Andre Michael Berto (born
September 7, 1983) is a professional boxer who holds duel American
and Haitian citizenship. He is a two time welterweight world champion
known for his punching power, speed and intensity.
second generation Haitian immigrant, Berto was one of seven children
raised in Winter Haven, Florida. He was introduced to boxing by his
father after getting beat up multiple times by classmates. Dieuseul,
who competed professionally in mixed martial arts and taught the sport
to Berto at a school in Winter Haven. For Berto, the sport of boxing
became a solace to stay out of trouble in the rough community he grew
As an amateur, Berto won a bronze medal
in the 2003 World Amateur Championships. He was also a two time National
Golden Gloves champion, a two time National PAL champion, a three
time U.S. amateur championship medalist, and won 22 state titles in
Berto was an odds on favorite to breeze
through the 2004 Olympic Trials and qualify as a member of the US
Olympic boxing squad. Those dreams were dashed in the opening round
of the trials, when he was disqualified for throwing Juan McPherson
to the canvas. Berto was winning the fight, before McPherson bumped
into him before being pushed to the canvas, and was deemed in no condition
to continue. The act was ruled a flagrant foul, and Berto was disqualified.
A protest was ruled in his favor, as he was declared the winner and
advanced to the next round. Berto won that bout as well and prepared
for the finals before a follow up meeting the night before reverted
to the initial ruling, eliminating Berto from the tournament. Because
his parents emigrated from Haiti, Berto was able to keep his Olympic
hopes alive, qualifying for Team Haiti, and subsequently granted Haitian
citizenship alongside his American nationality, an exception the island
country awarded the Olympian. Berto lost in the first round to Zavier
Noel of France.
2004 to October 2006, Berto won 15 fights, with 13 coming by way of
knockout. On December 12, 2006, at the Alltel Arena in North
Little Rock, Arkansas, Berto stepped up in competition and fought
Miguel Figueroa. Berto put together a one sided destruction of Fgueroa,
eventually forcing the referee to stop the fight in round six. He
was named ESPN.com's 2006 Prospect of the Year. His next fight took
place on February 17, 2007, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York
City, New York, against Norberto Bravo of The Contender. Berto defeated
Bravo by first round technical knockout after Bravo was knocked down
three times, triggering the three knockdown rule. On May 19, 2007,
Berto defeated Martinus Clay by seventh round technical knockout.
July 27, 2007, at the City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. Berto
fought Cosme Rivera. Berto was in full control until he was down for
the first time in his career in round six. He was able to recover
and open up a bad cut over Rivera's right eye in the seventh round.
Rivera stood his ground in the remaining rounds to test Berto, but
Berto won by unanimous decision. On September 29, 2007, at Boardwalk
Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Berto defeated David Estrada by
eleventh round technical knockout to win the NABF welterweight title.
Rounds three and eight were described by BoxingScene.com as "round
of the year" candidates as both men went toe-to-toe with flush power
shots. The end came when Berto dropped Estrada with an uppercut that
was followed up by a huge right hand. Estrada made it to his feet,
but could not defend himself as Berto attacked with more damaging
shots that prompted the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
February 9, 2008, at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula,
California, Berto fought Michael Trabant in his first defense of the
NABF welterweight title. Trabant stayed on the defensive for the entire
fight with Berto landing a variety of punches from all angles. In
the fifth and sixth rounds, Trabant was barely able to land a single
punch, as he was frequently taking punches to the head.