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Berto gets by Rivera

On Friday night, at the Saratoga Springs City Center, young undefeated welterweight contender Andre Berto came back from a sixth round knockdown to beat up and outpoint gatekeeper and former title challenger Cosme Rivera over ten rounds. For the first five rounds, Berto pursued Rivera in an attempt to knock him out and won those rounds easily, but got careless in the sixth round when Rivera caught Berto with an uppercut that dropped and stunned the young undefeated contender. Berto rose to his feet and continued. The knockdown was towards the end of the round.

However, there was some controversy in the corner, as Berto's trainer changed his right glove, which took longer than the allotted one minute that fighters are given to rest in between rounds. The process of changing the glove took at least two and a half minutes, giving Berto plenty of time to recover from the knockdown. In round seven, Berto managed to open up a cut over Rivera's right eye with a punch. The cut seemed to fuel the fully-recovered Berto, as he remained the aggressor and punished a bloodied Rivera for the remaining four rounds and went on to win a lopsided unanimous decision. Scores: 97-92, 98-91 (twice).

Due to his persistent attack and susceptibility to taking punches, we realize Berto has the crowd pleasing style to become the ideal television fighter, but the jury is out whether or not he can rise to the elite level of the talent-laden welterweight division. Those are some big dogs up at the top of the heap, and Berto would at least need some major improvements in his defense in order to compete with those champions and top contenders. He focuses primarily on offense, and isn't as careful as he should be in dealing with the punches coming back at him. Hence, him suffering the first knockdown of his career in this fight.

Berto did get the somewhat lopsided decision win over Rivera. He didn't struggle nearly as much as Joel Julio did in his controversial split decision over Rivera, but also didn't blow Rivera out the way then-champion Zab Judah was able to do in his title defense against him two years ago.

Television: ESPN2 Friday Night Fights