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Robert Guerrero takes on Andre Berto in Ontario

Winner of welterweight bout could be in line for a matchup against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

November 23, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Robert Guerrero is scheduled to fight Andre Berto for Guerrero's WBC interim welterweight title.
Robert Guerrero is scheduled to fight Andre Berto for Guerrero's… (Damian Dovarganes / Associated…)

Boxing is a haven for fluid situations. Injuries, upsets and personal vendettas can change the course of an anticipated matchup.

With that disclaimer, the sport's current landscape bodes well for Robert Guerrero and Andre Berto, welterweight opponents Saturday in Ontario, to position themselves for a spring date against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

"Absolutely a possibility," said Oscar De La Hoya, who is promoting the HBO-televised Guerrero-Berto fight at Citizens Business Bank Arena. "An impressive win means getting in line for a Mayweather showdown."

That's especially the case for the 29-year-old Guerrero (30-1-1 with 18 knockouts). The former world featherweight and super-featherweight champion from Gilroy, Calif., is best known for relinquishing the latter title in 2010 to help his wife, Casey, win her battle against cancer.

"Everything I've had to go through prepares you for this," said Guerrero, who won his welterweight debut in July with a unanimous decision over Selcuk Aydin. "Winning this kind of fight — moving up in weight, taking the harder punches — has to do with character. Boxing is like Disneyland after what I've seen my wife go through."

Berto, also 29, has a record of 28-1 with 22 KOs.

The former World Boxing Council welterweight champion's lone loss was the 2011 fight of the year against Victor Ortiz. He responded with a knockout victory over Jan Zaveck, then was ultimately cleared by the California State Athletic Commission after a positive steroid test caused a June rematch against Ortiz to be scrapped.

There is buzz for rising Mexico star WBC super-welterweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez to make his May 4 fight date at MGM Grand in Las Vegas against Mayweather. But Mayweather doesn't necessarily want to remain at 154 pounds, and De La Hoya said a more sensible path for Alvarez, 22, would be to build his reputation against a veteran such as Miguel Cotto.

That would leave the unbeaten Mayweather looking for a fight.

Berto is managed by Mayweather's manager, Al Haymon, and Haymon has been resistant in the past to letting marquee fighters he represents fight each other. Berto will earn $1.625 million for Saturday's bout to Guerrero's $1 million, according to the California commission.

"I believe everything is open to me if I have an exciting performance," Berto said.

Guerrero has previously pursued Mayweather, a Quixotic chase. A win over a name-brand opponent, which could arrive Saturday, would help the cause.

"The sport is always looking for the next big fight," Guerrero said. "What could be better for us than to put up a great fight here at the end of the year, setting up a great fight next year?"

Guerrero weighed in Friday at 146.4 pounds, Berto at 146.8.

Berto said he plans to "impose myself," and gave the patented "not impressed" facial expression when asked what he thought of the power Guerrero had shown against Aydin.

"People say Guerrero throws a lot of punches," Berto said. "If I'm landing harder punches, that's what matters more than that pitapat stuff."

Guerrero disagreed: "With my all-around ring generalship, I can out-box him," he said.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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