High Stakes | 3 Keys to Victory for Andre Berto

Mayweather Berto - Esther Lin (2)
Photo by Esther Lin

No one thinks Andre Berto can beat Mayweather, and they have a point. Mayweather is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and has seen a lot in his day. But believe it or not, there are a few important tips Berto can take into consideration if he wants to win.

Berto should not enter the ring under false pretenses or in a state of denial. He’s facing the best (possibly ever) and he needs to understand the magnitude of the challenge in front of him. If he thinks he can beat Mayweather, that’s great. He needs that kind of confidence.

However, Berto cannot beat Mayweather with wishful thinking. He cannot believe he deserves to win and expect it to happen without putting up a smart fight. What Berto must do is accept his reality; he must know and accept the things Mayweather does best, and try to take them away from him.

With that said, here are three keys to victory Andre Berto needs if he wants to dethrone the pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather.

1. Pressure

SHOSPORTS-Berto vs Upsher-9024
Photo by Stephanie Trapp

Putting the pressure on Floyd Mayweather can work if you don’t allow him to break you down first. Andre Berto needs to keep this in mind when he’s in the ring with the champ. What I’ve learned in my experience sparring is that when you get in the ring with someone that’s more experienced than you, there’s two things you have to do: outsmart and outwork them.

Now, if you’re lacking in the experience department, go with the latter and outwork them. Mayweather needs time and pace. Berto needs to work on staying constantly active and outwork his opponent—he certainly has the youth and stamina to do so.

Even if Berto isn’t landing as accurately as Mayweather, he can win some rounds if the judges perceive him to be more aggressive and willing to come forward. Bottom line: Berto has to make himself look good to win rounds.

2. Jab-Cross
(And Maybe an Uppercut)

Andre Berto - Doug Murray-Icon SMIA
Photo by Doug Murray/Icon SMIA

It’s no secret that uppercuts are Andre Berto’s best punches. His knockout reels on YouTube will attest to that. He can’t however, expect to walk up to Floyd Mayweather and throw one of those things off the break. Berto will need to quickly figure out how to close the distance with Mayweather and work his way to the inside.

Fighters are sometimes so eager to take Mayweather out that they make it harder on themselves by neglecting the basics. One of the most fundamental combinations in boxing is the “1-2” (jab cross). One of the best ways to tag Mayweather is throw that combination and follow it up with a jab.

Miguel Cotto tried it and it worked because Mayweather was expecting a hook. Pressure also worked well for Marcos Maidana until Mayweather broke him down. If Berto can time the jab-cross effectively, he can tag Mayweather and at the very least, follow it up with an uppercut.

3. Virgil Hunter

Virgil Hunter - Irdris Erba
Photo by Idris Erba

Trainers can’t win fights but they can be an invaluable source of wisdom. Many professionals don’t have the privilege of a trainer that’s smart, wise and truly cares for the wellbeing of his fighter. Virgil Hunter is one of those rare trainers that will try to see as much as he can outside the ring to help his fighter win in it.

Andre Berto needs to trust in himself and Hunter. He’ll have a critical minute in between each round to check in with Hunter and make any necessary adjustments. While Berto is the only one who can win the fight, it sure does help having one of the best trainers in the industry. However, as the saying goes, you can lead a thirsty horse to water but you can’t make him drink it.

Berto has been working with Hunter for a little while now but it will be interesting to see how their relationship has grown over time. More importantly, we’ll get a real understanding of Berto’s focus and willingness to listen to his corner.


Header photo by Naoki Fukada

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