MANILA, Philippines – Haitian-American Andre Berto, a willing challenger to 7-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, said the pound-for-pound king still needs improvement in the defense department.
“I think that’s the thing with Manny Pacquiao that a lot of people really just don’t understand. Manny Pacquiao has a lot of energy, he has really great legs, but then again, you have to fight fire with fire,” Berto said in an exclusive interview with On The Ropes Boxing Radio as quoted by Geoffrey Ciani of The Mushroom Mag.
“He lacks defense. He’s easy to hit, but he sets a pace that’s a little too much for his opponents and he’s incredibly strong, also, so he always tend (sic) to outwork and outpunch his opponents,” he noted.
Berto defended his World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight belt last April 12 with an 8th round technical knockout win over Carlos Quintana of Puerto Rico.
He went on to say that he and Pacquiao would have an entertaining fight because he has the power and hand speed to match the Filipino boxing icon.
“If I get in the position I know it will be an entertaining fight because I know I’ll be able to touch him whenever I wanted to touch him and get in there with some power and I think it will be able to stop a lot of that jumping around and stuff,” he stated.
He even assured that he would put up a good fight against Pacquiao unlike what Ghanaian Joshua Clottey did last March 13 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Pacquiao retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title via unanimous decision in the lopsided bout.
“Unlike with Joshua Clottey and a lot of people, I would definitely let my hands go… and as the action gets turned up I get turned up,” remarked Berto.
A boxing analyst earlier said that Pacquiao vs Berto is the most sensible fight because it would unify the WBC and WBO welterweight titles.
The 31-year-old Pacquiao has 51 wins (38 knockouts), 3 losses and 2 draws while the 26-year-old Berto has a record of 26-0 (with 20 KOs).
Future Hall of Famers
Berto was supposed to fight American Shane Mosley in January but he pulled out of the bout after he lost some family members in the devastating Haiti earthquake.
Mosley then chose to take on compatriot Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on May 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When asked to choose between Mosley or Mayweather on whom he would like to fight, Berto said: “Oh man, it doesn’t matter, either one of them. I mean Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, or (Manny) Pacquiao, you know it would just be an honor to be in the ring with those guys.”
The Haitian-American regarded them as his idols and future Hall of Famers.
“I grew up at the gym watching these guys and mimicking a lot of these guys, so I’d be honored just to be in the same ring with them so it doesn’t matter at all,” he added.
Berto, meantime, shared his fight prediction for the “Who R U Picking?” main event.
“Realistically, I think Floyd is going to outpoint him. I see that at the beginning of the fight, Shane Mosley is going to be there and he’s going to impose his will, he’s going to impose his strength and the speed, but I think after a couple of rounds Floyd will pretty much figure him out once Shane slows down a little,” he said.
Pacquiao’s sparring mate, Shawn Porter of the US, meantime, went with Mosley.
“You can't count Mayweather out but I think Mosley will pull out the win,” he told Ryan Burton of BoxingScene.com.
Porter scored a 1st round KO victory over Colombian Raul Pinzon Friday (Saturday in Manila) in Maryland.
Just like Porter, Pacquiao earlier picked Mosley to prevail over Mayweather.
According to BoxingTalk.com, the “Who R U Picking?” bout will be have Adalaide Byrd, Dave Moretti and Robert Hoyle as judges and Kenny Bayless as referee.