Exclusive Interview: Andre Berto

By G. Leon


Exclusive Interview: Andre Berto

After Questionable Loss, Berto Set To Turn Pro!

GL: Before we talk about what happened at the Olympics can you tell us what happened at the US Olympic trails that eventually led to you becoming a Haitian Olympian?

AB: "I went in those trials ranked #1, Juan McPherson was #2. They have a blind draw and me and him drew each other on the first day of competion. We went into the bout, I was winning, I was up by seven points going into the last round, and because he knew he was behind on points he came straight at me in the last round, and that's not his style of fighting so I was able to crack him with a few hard shots. The last punch I hit him with was a right hand that I thought was going to knock him out....he stumbled a little bit and he grabbed me by my waist and what not, and he started to push me to the back of the ropes, I was just so anxious to put him out so I tried to get him off of me and when I spun him off of me, he went to the canvas and he was rolling all over the canvas. I heard his corner telling him to stay down so I already knew what was going to happen."

"They disqualified me, we filed a greivance and they put me back in the tournament again, that's when I beat the guy Vanes who is on the team now. Then Juan and his whole legal team came back and we went through the arbitration with all that. And even though I won all of my fights they found a way to get me out of there."

GL: How did you become a Haitian Olympian at the last minute?

AB: "My parents lived in Haiti, I never even though about going over there at all. I never heard of them having any kind of team, but a friend of mine wanted me to call to find out if they had a team, and they did. This was the first year they tried to form a boxing team and they needed someone in my weight class so they were more than happy to put me on the team. I went down to Mexico with them to the Olympic qualifier and I was the only person to qualify, I was the first person from Haiti to make the Olympics for boxing. That was a beautiful thing."

GL: What wasn't a beautiful thing was the result of your fight with Noel. Have you had a chance to see the fight on tape yet?

AB: "I saw it the next day actually. Everybody just kept on calling me from home and all they were telling me was I had to watch the fight. As soon as I got in the ring I had some lady from like Telemundo that was there who told me I needed to watch the fight because the point system is ridiculous. Everybody saw it how I saw it. I hit him with the harder punches and he was running around tapping with nothing but getting the points."

GL: You seemed to get stronger by the round and the difference in the scoring was just a couple of pitty-pat jabs he touched you with in the opening seconds.

AB: "That's right. But in another aspect I just have a more professional type of style. I went in there and gave it my best, I think I did my thing the point system didn't work for me. Now it's time for me to go pro and steal the show."

GL: Was it disappointing to go through all the trouble to get there to just get bumped in your first fight?

AB: "Not really. I was hurt by it, and I did go through a lot just to get there, but just being there, being a part of the Olympic Games, the whole opening ceremony and that, to be a part of that was great. It just wasn't in my plan to be an Olympic Medallist, but I was there and I'll always be a 2004 Olympian."

GL: When do you expect to make your professional debut? Who do you expect to work with? What can we expect from Andre Berto?

AB: "The moves I'm going to make are going to be big. Through the amateurs everyone has been telling me they can't wait till I turn pro, so now I'm going to give them what they wanted in a big way. I think I'm just going to go home for a few days, chill and wait for the games to be completely over before I start talking to these guys to see what kind of offers they're bringing. After the fight Teddy Atlas told me I was the hottest pro prospect he'd seen at the games, I just hope all of the promoters and managers out there recognize that and feel the same way.

GL: As an amateur you fight at 152 pounds. Where will campaign as a professional, welterweight or junior middle?

AB: "I think I'm going to start off at 147 actually. I want to win a title at 147 and then after that I see myself moving up to 154."

GL: Do you regret not coming out faster against Noel?

AB: "I do kind of regret it a little bit now, but I didn't know the scoring system was going to be so crazy.Now there's nothing I could do, I have to live with it and move on to do bigger things in the pro's."


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