Earlier today ESPN’s Dan Rafael revealed that undefeated WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto is being considered as a choice for Filipino star Manny Pacquiao’s next fight. Berto’s promoter Lou Dibella talked to Bob Arum earlier this week and if Pacquiao doesn’t end up facing off with Floyd Mayweather this summer, which seems likely as the Las Vegas-based superstar has a lot on his plate at the moment, then the Haitian-American could get the call.
One man who has been able to witness Berto’s progression over the years is Dibella Entertainment matchmaker Joe Quiambao, who guided the fighter from his four-round fighting days while playing an essential role in his climb up the championship ranks. Berto has a November 27th date with Freddy Hernandez lined up at the MGM Grand and if he can get past that test Quiambao thinks a fight with Pacquiao makes sense. While Quiambao couldn’t speak on any discussions that took place behind the scenes, he does feel that this would be the perfect time for Andre to step to the plate.
<— Slideshow: Alex Ariza discusses Pacquiao, Khan and Chavez Jr.
“That would be a great fight,” Quiambao said moments ago when asked about a Pacquiao-Berto tussle. “Berto has speed, power and a lot of amateur experience. It’s not like Pacquiao would be fighting a guy that got beat up. Andre is still approaching his prime. You already know about Pacquiao. He has the complete package; speed, power and he is a southpaw but Berto has done decent against southpaws. I would love for him to take his skills to a whole new level.”
I spoke to Quiambao a feel weeks before Pacquiao’s brutal decision over Antonio Margarito last weekend and he hinted that people connected to the fight were possibly trying to make a big deal out of Pacquiao’s lack of focus in camp and the challenge he would face in his bigger, stronger foe from Tijuana. Looking back on the savage beating that Pacquiao delivered, Quiambao seemed to see the writing on the wall.
“They sold it really good,” he continued. “Them trying to sell the fight by saying he wasn’t training like has supposed to. People started believing it. Pacquiao was able to hit him with light punches when he wanted to and hard punches when he needed to.”
Quiambao actually has a rooting interest for both fighters, as he has worked closely with Berto over the years while also having admiration for Pacquiao because of his Filipino roots. Quiambao’s parents were born in the Philippines and he grew up in Queens, New York. A Pacquiao-Berto fight could be a tough pill to swallow in many regards but boxing has never been for the feint of heart.
“People keep asking me if it would be a conflict of interest.” Quiambao said jokingly. “Because I’m Filipino. If I root for Berto to win, that I would be able to eat. But if Pacquiao wins then all my family in the Philippines would be able to eat.”
Quiambao is currently in Atlantic City for tonight’s hotly-anticipated rematch between Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams at the Boardwalk Hall. The two fighters are fighting for the middleweight championship that Martinez captured from Kelly Pavlik in April and this bout is being held at a catch weight of 158 pounds. Williams bested Martinez by majority decision last December but Quiambao sees the roles reversed this time around with his fighter hopefully capturing the nod.
“Honestly it’s a pick em’ but obviously I’m leaning towards Sergio. I don’t think they should have made it at 158 because he’s the champion but that’s just how bad he wanted the fight. He’s a real fighter and he wanted to make it happen.”
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Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com