Porter Overpowers Berto To Earn Ninth-Round TKO In Pivotal 147-Pound Title Eliminator.
For a fight that some speculated would not be made initially, the bout between Shawn Porter and Andre Berto definitely had a lot at stake for both fighters. The winner would be in position for a WBC title shot against current unified Welterweight champion Keith Thurman. Porter was the betting favorite heading into the fight with Berto coming into the bout just 4-4 in his last 8 bouts. Both fighters came into the fight after lengthy layoffs.
The layoff did not appear to affect either fighter in round 1. Porter came out surprisingly boxing from the outside, as he has become known more for his high-paced, pressuring style in recent years. It was a fairly even round with both fighters feeling each other out. The pace picked up in round 2 as Porter resorted to his typical swarming, high-pressured style. He was able to land hooks to the body of Berto and a right on the inside as he had him on the ropes. Porter responded to being cut in the round by an accidental head-butt during an exchange by knocking Berto down at the end of the round. Porter continued his pace in round 3 as his power seemed to be overwhelming Berto. He was able to pressure Berto against the ropes several times throughout the round and land an onslaught of body shots. Berto appeared frustrated and complained several times to the referee about the roughhouse tactics and head-butts from Porter.
Round 4 was pivotal for both fighters as Berto was finally able to land something powerful against Porter. He landed a right uppercut and a right hook on Porter who was cut a second time from another accidental head-butt. Porter was able to press Berto against the ropes again but Berto did a better job of fighting back. However, Berto was also cut by an accidental head-butt in the round. Both corner's cutman definitely had plenty to deal with after the round. Porter went back to his heavy body attack in round 5. The fight had to be halted for a brief moment so that the ringside physician could check the cut over Berto's eye. Porter's work rate was clearly the difference in the bout despite being cut over both eyes. Round 6 was a bit slower paced with Porter going back to fighting from the outside utilizing his jab. Berto was able to land a few solid shots but did not throw enough to win the slow-paced round.
Round 7 was the most productive round for Berto as two boxed in the center of the ring. Berto did a better job of timing his left hook against Porter who was lunging in with his jab at times. Porter attempted to swarm Berto against the ropes toward the end of the round but was a little late in the round to possibly steal it. The round seemed to reinvigorate Porter who came out in round 8 with bad intentions. He made it a phone booth fight once again and threw heavily to the body of Berto who had no answer for it. Berto did not throw much in return and found himself against the ropes for the majority of the round. Porter mixed up his attack in round 9, as he was able to land his jab effectively against Berto when he doubled up on it. Berto was knocked down early in the round as he fell against the ropes while Porter was attempting to get inside. Instant replay would later show that he fell against the ropes because of another head-butt. However that was just the beginning of the end for the former 2-time champion. Porter continued his onslaught to the body and followed it with overhand rights, which ultimately resulted in the referee stepping in to call a halt to the bout.
Porter now becomes the WBC mandatory challenger for Keith Thurman's title. Thurman was asked about the rematch in a post-fight interview with Porter present and he stated it was all a matter of negotiation. Porter did not take that as a definite yes that the fight would be made next for Thurman. Porter improves his record to 27-2-1 with the TKO victory.
In the co-main event of the evening, WBC Junior Middleweight champion Jermell Charlo successfully defended his title for the first time against mandatory challenger Charles Hatley. There was a lot of hostility between the two camps prior to the fight due to proximity of their camps within Dallas. Charlo left no doubt as to whom the better fighter was. He knocked Hatley down in round 3 with a right hand that was set up by his jab. He put Hatley out for the count in round 6 when the two fighters exchanged flurries with each other and he landed another vicious right hand that had Hatley on the canvas for several minutes. When asked about his future plans in the division, Charlo mentioned that he would like to unify titles against Jarrett Hurd. With the victory, Charlo improves his record to 29-0 (14KOs).