By Callum Carthy, courtesy of The Daily Star
ANDRE BERTO, the last man to step into the ring with Floyd Mayweather, believes Conor McGregor can defy the odds and triumph in Las Vegas on August 26.
The 33-year-old welterweight boxer spoke to The MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani this week and shared his thoughts on the most lucrative fight in combat sports history.
“When it comes to Conor I tell people ‘he’s a star’” Berto said. “Under that pressure, under those lights, under that atmosphere... he really gets energy from that, he knows how to thrive. If there’s a guy in MMA that can do it, (Conor) would be the guy.”
Despite his belief in McGregor, Berto concedes that Mayweather is a remarkably unique fighter, and if ‘The Notorious’ does not have success in the early rounds, it could be a ‘bad night’ for him.
“He’s going to have to work (Mayweather), and put (his work) into effect early, or Floyd will pick up on it and it will turn into a bad night for (Conor),” he added.
Berto also recalled the frustration he felt during his September 2015 bout with Mayweather, telling Helwani how he felt ‘vulnerable’ after seeing Mayweather slip his punches on multiple occasions.
“Throwing all these punches and missing, and out of your peripheral vision you can see that he’s looking at you whilst you’re throwing these punches. You start feeling... like you’re hanging in there,” he said.
The former WBC welterweight champion went on to describe hails Mayweather’s elusiveness, labelling him a ‘professor’ in the ring.
“He’s very very aware of what’s going on, almost obsessively,” Berto said. “From knowing every position of that ring movement-wise, looking up at the clock three or four times a round to see how much time he has, in between rounds looking at (opponents) to see if (they’re) breathing hard. He’s very observant, very aware.”
Despite boasting a record of 49 victories and zero defeats, Mayweather has come under scrutiny for what many believe is a difficulty in fighting southpaw-stanced opponents.
Berto doesn’t believe McGregor’s stance will be as big a factor in the fight as many think.
He said: “I believe at the beginning he had a lot of difficulties when it came to southpaws... but within the last few years, he’s really dialled in.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor takes place on August 26th at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. UK viewers can purchase the fight on Sky Box Office at the price of £19.95