While it wasn’t easy, and sometimes rough and tumble in nature, Andre Berto won the battle of aging two-time world champion fighters.
Berto earned a split decision in a 12-round welterweight bout against Devon Alexander at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Saturday.
Co-promoter Lou DiBella may have described the bout the best at Thursday’s news conference.
“You have two, two-time former world champions,” DiBella said, “both of whom want to fight under the biggest lights, in the biggest fights possible, and they must win in this battle against each other in the welterweight division.”
Alexander (27-5-1) rocked Berto with about a minute left in the 12th and final round. However, Berto landed a major shot of his own with 20 seconds left as the crowd roared with excitement.
“I’ve been off for a while but it felt good in there,” Berto said. “I felt like I was in better shape and quicker to the target than he was.
Earlier, Berto, perhaps showing his frustration, seemed to push Alexander to the mat in the tenth round. Referee Ron Lipton ruled it a slip. Alexander momentarily stunned Berto with a big punch with a minute left in the ninth round and had the better punches and work in the round.
“I thought I edged it out, but that’s my opinion,” Alexander said. “It was a close fight. We just have to go back and see what I have to do going forward.”
Berto did some of his best work in the seventh and eighth rounds, finally connecting on short, but strong power shots. However, at the end of the seventh round a cut was visible that opened above his right eye from Alexander’s earlier efforts.
“He was pulling back a lot of his punches so I stepped in for my combinations and made him pay,” Berto said.
Also, Berto (32-5) had an issue with his protective cup, which fell to the mat in the eighth round. Before the ninth round, Berto changed and put the cup back on with help from his corner.
In the fifth round, Berto finally gained some traction and was more accurate, while Alexander was less active than he had been in the earlier rounds.
Berto missed wildly on his power shots in the fourth round, while Alexander didn’t seem to mind the rough nature of the fight, and was successful with short punches in close.
“I knew he was going to be quick and I knew he’d come to fight,” Berto added. “I just had to get adjusted to his speed a little bit and then I started pressing him.”
Alexander caught Berto with a right-left combination in the opening seconds of the third round. However. Alexander also punched him in the back of the head as Berto seemed to be going down, and again when he dropped to a knee. No points were deducted.
“This is a tremendous feeling and I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing it again,” Berto said.
In undercard bouts of note, Brooklyn resident, Chicago native, and former world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (34-1-1) dominated J’Leon Love in 10-round light heavyweight bout with a unanimous decision.
Staten Island’s Marcus Browne (22-0) overcame a fifth-round knockdown and remained undefeated with a unanimous decision over Lenin Castillo in a 10-round light heavyweight fight.
Brooklyn’s Luis Collazo (38-7) won by majority decision against Bryant Perrella in a 10-round welterweight fight. The partisan crowd chanted “Louie, Louie” throughout an entertaining bout.
Joey Spencer (4-0) knocked out Bruce Lutchmedial with one second left in the first round of a middleweight fight
Finally, lightweight Richard Commey (27-2) recorded a TKO 30 seconds into the second round against Yardley Cruz. How did Commey celebrate after the lightweight fight? He did push-ups, with his boxing gloves still on, in the center of the ring.