Image: Welterweight boxer Andre Berto attends a news conference at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Las VegasSun/Steve Marcus
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Challenger Andre Berto will go into Saturday’s welterweight fight against Floyd Mayweather as a heavy underdog but his trainer senses that something is brewing and that boxing fans will be treated to a real “rumble”.
Berto, 32, will be aiming to end his fellow American’s perfect 48-0 record and his corner man, Virgil Hunter, has promised that his boxer is capable of fighting “over his head” in a bout scheduled for 12 rounds at the MGM Grand.
“When you get two ‘brothers’ together … you’re going to see a fight, a real fight,” Hunter told reporters while preparing Berto in his bid to claim Mayweather’s WBC and WBA welterweight titles.
“I think about Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in the ‘Thrilla in Manila’, when people thought Joe was done, and even Ali thought he was done. But what did we get? An epic heavyweight fight. Of course Joe was done but he fought over his head.
“Does Andre Berto have the capability of fighting over his head? Yes, of course he does. There are just nights when it happens. Andre Berto is going to take it over his head and that’s what he intends to do, and that’s what we have to do.”
Berto (30-3, 23 knockouts) is known for his power punching and athleticism but faces a daunting task against Mayweather, a 20-1 favourite and five-division world champion who has said that he will retire from boxing after Saturday’s bout.
“With Floyd’s I.Q., we’re not going to try to match it,” said Hunter. “We can’t, there are other elements that make things successful. I’ve just got this feeling … there is something brewing in the air.
“There’s some personal stuff going on here. Trust me, it’s going to be a rumble. I’ve seen Floyd’s Plan B. I’ve seen him go to war. I’ve seen him get hit, knocked back in a rumble with guys bigger than him.
“I know he’s got a Plan B. I’m not going to be swayed by his skill, that I.Q. skill. This fight is going to be fought from way deep down.”
Mayweather’s trainer and father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., who frequently recites pithy poems about his fighters’ opponents, predicted that his son would likely bow out of boxing with a knockout on Saturday.
“I really think Floyd is coming to fight,” the 62-year-old said. “I know Berto’s coming to fight. One thing I’ve seen from Berto is that he has no defence — and he’s messing with a defensive whiz.
“I definitely think Floyd will trap him somewhere along the way. Floyd respects Berto and is not overlooking him, but he might just stop him, it’s very possible.”
Mayweather Sr. also weighed in with some teasing poetry.
“If you want to get beat, Floyd’s the man to meet,” he smiled. “Your hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see, because he’s the man with the plan. He’s got a plan to put you on your pants.
“So don’t be shocked if you get stopped by combinations galore. Look no closer than the last shot.”
(Editing by Andrew Both)
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