Andre Berto hit the boxing lottery when Floyd Mayweather chose to fight him, and oddsmakers make the upset only slightly less likely than a real lottery win, but the challenger isn’t having much to do with it.
Berto, who fights Mayweather in a welterweight title fight next week at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, has not watched the “All Access” pre-bout hype show on Showtime or its subsidiaries, he said today.
“I don’t get caught up in all the hoopla and all the crazy (stuff),” the native of Winter Haven, Fla., said. “At the end of the day, the thing is I don’t want to get caught up in all the (B.S.) that goes on like that.”
He said he had no idea what the odds are and that he has better things to do than check them.
Most betting venues aren’t offering odds at all. One Internet site, Bovada.lv, has Mayweather at minus-10000 — that is, a wager of $10,000 would win $100.
“I’ve had haters since I was in middle school, high school, and I was stealing their girlfriends and all that,” Berto said. “So they’re going to be around. If you’re not doing something right, they’re going to hate on you. I don’t care too much about the criticism.”
Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) is training in Oakland before going to Las Vegas for the Sept. 12 fight, in which Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs), the pound-for-pound king from Grand Rapids, risks his World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council 147-pound titles.
Mayweather has said this will be the final fight of his 19-year career.
Berto, loser in three of his last six fights, could be the final man with a chance to smear Mayweather’s professional record.
“Floyd has been an icon for a long time and now he’s on his way to try to match a record,” Berto said, referring to heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. “So for me, being a young, hungry fighter, to come in here and take that away from him, that would be huge.”
Berto was considered a potential Mayweather opponent as far back as 2011 but untimely losses derailed him.
He lost a close decision, and his welterweight title, to Victor Ortiz in 2011. Mayweather defeated Ortiz later that same year.
Berto also lost a close decision in 2012 to Robert Guerrero despite getting thumbed and partially losing vision early in the bout. Again, Berto’s misfortune was his conqueror’s gain, and Guerrero got the next date with Mayweather.
Berto said he never had been thumbed before, even in sparring.
“I’ve never had to encounter anything like that before,” he said. “I still fought my ass off. I never thought one time to stop. And it got to a point that I let him just walk me back to the ropes because that’s the only way that I knew he was in front of me to hit, because I couldn’t see him. So I’d throw uppercuts and hit him with a certain shot, and the only way I could know that I hit him with a good shot was I heard the crowd.”
In his next fight, in 2013, Berto sustained a career-threatening shoulder injury which required surgery, though he made it to the 12th and final round before Jesus Soto Karass stopped him in another major upset.
“It was that freaky little (stuff) that just happened,” Berto said.
Through it all, Mayweather’s record remained pristine, and he remained Berto’s objective.
“Floyd is a guy I’ve known for a long time,” Berto said. “He’s a guy that I’ve watched for a very long time. So I know his style very well.”
He credited Mayweather’s movement, athleticism and angles for making it “very difficult on guys that are straight up and down, as he likes to say.”
Berto, who turns 32 Monday, said he has seen signs of slippage in Mayweather, but that the 38-year-old’s attentiveness to craft has mitigated it.
“He’s always respected the sport, and if you respect the sport, the sport’s going to respect you,” Berto said.