BROOKLYN—In what has the makings of a classic bout, two elite welterweights will battle at Barclays Center when Shawn Porter (26-2-1, 24 KOs ) takes on Andre Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) on Saturday night. Both Porter and Berto have something to prove and both are seeking the WBC welterweight title with the winner the mandatory challenger to champion Keith Thurman.
"The only thing on my mind right now is the WBC title," said Porter, who weighed in at 147 pounds. The Akron, Ohio, native lost to Thurman at Barclays in a tightly fought decision in June 2015.
Berto has been away from the ring for roughly a year, after defeating Victor Ortiz in Los Angeles after his loss to Floyd Mayweather in September 2015. The Florida native has not fought in New York City since 2007, when he defeated Norberto Bravo at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
"I love being back in New York," said Berto. "My team has been putting in work in the gym. I'm already dialed-in and focused. I've had the WBC belt before and I'm itching to get it back."
Porter, 29, enters the fight as the favorite at -600, compared to the 33-year-old Berto at +400. Neither Porter nor Berto has great knockout power but both have excellent chins and are measured boxers.
Porter is four years younger than Berto and is a very balanced boxer. He has victories over Adrien Broner, Paulie Malignaggi and Devon Alexander. He hasn't won by knockout since he defeated Erick Bone in March 2015. Berto's biggest victories were against Ortiz and Steve Forbes.
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Prediction: When two boxers are this evenly matched, and they are both hungry for a big payday, the chances for a brawl can be high. Berto is an accomplished boxer who can surprise Porter with a few good punches, but Porter is the more active fighter, and that will mean a lot when the bout goes to the scorecards, which appears likely.
Expect Porter to come out on top with a unanimous decision.