Shawn Porter mauled and didn’t let up on Andre Berto from the opening bell and scored a pair of knockdowns en route to a ninth-round TKO victory in a 147-pound title eliminator Saturday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Porter (27-2-1-KO17) was in control for the majority of the bout and highlighted his superior speed and power in the second, sending Berto (31-5-KO24) to the canvas with a vicious short right shot.
Porter forced a second knockdown in the ninth and finally brought an end to the bout in the same round, with referee Mark Nelson waving off the fight with Berto pressed up against the ropes.
Porter was a pitbull for most of the fight. He had Berto against the ropes and pinned in the corner most of the fight. Porter’s continuous body blows eventually wore Berto down and the ref had no choice but to eventually stop the fight.
Porter used his head as a weapon, more than once during the fight. Both fighters were cut over both eyes thanks to a series of head butts. Porter repeatedly put his head down and plowed forward, mixing left hooks to the body with clubbing hooks.
“I got to clean up those head butts,” Porter said. “We tried to use the whole ring, but sometimes in the heat of the battle, I’m a fighter and Mr. Berto is a fighter as well, those head butts were just the two of us going in and fighting.”
Whenever the fighters were tied up, Porter seemingly used his head as a weapon to create separation and free his hands to fight. This clearly frustrated Berto but isn’t the reason he lost the fight. Berto spoke after the match and said:
” I have to give him credit, but he’s a rough fighter. He has great skills but, at the same time, he was trying to be rough and trying to handle me anyway he could. I got a lot of head-butts, and he did too. Shawn is a tough competitor. We had a good competitive fight until the head-butts got to be a little too much for me. But I thought it was a really good fight before that.”
Berto’s best moments came when he stayed away from the ropes and kept some space for Porter, but he wasn’t able to control the fight for long enough stretches to really make inroads against his opponent.
What’s Next For Shawn Porter?
Porter’s win sets up a mandatory title rematch with Keith Thurman. Porter’s last bout prior to his beatdown of Berto was a decision loss to Thurman at the Barclays Center in June 2016. The first fight was an epic encounter. With Porter gaining confidence from demolishing of Berto, Thurman will have his work cut out for him once again. Expect to see this fight, sometime, later this year.
The Undercard Didn’t Disappoint
Jermell Charlo successfully defended his WBC junior middleweight title with a sixth-round stoppage win over Charles Hatley. Charlo (29-0 KO14) was in commanding form and knocked down Hatley (26-2-1 KO18) in the third with a powerful right. The vicious KO led ringside medical personnel to call for the stretcher, but Hatley eventually left the ring under his own power. Following the fight Charlo had a few things to say :
“I used that jab to set up the right hand. I knew Charles Hatley goes down and he gets back up – he’s a warrior – and I knew I had to get in there and be a lion.”