Not many people think Andre Berto can beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In fact, the line-setters at Bovada.lv have established the 32-year-old Floridian as a prohibitive underdog, requiring an outlay of $3,000 on Mayweather to earn a $100 profit — while a $100 wager on Berto would recoup a $1,100 profit in the event of a colossal Saturday night upset.
Nevertheless, while the masses don’t expect much, Berto remains upbeat.
“I don’t take time out of my day to sit down and look at the odds and see what other people think. If that was the case I shouldn’t have made it out of where I came from, because making it out of there is slim to none,” he said. “End of the day it’s what I believe and what my team believes. I have that rare combination of speed and power and I’m in incredible shape.
“I’m younger, I’m hungry and it’s a great recipe for victory.”
With that in mind, here are five reasons why Berto might actually be right.
1. Big Show Experience: While it’s true that there’s nothing in boxing that compares to standing across from Mayweather at the MGM Grand, when Saturday night arrives it won’t be the first time Berto has been on a big stage. He was a decorated amateur, ultimately represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics, and he’s been a two-time title-holder as a pro — inning seven of eight championship fights.
So while there are many reasons he might lose, stage fright shouldn’t be one of them.
2. Hunger: It’s an intangible quality, and one of the reasons Mayweather is still the best fighter in the world at age 38 — a point by which nearly every all-time great had either quit or become an also-ran. Mayweather sill trains with the intensity he did as a 25-year-old.
Still, the urgency created by a decade-plus in the highest tax bracket doesn’t compare to that of a guy whose family emigrated from Haiti, who went back to his father’s homeland after the 2010 earthquake, and whose career was hanging by a thread after a failed drug test and a three-losses-in-four-fights stretch from 2011 to 2013.
3. Virgil Hunter: The trainer has hit the mainstream thanks to successes with fighters like Andre Ward, and he’s reached a broader audience with appearances as a ringside analyst on fights in Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions television series. But those who’ve followed the game for a while have long respected his ability to formulate game plans that have troubled his fighters’ opponents.
He’s suggested his aim for Saturday is to disrupt Mayweather’s massive boxing IQ, so Berto may at least arrive to the ring with a strategy different than ones that have failed “Money’s” past victims.
4. Athletic Pedigree: A two-time professional world champion and a former Olympian, Berto might not be the toughest guy in his own family. His brother and a sister have been professional mixed martial arts fighters, and his father, Dieuseul, competed in UFC 10 back when Andre was just 13.
“Mentally, I’m right there with him,” Dieuseul Berto said. “I never said ‘him’ it’s always ‘we’ because we are all in their spiritually. Shock the world means stop Mayweather. That’s the plan.”
5. Activity: Berto is six years younger than Mayweather, has never been accused of being in less than peak condition, and, when jab comes to hook, he’s a pretty active guy in there, too. In fact, where Mayweather averages just 39 punches thrown per round, Berto has averaged better than 30 punches landed per round across each of his last three victories.
The conventional wisdom is that the only way to beat Mayweather is to out-work him, but if Berto can employ a frenetic pace in some spots while making Mayweather force the fight in others, it could get the champion far enough off his game to leave an opening….but that may be wishful thinking.