Berto ready to shine next Saturday night!


Berto ready to shine next Saturday night!

Undefeated, Knockout Specialist Gets set for Madison Square Garden Debut at MSG’s Theater on August 5, fighting on undercard of Quartey vs. Forrest presented by DiBella Entertainment


NEW YORK– Andre Berto can look back now and chuckle. However, it was no laughing matter just a few years ago when the feisty fellow with the fast fists fought all the time.

Berto was not a bully, bad kid or a street fighting young man. But if you gave him a dollar, he could be. Talk about getting a bang for your buck. 


“The older kids knew I had a temper, so they would give me money or a bag of chips to go punch somebody or to go push a kid,’’ said Berto (13-0, 7 KOs).  The undefeated 154-pound is training at his Winter Haven, FL headquarters as he gets set for his August 5 fight at Madison Square Garden’s Theater on the undercard of Ike Quartey vs. Vernon Forrest.


One of seven children, Berto was raised in Winter Haven  His parents, who hailed from Haiti, moved the family when Berto was about five years old. His father competed in mixed martial arts in Japan and taught the sport in Winter Haven. Berto’s two older brothers were also involved in martial arts.  


“My dad was the first to get me into the boxing game,” Berto said.  “He would take me along to the gym with him. But, even before that, I remember how my dad and I would sit in the kitchen for hours and slap box. I thought at first it was just for fun, (laughing) but then I realized he was trying to knock me out.


“To this day,” Berto added, “my dad finds my weaknesses better than anyone I have seen in the ring.”


Berto has brought the heat since getting out of the kitchen and lacing on the gloves. During a distinguished amateur career in which he won the vast majority of his approximately 200 bouts, Berto won a bronze medal at the 2003 World Amateur Boxing Championships, was a two-time National Golden Gloves champion, a two-time national PAL champion, a three-time U.S. amateur championship medalist and won 22 state titles in Florida.



At the 2004 United States Olympic Trials, however, Berto was disqualified for throwing Juan McPherson to the canvas. Although he says that he is over it now, Berto remains confounded by the nightmarish incident and how he lost.


“I was beating McPherson by four points going into the last round,” Berto said.  “I hit him with a good shot and he grabbed me.  I tried to shake him off, and then pushed him.  He flopped and threw himself to the canvas.  The ref did not know what to think.  He was just looking around.  The guy’s coach told him to stay down, so he did.  The ref went to the judges.  The judges talked about it and they disqualified me.


“I could not believe it.  At first, though, I was thinking ‘OK, I just got disqualified, but I will be in loser’s bracket.’  But they took me out of whole tournament.  That broke me down.  I was torn up.’’


Berto got a reprieve, but it turned out to be short-lived.


“They reversed the decision and gave me the win,” Berto said. “I was so excited. I fought the next guy (Vanes Martirosyan of Glendale, Calif.) and beat him. That was supposed to put me in the finals, but then they stopped the whole tournament, and took me out again.


“Ever since I had put on a pair of boxing gloves, it was my dream to fight for the U.S. in the Olympics, and they took it away from me.  Everybody watched me earn a spot and they just took it away.  But that gave me inspiration.  I realized that I have to work hard for everything I want and just keep on trucking.  In life, you have a whole lot of curves and stops and things to take you off the path.”


Berto wound up representing Haiti in the 2004 Olympic Games, but lost his first-round bout to France’s Xavier Noel, 36-34.


Since turning pro on Dec. 4, 2004, the strong, aggressive-minded, 5-foot-9-inch, 22-year-old super welterweight has not come close to losing. He has reeled off 13 straight victories, including 11 triumphs by way of knockout.


Before beginning his formal amateur career, Berto was known to family and friends by his middle name of Mike. But once the fighter began to compete as an amateur, he went by Andre. By any name, he has left a solid impression.


“Of the class of 2004, most insiders agreed that Berto was as good a prospect as anybody, including the medal winners,” says boxing analyst  Steve Farhood.  “It was politics and circumstance that kept him off the U.S. Olympic team, but, that aside, he is a great pro prospect because of his natural aggressiveness, his strengths and his punching power.  At the age of 22, he has a fully developed man’s body.  Thus far in his pro career, he has shown a seek-and-destroy approach and it has worked well