In This Corner

In This Corner

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Fight Plan: Andre Berto vs. Floyd Mayweather

Most boxing fans don't give Andre Berto much of a shot at winning a fight with the P4P best Floyd Mayweather. He's 3-3 in his last six fights, and that includes being knocked out by Jesus Soto Karass who brought a 27-8-2 record into the fight. Soto Karass stopped him in the 12th round of their 2013 fight. That was two years ago and Berto has won his last two since being upset by journeyman Soto Karass.

In his last fight he stopped Josesito Lopez. He's a decent stepping stone fighter. Berto stopped him in the 6th round. That doesn't erase a loss to Soto Karass, but stopping Lopez half way through the fight shows he could've beat Soto Karass. Berto took a beating at the hands of Robert Guerrero. He had moments in that fight when he looked pretty good, but for the most part he was dominated. Guerrero had a reach advantage that he properly used. 

In the upcoming fight against Mayweather, Berto will again find himself at a disadvantage in reach. Robert Guerrero used the reach advantage and boxed Berto from the outside with ease. Guerrero also fought Mayweather, but Floyd gave him a boxing lesson. The reach advantage wasn't there for Guerrero when he fought Mayweather. The hand speed of Floyd was the difference, as he hit Guerrero whenever he wanted. What can Berto really do?

What's Right and What's Wrong

Andre Berto is a fighter that likes to move forward. That will be a must when he faces Mayweather. The other things he does are no good against Mayweather. Berto can hit hard and has decent hand speed. Styles make fights and the style match up is all wrong for Berto. That's why Floyd picked him in the first place. He knows that Berto tries to stay right in the face on his opponent, but he keeps his guard low, doesn't use good angles, and is right there to be found with a straight right hand. What is Floyd's favorite punch?

He needs to come forward like he always does. His guard needs to be high and he must mix in some head movement. He is short compared to Mayweather, and his hand speed isn't as quick as Floyd's. If his guard is high it protects him as he comes in, and his head should be moving and not staying still on the center line. Mayweather would have to hit a moving target instead of one that sits there waiting. 

What's Mayweather Going to Do?

We all know that Floyd Mayweather is a counter puncher. He hits and moves, or hits and goes into the Philly Shell defense. When he goes into the shell it's a way of defending, but not having to exit the combat zone. From the shell he's like a snake coiled up ready to strike. If he's able to sit up in the shell and counter, then there isn't nearly enough pressure being put on him. Nobody ever said Mayweather had powerful punches, but when he's moving back those punches have even less sting. 

If Berto fights the way he always has there'll be zero chance for him to win. Floyd picked him because he tailor made for Floyd's style. Floyd hasn't had a knockout since Ortiz, and you can bet Berto was picked to give him that shot. Mayweather will use good angles to turn him and hit him with the straight right hand all night. Berto stays there hoping to evade and block punches, but he stays parked in the combat zone. Floyd knows that he stays right there, and doesn't move his head off the center line. 

The Game Plan for Berto

When the opening bell rings Andre Berto should go right after Floyd. He might catch him off guard. When I say go after him I mean moving in quick. Head movement keeping his head off the center line. If he doesn't get there quick enough Floyd will fire away, but it'll be defensive rather than offensive to keep Berto outside where he wants him to be.  

If Berto is moving the head he won't eat as many punches. If Mayweather gets outside he'll have to move in on him relentlessly cutting the ring off. Floyd will move around until he thinks Berto has lost steam. If he can't catch him or can't maintain the chase, then he needs to find the right distance for Floyd to come at him. He's still using head movement, but now standing his ground rather than moving in. Now he's looking to counter, so he's using good pivot while looking to get him opened up.  

If he can turn Mayweather, then the hooks and uppercuts will be there. If Floyd tries to keep him at the proper distance for him, then Berto must move back in using the head movement and high guard. Andre Berto will be backing him up while he attacks, and when he's not attacking he finds the proper distance and rests to go in again. 

1. Constant pressure
2. The hands are high protecting the chin. 
3. Head movement. 
4. Turn him and find the angles. 
5. Rest, reset, resume. (Keeping the right distance) 

If Mayweather keeps him at the end of his punches then Berto isn't doing things right. The movement would look similar to those of Joe Frazier or Mike Tyson. If he's turning him properly then it will look like what Pacquiao did to Cotto and Margarito. He has to maintain the constant aggression, and if he's unable to do so, then he has to have made Floyd not just want to come after him. 

Notice the way Frazier attacks Ali. This is a heavyweight version of what Berto must do. Frazier kept the pressure up and kept moving in on Muhammad Ali. It was the only way he could have won this fight. If he'd tried to box him from the outside, then Ali would have killed him. If he tried to stand in the combat zone like Berto does, then Ali would have killed him. It was the movement that won him the fight. Berto can hit hard. He's not going to get those chances if he doesn't move Mayweather open. It does not take a miracle to add head movement to the game plan. There's no way he wins without it. 

The peek-a-boo style would be the best approach to combat Mayweather. If this style is properly used then all of the things from the list above will happen. The pressure, the head movement, the angles, and opening for the power punches. The style works best against a fighter who throws long straight shots. Like the straight right hand that Mayweather tries to throw. A quick move gets the peek-a-boo fighter inside the arm. That is where he wants to be to throw the power shots. 

When Mayweather is moving and punching it opens everything up. Berto must do something similar or just like my plan for him. It will work because I've seen Mayweather's tendencies when pressure is applied. He will move and try to keep the distance. Pacquiao put Mayweather on the run and even got inside, but he didn't create the angles you noticed in the Margarito fight. At times he was able to turn Mayweather, but he was never able to open him up or keep him cornered. 

The fight against Victor Ortiz was an incredible fight. From a fans point of view it was all you could ask for, But Berto isn't a fan. He was in there toe-to-toe with Ortiz slugging it out. With proper head movement he could have caught Ortiz getting wild and sloppy, but the problem is he didn't have any movement with the head or otherwise. He stood in the pocket and threw bombs with his opponent. Make sure you realize walking someone down, and just standing in the combat zone are not the same thing. Floyd is not going to stand in the pocket, and if Berto tries to move in and stay there Floyd will kill him. If Berto fights him like he did Ortiz then he'll eat the straight right hand all night. 

Floyd is crafty, he's agile, and quick. You hear fighters say he's faster than they thought. If you give him time to plot his moves you're beat. The pressure has to be nonstop. Fighters start guessing and trying to anticipate his next move, but if they were applying the right kind of pressure he'd make the mistakes. The speed isn't negated by out thinking him. You close the gap on the speed by keeping the pressure up. He's got to stay on him, but not like he did with Ortiz when he sat in the pocket with no movement. When he gets inside the arm the hooks and uppercuts will be there. 

Good luck Andre Berto - I hope this info finds you. 

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