Washington - Andre Berto said on Tuesday he is blocking out the hype for his
welterweight world title bout against Floyd Mayweather and believes the
pound-for-pound king is no longer the fighter he was.
He may have lost three of his last six fights and be a massive underdog but
Berto, 31, a two-time former champion, says he is in the best shape of his
life, as he attempts to become the first man to beat his fellow American.
Mayweather says he intends to hang up his gloves after the September 12
showdown in Las Vegas and he infuriated boxing fans in handpicking Berto when
there were more than half a dozen more attractive - but more dangerous --
fighters in the field.
Mayweather will match the 49-0 record of legend Rocky Marciano if - as
expected - he defeats Berto.
But Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) is laughing off all the flak, talk of records and
his opponent's propensity for showing off his staggering wealth to the world on
social media and on television.
"I don't get caught up in all that. I don't get caught up in all the
hoopla and all the crazy shit," Berto told reporters in a conference call.
"I don't want to get caught up and caught off guard... I'm on a
He was similarly dismissive about people eager to point out those three defeats,
one of which came when he had a shoulder injury that required surgery, leaving
him fearing for his career.
"I never really care too much about people hating on my situation. I've
had haters since I was at high school, when I was stealing their girlfriends
and all that," said Berto, who was born in the United States but
identifies heavily with Haiti, where his family are from.
"If you are not doing something right, they are not going to hate on
you. I don't care too much about criticism."
Berto says he has the speed, power and hunger to spring a major surprise at
the MGM Grand and believes Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) is starting to feel the
heat at age 38.
Experts say Mayweather, a master of defence, has become slightly easier to
hit in recent fights -- though he still had more than enough to put Manny
Pacquiao to the sword in his last bout.
Berto agrees he sees some chinks in Mayweather's armour.
"He's definitely showing some slippage throughout the years. I thought
the last couple of fights.
"But he's one of those guys who doesn't abuse his body and he's always
respected the sport.
"If you respect the sport, the sport is going to respect you."
He added: "But you can be as sharp as you want, but it only takes one
slip moment for somebody to capitalize on it."
And put to him that he is the rank outsider, a relaxed-sounding Berto
alluded to troubled times in his past, saying: "I don't know the odds and
I have not looked at the odds.
"I don't take time out of my day to sit down and look at the odds and
see what other people think."
He added: "If that was the case, I should not have made it out of where
I came from because those odds were slimmer than none. If I'd looked at those
odds I'd be sitting... probably trying to figure it out on the streets, smoking
"Where I come from, there was a lot worse than anything in that ring.
Where my people come from, there's a lot worse than anything in that