More and more fighters who pose a serious threat are flocking to this weight class.
Because of Floyd Mayweather's recent jail sentence, Robert Guerrero had the opportunity to fight for and win the WBC interim welterweight title. Andre Berto, who is coming off of his suspension from testing positive for steroids, is getting another shot at the crown this weekend against Guerrero.
The Welterweight Landscape
Mayweather has seemingly pretty much decided that he will never engage in boxing's most sought after fight against Manny Pacquiao without actually saying he won't. He may end up facing the winner of Berto vs Guerrero in another bout that could be interesting - Ultimately not the 'big one' most boxing fans want to see. Regardless, the winner of Saturday night's dust-up will have a great opportunity to make more money than he ever has should he face Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
So there is a lot at stake for both Andre Berto and Robert Guerrero.
Robert Guerrero has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Mayweather before. He has only one loss which he avenged with a knockout win. And Berto had been mentioned as a possible Mayweather or Pacquiao opponent until he ruined his opportunity by losing to Victor Ortiz. Ortiz eventually got the big fight with Mayweather and was stopped in four rounds.
Robert Guerrero is a southpaw who generally stays behind his jab and walks his opponent down. He has good distance on his jab and doesn't really commit to it until he knows he can land it clean. He will often throw his polished jab at his orthodox opponent's left glove and then step up with a straight left hand or uppercut followed by a hook. He puts his punches together pretty well.
One of Guerrero's biggest strong points tonight is he'll be difficult to counter if he throws his jab from a distance at Berto's left glove, making it hard for Andre to counter because Guerrero will be far enough away.
When you throw the jab at your opponent's head, you have to commit to it which means you are stepping into the punch. As we know, fully committing to a punch leaves you vulnerable to a counter shot; especially if you're fighting a guy as fast and as sharp as Berto.
Berto is a fast handed hard punching boxer who moves well. He had trouble with southpaw Victor Ortiz when he ran into a right hook in the first round and never really regained his legs. Guerrero doesn't punch as hard as Ortiz so I don't see him being able to hurt Berto with just a single shot.
Andre Berto has a tremendous hand and foot speed advantage. He is a well-educated boxer and will use lateral movement if Guerrero starts to walk him down. He will throw a lot of quick lead right hands against the southpaw Guerrero. If he can freeze him with one, look for him to follow up with a hard left hook. If Guerrero times the shot and makes him miss, Berto's foot speed will probably allow him to smother and clinch.
Berto's speed will be the biggest factor in this fight.
Prediction: Although Guerrero will have his moments, Berto will be putting rounds in the bank and landing his quick pot shots. Guerrero's defense isn't impenetrable and I can see him taking some shots and possibly getting stopped.
I'm not taking anything away from Guerrero because he does a lot of things well - But the advantages that Berto has will eventually take Guerrero out of his game.
Guerrero's best bet is to stay long ,keep that jab going at the gloves forcing Berto to step backwards into a straight line, then open up with combinations. He needs to be ready to step back with his back leg, punch, and then circle away without taking shots when Berto gets off first.
But it's hard to do against someone as fast and as good as Berto.
Tune in for Berto vs Guerrero tonight on HBO AT 10PM EST.