For all of boxing's give-and-take action and the media blitz that often precedes it, the best boxers are often those who can convert strong emotions into positive action.
Every fighter who strives to be great must confront this benchmark and for Andre Berto, who lost multiple family members in the Haiti earthquakes, it will come Saturday against Carlos Quintana, a tricky ex-champ who knows how to spoil parties for the favored few.
A fighter's past can offer clues to his future, and the following CompuBox stats could shed some light on how the fight will unfold:
Familiarity Breeds Comfort: After facing just three southpaws in his first 23 fights, Berto is meeting his third consecutive lefty in Quintana. The good news for Berto is that he performs better. Against Juan Urango, Luis Collazo and Jonathan Tubbs, Berto landed at a combined 37.8 percent (total) and 54.1 percent (power) rate while he averaged 34.7 percent and 42.4 percent against eight right-handers. That's because Berto relies more on accurate power punching instead of the jab, which is tougher to land against lefties. Incidentally, Berto's jab lands 24 percent of the time against left-handers and 20.2 percent versus righties, which may be another bad sign for Quintana.
Spoiling the party: Quintana's best hope is to neutralize Berto's talent while also seizing upon openings. Steve Forbes showed that a cute style could hinder Berto's effectiveness. Berto's output dipped to 51.6 from 54.6 (Urango) and 56.8 (Collazo) and his overall accuracy plunged to 23.7 percent from 37.1 (Urango) and 39.0 (Collazo). More importantly, Berto's power punch accuracy was just 30.1 percent against Forbes as opposed to 48.9 against Collazo and 66.4 against Urango.
Quintana has the tools to apply this blueprint. In his most recent fight Quintana limited Jesse Feliciano to a paltry 8.1 percent connect rate overall, Joel Julio to 17.9 percent and Miguel Cotto to 30.1 percent in defeat.
His career-highlight win over Paul Williams saw Quintana limit the Punisher's offense to 66.4 per round while making better use of his 49.7-punch output. Despite throwing 203 fewer overall punches (596-799), 96 less jabs (227-323) and 107 fewer power shots (369-476), Quintana amassed bulges of 203-157 (overall), 60-53 (jabs) and 143-104 (power). Make 'em miss and make 'em pay should be Quintana's mantra.
Steady versus spurts: Berto's game features extreme peaks and valleys while Quintana's work is steadier. Against Urango and Collazo respectively Berto's round-by-round output ranged from 39 to 70 and 30 to 89 but against Forbes it narrowed to 41-59. Conversely, Quintana's range was 51-70 against Joel Julio and 40-60 against Williams, a fight in which his output was between 45 and 55 in eight of the 12 rounds. In his losing fight against Cotto, Quintana opened with a 102-punch round, then quickly eroded to the 50s by the end in round five. Quintana performs best when he gives himself time to warm up his engine, not expend all his energy as he did with Cotto.
Quintana's three-fight average of 62.4 is higher than Berto's 54.3. With the higher and steadier work rate, Quintana must strike during the lulls and hold Berto off during the peaks.
Prediction: Neither man has been particularly active. Berto hasn't fought since last May while this is Quintana's second fight since October 2008. Therefore, the rust factor is largely neutralized.
What will matter is age, rounds worked and recent level of competition. Since being stopped by Williams, Quintana got in seven rounds of work against journeymen Joshua Onyango and Jesse Feliciano while Berto got in 36 rounds against Forbes, Collazo and Urango. At 26, Berto is seven years younger and his best days may still be ahead of him, something that may not hold true for the older Puerto Rican.
Quintana will present stylistic challenges, but not enough to spring the upset. Berto will channel his emotions properly and win by unanimous decision.
Neither man has been particularly active. Berto hasn't fought since last May while this is Quintana's second fight since October 2008. Therefore, the rust factor is largely neutralized. What will matter is age, rounds worked and recent level of competition.
The co-feature will see longtime 122-pound champion Celestino Caballero challenge unbeaten Indonesian Daud Yordan for a vacant interim featherweight title. While the main event is a contrast in styles and stances, Caballero-Yordan's differences are more anatomical (as the 5-11 Caballero is four inches taller and has a similarly longer wingspan) and chronological (Caballero is 33, Yordan 22).
Despite his mantis-like frame, Caballero is an aggressor at heart. One of his best performances occurred against then-IBF champion Steve Molitor. Caballero walked down the hometown favorite behind solid rights to the body before stopping him early in round four. Caballero out threw Molitor 167-92, out-landed him 64-27 and out-jabbed him 80-30 in attempts and 28-1 in connects.
Caballero also has the stamina to pull away in difficult, messy fights. Such was the case against Jorge Lacierva when, after being out-landed 79-74 over the first five rounds, Caballero turned the tide with a 154-65 total connects bulge from round six on en route to a decision. That gulf was largely created by more total attempts (401-259) and connected jabs (70-14 ).
Jeffrey Mathebula proved that superior volume bothers Caballero's rhythm. The South African topped the 100-punch mark several times, keeping Caballero in the 60s and 70s while leaving him in the teens and 20s in connect percentage.
Yordan, best known on American shores for his brief but impressive showing against Robert Guerrero, is capable of cranking up the offense. He averaged 84.2 punches per round in his rematch with Yulio Moro, who mounted a determined 67.1 punch-per-round output in losing an eight round decision. Yordan created gulfs of 222-155 (total connects) and 200-136 (power connects) while landing 40 percent of his power shots.
That trend continued against Lit Sabu in March 2007 as his 79.6 punches per round output allowed him to limit Sabu to 40.9 punches per round while more than doubling his total connects (147-72) and nearly tripling his power connects (114-48). The key question: Can Yordan produce big numbers against such a tall opponent?
Prediction: Yordan has fast hands, excellent output and smart movement while Caballero has world-class experience and anatomy on his side. The Mathebula fight revealed signs of slippage and Caballero is at an age where he can grow old overnight. If Yordan can conquer the nerves, he has the skill set to pull the upset. If not, Caballero will walk him down and take him out. With Caballero at a more comfortable weight, he will prevail - but not easily.
Posted 12:00 AM | Apr 6, 2010
HBO WCB - Apr 10, 2010
Celestino Caballero vs. Daud Yordan