, but Porter’s doggedness takes all the play away from him. The tide and momentum is strongly in Shawn’s favor at the bell.

 

ROUND NINE.

Shawn is again going in hard. Andre is trying to battle back and at some point the two clash heads. The difference between them now is that Shawn doesn’t appear to be bothered by the clashes, while Andre is visibly upset and affected by them. More than once, he has made small gestures, as if to let someone know — either his corner or the ref — that he is distressed by the head butts and, more than likely, the rough manner in which Shawn is now going about his attack.

Shawn seems to sense that end is near. During the course of an usually physical fight, generally both guys become physically and mentally — if not emotionally — connected to each other. Each man, especially the guy with the better conditioning and mental state at a particular moment, can feel the ebbs and flows between himself and his opponent — almost like some sort of built in sonar.

It appears that Shawn’s inner sonar has alerted him that it’s time to go all out and so he does, landing a very crisp left hook near the ropes that shakes Andre. The fight is stopped, with Berto weakened in a corner.

It’s a good stoppage. Some may have wanted to see Berto given a count and allowed one more chance to right himself, but in my eyes it was a good, if not particularly explosive, stoppage. Shawn’s momentum was skyrocketing at that moment, while Andre’s was waning.  Overall, there were good efforts from both.

Immediately after the fight, Keith Thurman entered the ring and was interviewed alongside Shawn, with both men indicating they are very open to a rematch of their previous fight (won by Keith on a 12 round decision in June of last year).

In a division literally full of potentially great match ups, Thurman-Porter II is as good as any of them right now.

 

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