Specimen, Acumen: Robert Guerrero Vs. Andre Berto Preview And Prediction

There exists a nether zone, a big one, at welterweight after anyone named Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, and anyone who isn't them. Kell Brook lives there in that secondary zone. Devon Alexander lives there. Those two might fight one another soon, so they're unlikely to ask for sugar from each other in this neighborhood. Also in the neighborhood are Andre Berto and Robert Guerrero, and they also will not ask for sugar from each other. The winner of Guerrero-Berto Saturday on HBO: He's a man who could be in line for a megabucks fight against Mayweather upon the moment that Mayweather again deigns to, like, you know, FIGHT. And because Guerrero-Berto is matched competitively, it's hard to figure the winner. Best not help the other guy with a cup of sugar if you can avoid it.

Berto is the more naturally, physically advantaged one. He's also the one coming off a positive peeformance enhancing drug test, a result he writes off to a contaminated supplement, and whether you believe him or not shapes whether you think he can win or not Saturday. Guerrero is naturally smaller, but he's naturally composed of less fissile elements.

Berto ha been inactive more than a year, benefiting as he has from California agreeing to grant him a license despite his positive drug test via the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency. You will find a good number of people who contend he ought to have suffered some kind of penalty for that positive test, and those people are all mentally sound in extremis. But, per some recent discussion of what a positive test means these days to Golden Boy Promotions, he returns post haste to the boxing ring as an opponent most valid on pure competitive merits for Guerrero. Berto is an authentic welterweight with authentic power and authentic speed pre-PED test, and he is more than willing to go round and round with comparable mid-tier welterweights, be they Victor Ortiz (close loss) or Luis Collazo (close win). He was HBO's favored son, the one who never lived up to expectations. But he is a favored son not far removed from his status, a clueless pure athlete who cannot jab or tie up on the inside or other basics who on any given night could make any welterweight regret choosing him as an opponent just on sheer genetics.

Guerrero is an exceeding ambitious lad who has found a bit of a ryhthym in recent fights after a career of inconsistency, eager as he is to snatch the big purses by fighting the likes of Mayweather or Pacquiao. He just keeps moving up in weight, and, incredibly, it keeps working out for him. His welterweight debut earlier this year against Selchuk Aydin was a closely fought bout, sure, but Guerrero, outpunched and outsized, found a way to outwork and outbox Aydin both, and now he's a legit welter as a result. He stands out in no way other than his willpower, and when he decides to flex it. When he flexes it, he looks like one of the best boxers alive. When he coasts, he is just some boxer or the other.

Give me Guerrero on technical boxing ability and willpower. Guerrero tends to fight up or down to his competition, and Berto is the kind of opponent who ought to get him fighting up. He can use boxing ability to time Berto, to overcome his physical advantages. Berto has not done antyhing lately to make me believe in his ability to capitalize on those physical edges. He's just some aimless specimen, floating around in space, capable of winning because he's a specimen but not much more.

It could be a good, tight fight, though. Guerrero edged by Aydin, the first real welter he had fought, because he outworked him and outboxed him. Berto hits harder and is faster than Aydin. He also doesn't have the stamina of Aydin, however, and Guerrero is the kind of boxer who can edge bouts by just trying harder. That is what I see here. Guerrero, by close decision.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.