In what he claims will be the last fight of his professional boxing career, Floyd Mayweather is set to face Andre Berto on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It’s Mayweather’s 12th consecutive bout at the venue, and the result will likely be the same as the others.
Mayweather disappointed much of the boxing world when he pegged Berto as his next, and potentially final, opponent. Berto, 33, has lost three of his last six fights, and he’s a heavy underdog against the undefeated champion.
Bovada.lv lists Mayweather as a -3500 favorite, giving Berto +1200 betting odds to pull off the upset. While no one seems to be giving the Florida native much of a shot, he’s expressed a lot of confidence in his chances.
“The thing with Floyd is, most guys he fights aren’t as athletic as he is. But I am… If you come at Floyd fast but don’t have a plan and don’t have good footwork, it’s too easy for him. If you have a guy that’s as athletic as him, it gives him problems,” Berto told boxingnewsonline.net.
“There is a lot more to me than just walking guys down. I have speed, I have power, I have a crazy uppercut, I can move to the side. There are a lot of ways I can get it done.”
Berto certainly has more power than Mayweather. Going 30-3 in his career, the welterweight has picked up 23 of those wins by knockout. In his most recent fight, Berto delivered a sixth-round TKO to established veteran Josesito Lopez.
Because of his aggressive style, Berto could make Saturday’s fight more exciting than some of Mayweather’s recent tests against tougher opponents. The Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-bout drew a lot of criticism for being “boring,” and Mayweather’s style hasn’t lent itself to creating a lot of exciting fights.
While Berto might plan on being aggressive, Mayweather is likely to thwart his plan. He’s one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time, and even at 38 years old he possesses the speed to avoid letting Berto do much damage.
No matter who he faces, Mayweather makes it very difficult for his opponents to land any kind of significant blows. Pacquiao connected on just 19 percent of his punches on May 2. Marcos Maidana landed just 22 percent of his punches in both 2014 fights against Mayweather. Canelo Alvarez was expected to give Mayweather one of the toughest tests of his career when they met two years ago, but Mayweather dodged 78 percent of the punches that were sent his way.
Mayweather isn’t known for being a big puncher, but holes in Berto’s defense will allow him to inflict damage on his opponent. Robert Guerrero defeated Berto in 2012, just a few months before losing to Mayweather, and he finds it hard to believe that Mayweather won’t win.
“Floyd really has no weaknesses,” Guerrero told RingTV.com. “The only thing that can possibly derail Floyd is that he might get old overnight. I wouldn’t say that’s a weakness but a possible scenario that I highly doubt will happen. ”
Mayweather’s recent fights do little to suggest the bout won’t go the distance. His defensive style, and picking his spots to be aggressive, have helped him win six straight fights by decision. But the circumstances surrounding the fight could increase the chances of an early-round knockout.
Many boxing experts don’t believe Mayweather will call it quits just yet, and winning via KO or TKO would likely help boost Mayweather’s potential 2016 pay-per-view numbers. Mayweather could look to silence detractors who criticize his cautious and tactical style, creating more buzz surrounding a potential rematch with Pacquiao, by going for a knockout against Berto.
Berto might win a few rounds here and there, but going the distance will be an accomplishment for the underdog.
Mayweather by unanimous decision