By Keith Idec
Andre Berto didn’t call Shawn Porter a dirty fighter Tuesday.
The former WBC welterweight champion made it perfectly clear, however, that he believes Porter’s blatant use of his head had more to do with the outcome of their fight than anything. Porter knocked down Berto three times on his way to beating Berto by ninth-round technical knockout in April 2017.
Berto (31-5, 24 KOs) discussed his loss to Porter during a conference call Tuesday to promote his fight against St. Louis’ Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) on August 4 in Uniondale, New York.
“It was my first time, realistically, being in a fight and taking that type of damage when it comes to head-butts and sh*t like that,” Berto said. “I mean, he didn’t punch hard at all. He didn’t really hurt me with any punches. I was just so, you know, confused at the time on how many head-butts I could just take and take, and the referee just wasn’t saying nothing. And, you know, [trainer Virgil Hunter] was just trying to keep me calm because he knows me. He knows I was gonna go right back with some other fouling type sh*t. But he just tried to keep me in tune.”
The 34-year-old Berto, of Winter Haven, Florida, hasn’t fought in the 15 months since Porter beat him. Berto used that extended break to heal from the concussion he suffered during his loss to Porter and said Tuesday that he feels rejuvenated.
Losing to Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) didn’t make Berto seriously contemplate retirement because he feels head-butts hurt him against Porter more than anything.
“I just wanted to take some time off after that because I took some hard butts,” Berto said. “And that was the first time in all my fights, to be realistic – even though I had a few tough scraps, that was the first time I had a concussion. So I just really wanted to take some time off and heal up nice, like I needed to, and spend time with the family and really just take my mind away from it. It didn’t really affect me mentally when it comes to boxing. I just felt the fight was a lot of bullsh*t. So I just really took it and I just chalked it up and I didn’t really care about it after that. I just chalked it up and I think everybody got a chance to see and I believe everybody put Shawn Porter in a place as well where they don’t wanna fight him, either.
“It’s not because you good, it’s not because you skilled. It’s because they don’t wanna go in there and get a lot of damage from all the other bullsh*t that he does. And that’s why it took him so long to get this fight now as well [against Danny Garcia on September 8]. You know, after coming off a win [against Adrian Granados] and you’ve got Keith Thurman that’s guaranteed to fight you right after the fight. Nobody don’t wanna fight that guy, man. Nobody wanna deal with that type of, you know, mess. We’re in this career, we’re in this business to show our skills and make money. None of these guys wanna just go in there and just be in a wrestling match. You know what I’m saying?”
The Alexander-Berto bout will headline a Premier Boxing Champions doubleheader FOX will air from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT). That August 4 telecast will begin with a 10-round super middleweight match that’ll pit Brooklyn’s Peter Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs) against Detroit’s J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.