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Knockout Nation: Berto Wins, Mayweather-Mosley, Pacquiao-Cotto, Prince Hamed

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Berto Scores Lopsided Decision Over Urango

WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto proved he was a few classes above powerful Juan Urango last Saturday (May 30), winning a pedestrian, wide unanimous decision in his third defense.

Although moving up from 140 pounds, the tank-built Urango had no qualms about being the aggressor, immediately stalking after Berto while looking to land hard shots to the body. Meanwhile, Berto made good on his AllHipHop.com interview promise to “test” the challenger’s chin by ripping flashy hook combinations to the head.

But Urango kept plodding forward. Berto, perhaps fearful of another wild slugfest like the Luis Collazo bout, constantly clinched whenever the Colombian got within striking range.

This “shock ‘em and lock ‘em” strategy was not fan-friendly and elicited constant verbal warnings from the referee. But with no points being deducted, the tactic ensured the limited Urango would not get on track.

As the fight moved into the later rounds, Urango carried the demeanor of a fighter frustrated and without answers on how to attack his foe. Because of the holding and being spun in different directions by Berto’s movement, the 140 pound titleholder was content to flurry to the body in clinches.

Final scorecards for the bout read 117-111, and 118-110 twice for Berto, whose records improves to 25-0, 19 KOs. Juan Urango falls to 21-2-1, 16 KOs.

In the post-fight interview, the young champ critiqued his performance and made a declaration that he’s ready for the elite of the division.

“I thought I did all right. In a few spots I thought I got a little lazy,” Berto explained to HBO’s Max Kellerman. “I got lazy in some spots because I kinda felt it was coming a little too easy. But you know he is a tough guy. A hard puncher. A little bulldog. We just used our boxing a little bit….I think I am ready. I think I showed a lot in my last few fights. I think I showed heart. I think I showed I can bang with the best. And at the same time I showed I can box and stick to the game plan. I’m turning into a complete fighter now. There’s more to come. Always more to come. I’m going to watch this tape, learn from it, and go back to the drawing board.”

Last Saturday’s result puts the young champ in an interesting spot. Undoubtedly, this was not Berto’s breakout fight, and it won’t entice any of the big names (Mosley, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto) to bite with all the huge dollar signs swirling between them. With the possibility of getting in one more fight before the year is out, who can offer an intriguing, challenging matchup for Berto?

In our interview, I suggested Zab Judah, who is set to face Matthew Hatton in his next bout. Assuming he’s successful, both guys could greatly benefit with a win over each other. For Berto, Zab would be the biggest, most recognizable name on his ledger. For Judah, he’d pick up a belt at welterweight and be right back in the mix.

Additionally, if Clottey upsets Cotto in a few weeks, a Berto-Clottey showdown would partially unify the division. We’ll see where his management team takes him.

On the undercard, Kermit Cintron redeemed himself from his recent career missteps by outpointing previously undefeated prospect Alfredo Angulo.

Cintron dominated early with a snapping jab and counter hooks against an unusually listless Angulo, who was content to simply follow Cintron around and walk into counter traps.

However, Angulo had several chances late to turn the tide as Cintron began to fade under the constant pressure. But the former welterweight titleholder smartly held when his stamina failed, and eeked out the 12th to secure the decision.

Final scorecards read 116-112, all for Cintron, who raises his record to 31-2-1, 27 KOs. Alfredo Angulo suffers his first defeat and falls to 15-1, 12 KOs.

Mosley-Mayweather, Over 10 Years in the Making?

Welterweight champion Shane Mosley pulled no punches two weeks ago in calling out long-time rival Floyd Mayweather. Sugar Shane bluntly accused Mayweather of ducking him and challenged him to a megafight. See below:

Mayweather was obviously not amused, and responded in kind.

“Since Shane is running his mouth and trying to be disrespectful, he just moved down the hit list,” Mayweather retorted. “One thing I promise my fans, they’re all going to get it one by one.”

The “hit list” is part of Mayweather’s newly signed 5-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions. According to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, 3 verified names on the list are Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Shane Mosley.

What many people may not know is that Mosley and Mayweather have been waging a war of words and callouts for over 10 years. In 1998, a young Floyd Mayweather tried to secure a fight with Mosley, who was then an undefeated champion and knockout artist at lightweight. Perhaps wanting the fight to build up, Mosley turned down the still relatively unknown Mayweather.

