Berto vs. Lopez: BoxingScene.com's Staff Predictions
By Jake Donovan
The Al Haymon takeover continues as Premier Boxing Champions debuts on Spike TV, coming just six nights following its official launch with its March 7 edition on NBC.
Tonight's show comes live from Citizens Bank Business Arena in Ontario, California. Headlining the event, former welterweight titlist Andre Berto looks to pick up the pieces of his career as he takes on veteran spoiler Josesito Lopez, who has been in a holding pattern in recent years following key upsets and brutal losses.
Berto (29-3, 22KOs) enjoyed a successful ring return last September, outpointing Steve Upsher Chambers for his first win in three years. The muscular Floridian - who honored his parents' heritage in representing Haiti during the 2004 Athens Olympics - never quite rebounded from his title-losing effort to Victor Ortiz in their April '11 war, hitting a career slide that saw him suffer three brutal losses in a four-fight span.
Additionally, Berto was also forced to ride out a suspension after getting popped for a banned substance during pre-fight testing that canceled his planned 2012 rematch with Ortiz. In-ring punishment and injuries have slowed his career to a halt, though beginning with last year's win in Cincinnati comes hope at a rebirth.
Lopez (33-6, 19KOs) has earned a reputation as a spoiler, emerging from a rough career start to bump off - or at least bruise up - several prospects and contenders along the way. The best stretch of his career saw the Californian score wins over Marvin Cordova Jr. (21-1-1 at the time) and then-unbeaten Mike Dallas Jr., suffer a debatable points loss to unbeaten Jessie Vargas, and of course his career-best win, rallying from behind to force Victor Ortiz to quit on his stool due to a broken jaw and additional punishment after nine rounds.
With the win over Ortiz came Lopez' biggest fight of his career, albeit a fight that came with an ill-advised climb up the scales as he was led to slaughter by Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in their Sept. '12 junior middleweight bout. A return to a more suitable weight didn't entirely help, as his brave showing versus Marcos Maidana resulted in a second-straight knockout loss.
Three straight wins have followed for Lopez, although none that suggest he's all the way back among the best welterweights in the world.
Lopez has a chance to claim yet another notable scalp and remain head above water for at least one more fight. Berto is in dire need of a big win if he has any designs of ever returning to the title picture.
Who wants it more? You'll have to tune in to Spike TV to find out (Friday, 9:00pm ET). Until then, read on to see how the staff at BoxingScene.com believes the PBC on Spike TV headliner plays out.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: ANDRE BERTO vs. JOSESITO LOPEZ
Ryan Burton (Lopez SD): My gut says Berto still isn't 100% healthy and Lopez is refreshed and out hustles him to a split decision win.
Jake Donovan (Lopez late KO): The fight is more of a loser-leaves-town match than a legit return to prime time for the winner. I can see this going the same way as any of Lopez' come-from-behind wins or Berto's loss to Jesus Soto-Karass.
Takahiro Onaga (Berto UD): I think Berto takes decision in bout that fails to live up to expectation. Both fighters have been on the slide for a while and neither is likely to shine here.
Cliff Rold (Lopez KO): Both men have plenty of wear but Berto has looked borderline shot recently. Lopez is the taller man and should have the better of it inside if Berto's early speed doesn't affect him. It shouldn't.
Victor Salazar (Berto MD): This could be the best fight of the weekend. This bout will be mainly about who is fresher. Both fighters have been through their wars and the victor likely moves onto one last shot at the big time while the loser will do some deep thinking about boxing. I think Berto being the natural welterweight and slightly being the fresher of the two will squeak out a majority decision in a true crossroads fight.
Reynaldo Sanchez (Lopez SD): Berto looks good on the paper; however he has won just two of his last five fights. Lopez is a stronger guy and a win in this fight gives him the chance to return at the great events.
Alexey Sukachev (Berto UD): Both are damaged fighters but Berto is a superior boxer, while Lopez maybe isn't so strong in this weight class as at 140lb. Berto will defeat him boxing cautiously, doing just enough to slightly prevail in each fought round. Lopez won't be able to catch him clean.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by puga on 03-13-2015
bs stoppage with 5 seconds left in the roundComment by puga on 03-13-2015
lpoex stoppage...Comment by knockoutkid on 03-13-2015
picking berto in this, lopez doesnt rotate on his punches he just slaps.Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
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