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                          ANDRE BERTO

 

Over the span of eight days, New York-based promoter, Lou DiBella, watched two of his premiere fighters score consecutive sensational knockouts that were televised on HBO.


And in the aftermath of each, both of his boxers appeared to have been thrust into discussions involving potential mega bouts opposite southpaw, eight-division king Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts), owner of the WBO welterweight and WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) belts.

"I like first-round knockouts and second-round knockouts. They're good things," DiBella told Elie Seckbach of FanHouse. "But we want to see more of them, because for boxing, you know, this is exciting."

In a Nov. 20 clash of southpaws, a single left hook enabled southpaw WBC middleweight (160 pounds) king Sergio Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KOs to level Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs) in the second-round to avenge a December, majority decision loss during which both athletes were down in the first round.

Williams was rated No. 3 on most pound-for-pound lists behind Pacquiao and six-time titlist Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs), who has been promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

On Nov. 27, WBC welterweight (147 pounds) king Andre Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) followed a left hook to the jaw with a straight, right hand to the other side of his rival's face, nailing down a first-round stoppage of Freddy Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs).

"What are you going to say?. Andre did what he was supposed to do, and he did it with style," said DiBella, later adding, "That was a perfect punch. I mean, he timed him and he landed right on the button. Let me tell you something, that was great. That was great stuff by Berto, and he did what he was supposed to do. Now we want a big fight."

 

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Shane Mosley (l.) and Andre Berto.


Pacquiao's promoter, Top Rank Promotions CEO, Bob Arum, has since eliminated Martinez from consideration for a bout with the 31-year-old Philippines resident, Pacquiao, contending that Martinez, a 35-year-old, Argentinian-born resident of Oxnard, Calif., is simply too big.

"Pacquiao's not going to fight Sergio," said DiBella. "Pacquiao's too small. Sergio is too big for him."

But Arum has said that Berto is only the third man in line as well as the least marketable of the trio that is in the running to meet Pacquiao.

Berto sits behind 39-year-old five-time titlist Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) and 37-year-old WBO and WBA lightweight (135 pounds) king Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5-1, 38 KOs), the latter of whom has battled Pacquiao to a draw and a disputed split-decision loss.

"It doesn't put us in a tough position. Manny Pacquiao wants a challenge and wants to stay at welterweight, well, here is a challenge. Shane Mosley was a great fighter, but what does he prove by fighting Shane Mosley?" said DiBella, who then referred to Mosley's one-sided, unanimous decision loss to Mayweather in May.

"What does he [Pacquiao] prove by beating Shane Mosley, who lost every round but, you know, one, to Mayweather. What's to gain?" asked DiBella. "Pacquiao. Pacquiao. Pacquiao. Pacquiao."

DiBella believes that Berto's youth, speed and power would be trouble for Pacquiao.

"It's a very dangerous fight for Manny. Manny's a great fighter, so it would be an honor if Berto gets a fight like that. It's an honor and it's a great opportunity," said DiBella.

"But you know what? It's young blood," said DiBella. "It's young blood and it's new blood and it's somebody with a huge punch, and I think that it would be a helluva fight. Bob Arum, it's a better fight than Mosley."


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Manny Pacquiao (r.) during his fight with Miguel Cotto in November 2009.

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