In 2000, Mayweather again tried calling out Shane. But Mosley had a bigger, multi-million dollar fish to fry in Oscar De La Hoya. In his signature fight, Mosley jumped 2 weight classes to welterweight and beat the Golden Boy in a classic performance.

On the other hand, Mayweather slowly built his name up from 2001-2005, most notably with wins over the late Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo (2X). In January ’05, Mayweather again called out Mosley, who was rumored to be returning to welterweight after decisive decision losses to Winky Wright.

Nothing ever materialized, as Mosley only had 2 fights in 2005 against lower-level competition, in part to readjust himself to welterweight after years away.

But in 2006, Mosley jumped back to 154 for two lucrative fights against Fernando Vargas. The entertaining scraps resulted in back to back knockouts for Mosley. At this time, both men had their best chance to date to face each other, as Mayweather had several possible PPV dates in 2006.

Unfortunately, Mosley cited a commitment to his family to take a vacation as a reason not to face Mayweather. Additionally, he likely had to the foresight to see his recent weight-jumping could be his undoing against Floyd. Shane’s comments on this matter can be heard at the 8:50 mark, and he reiterated his stance later in the year after easily KO’ing Vargas in their July 2006 rematch.

So here we are in 2009, with both men well into their 30s. What could possibly prevent this fight from happening now?

Manny Pacquiao.

It’s no secret that Mayweather’s July bout with Juan Manuel Marquez is setup for a blockbuster, record-breaking showdown with Pacquiao. With that fight potentially on the table, Mosley will remain out in the cold.

But if Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum (Top Rank) plays hardball at the negotiation table, we could possibly see Mayweather-Mosley before the year is out.

Arum is currently trying to entice Pacquiao to face Miguel Cotto, who must first get by Joshua Clottey later this month. Since Cotto is also a Top Rank fighter, that fight would be far easier for Arum to make then dealing with Mayweather).

Floyd can equally turn to Mosley, also promoted by Golden Boy, to make an in-house megafight. The two winners could then face off by 2010.

Confused?

Such is life in the world of boxing. Preferably, I’d like to see Mayweather-Pacquiao while both guys are red hot (assuming Mayweather handles business next month). In the meantime, Mosley has the option of a fan-friendly barn burner with young gun Andre Berto, or possibly the winner of Clottey-Cotto.

Whatever happens, as long as these talented fighters face off, boxing fans win.

Throwback Fight of the Week: Naseem Hamed vs. Steve Robinson (September 30, 1995)

Before his over the top debut in the States, a brash Naseem Hamed had to first prove to the UK that he was not a hype job.

The self-styled Prince made that point when he challenged veteran Steve Robinson for his WBO featherweight title.

Before Robinson’s shocked hometown fans in Cardiff, Wales, Hamed toyed with Robinson, dominating him on the backfoot and moving forward with huge, single power punches.

Hamed showed no mercy on Robinson, demoralizing him with verbal and showmanship taunts before the referee stopped the bout in the 8th.

Hamed’s superb footwork and reflexes were on display, as he kept Robinson at the end of his lethal left hand, and was easily able to slip any offensive attempts.

Robinson never again challenged for a world title after this demoralizing loss, and went 11-7-1 before retiring in 2002 with a record of 32-17-2.

Hamed went on to become an international star, finally making a highly-anticipated U.S. debut in a 1997 4 round shootout with Kevin Kelly.

Unfortunately as Hamed’s star rose, his in-ring skills took a steep decline. Splitting with longtime trainer Brendan Ingle, Hamed’s reflexes, footwork, and punch accuracy dulled. By the late 90’s he had become a reckless, chin in the air fighter who routinely began to suffer knockdowns due to his unorthodox style.

These infractions came to a head in 2001, when he was soundly beaten in the biggest fight of his career against Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera. After the clear points defeat, Hamed lost his will to compete at the elite level. He fought once more in 2002, winning a lackluster decision before abruptly retiring with a record of 36-1, 30 KOs.

Today, fans can only speculate what could have been if the Prince would have remained the focused, improving version that was on display that ’95 September night against Steve Robinson.

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