Sunday Sermon: Berto’s Last Hurrah; Kovalev ‘Korrodes’

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” Romans 5:3-5

Andre Berto

The sun shined on the dog’s ass, for one last day.

I don’t necessarily agree with the decision, but I’m not here to question it. Andre Berto’s hand was raised on victory so he’ll receive the praise on this glorious Sunday. And quite frankly, win or lose, neither fighter looked good enough to beat anybody in the top 10 in the Welterweight division. There were flashes of the old Andre Berto, those exciting, ultra athletic combinations mixed with that blazing hand speed. The difference is the confidence and invincibility are no longer there. They both died long before last night’s fight.

Berto’s career, in my opinion, is measured by wins or losses but more by missed opportunities and unfortunate happenings. Although 2010 was a great year for Berto in the ring, two significant events outside it reshaped his career. First there was the catastrophic earthquake that rocked his home country and family in Haiti. It mentally and spiritually, broke him. It also led to the cancellation of his fight with Shane Mosley, the big fight/victory that every great fighter needs in his career.

That win never came and Berto never fulfilled the lofty expectations bestowed upon him. The aura of greatness was on his doorstep but he could never answer the bell.

After suffering his first career loss to Victor Ortiz in 2011, Berto became an average fighter. Although he would would capture two world titles, his most significant victory was his avenge-winning performance against a shot Victor Ortiz. He would lose fights to Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass (an early injury sabotaged any chance of him winning that fight) – fights a great fighter should never lose. The Mayweather fight you can’t argue against but then he was stopped by Shawn Porter two fights later.

Like I said earlier Berto never had that signature, mega victory. His career highlights will always be over shadowed by his career downfalls. Hopefully he’ll be remembered for what he did for his home country, he never boasted about it or used it for popularity.

Andre Berto was suppose to be a generational fighter, one of the greats that we talked about for years after his retirement. It’s safe to say he’s barely a top 10 fighter of his generation in his weight class. But that is in no way a knock against Berto, he fought and challenged the majority of the best fighters of his generation. He never backed down, he never ducked anyone and he never made an excuse and for that I applaud him. Now, he gets one more opportunity to maybe redeem the critique from all the naysayers.

Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor” Proverbs 18:12

Sergey Kovalev

The monster is slayed. Again.

Kovalev waited years for a mega fight and for years he waited for Adonis Stevenson. It never came and instead his heart and invincibility were taken by Andre Ward. He hasn’t been the same fighter since.

Kovalev would have beaten Stevenson, easily.

Last night the lights, camera and action were turned out on Kovalev’s career. One of the most feared men of his generation, got old as the rounds went on. His power, relentlessness and monstrous allure faded minute by minute. And boom, a self admitting light puncher Eledier Alvarez, sat him on his pants before overwhelming and stopping him. There isn’t much to be said, this wasn’t a fluke accident or an off night, Alvarez was the better man, period.
It’s fitting that Kovalev goes out in this fashion, most power punches do so, on their shield. They say power is the last thing that fades from a boxer. Unfortunately, it gets them beaten up and broken as they look to land that one big shot. They plod away, hoping their opponent makes a mistake, hoping they land their money shot. Ninety percent of the time it never happens, most of the time they become mythical legends.

Luckily for Kovalev, HBO’s talent pool is dried up. Alvarez has no ties to HBO, Bivol is rumored to be heading to Eddie Hearn and the DAZN network, Bob Arum has taken Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko over to ESPN, Andre Ward is retired and Pacquiao is no longer the draw they need. That only leaves Canelo and GGG as HBO regulars. HBO will have no choice but to headline Kovalev in a few ‘gimme fights/wins like Nadjib Muhammed.

Kovalev would have beaten Stevenson, maybe.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10

Eleider Alvarez

The story heading into the night and throughout much of the night was how Sergey Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol were on a collision course.

Alvarez threw the whole tool set into those plans.

Alvarez had waited years for this opportunity, taking countless step a side checks from Al Haymon so Adonis Stevenson could remain a champion and stay relevant. They knew what Kovalev now knows, Alvarez ain’t nothing to be fucked with. Don’t let the scorecards and Harold Letterman fool you, it was a close fight but it was Alvarez who got better as the fight proceeded. It was Alvarez who looked relaxed, fresh and in prime position to make a statement.

And that’s what exactly Alvarez did.

In the 7th round with Kovalev fading and his face swelling up, Alvarez drilled him with a picture perfect straight right hand. Kovalev rose from the canvas but at the expense of eating a vicious combo moments later that all but sealed his fate.

Alvarez is in a good position. He still has his PBC connection which houses Stevenson, Badou Jack and Marcus Browne – all winnable fights. With PBC’s crumbling foundation, it will allow him to negotiate with other top fighter promoters like he did so with Kovalev and Main Events. And he isn’t a world beater by any means so other top fighters shouldn’t avoid him like the plague which some interesting fights are looming out there to be made.