Andre Berto and Shawn Porter have both known the exhilaration of winning a world title. Now the former champions are going to have to go through one another to get another shot at the top.
Berto and Porter will meet in a 147-pound title eliminator on April 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (Showtime, 9 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET). The winner will become the mandatory challenger to face Keith Thurman, who unified world titles Saturday with a victory over Danny Garcia.
Andre Berto, 33, is a former two-time champion at 147 pounds. The Winter Haven, Florida, native, who now trains in Oakland, California, won a vacant title in June 2008 with a seventh-round TKO of Miguel Angel Rodriguez before losing it to Victor Ortiz by unanimous decision in April 2011.
Berto, who represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics, claimed a second world title with a fifth-round stoppage of defending champion Jan Zaveck in September 2011.
He has won just three of his six bouts since then, with losses to Robert Guerrero, Jesus Soto Karass and Floyd Maywether Jr., but is coming off a fourth-round KO in a rematch with Ortiz last April 30.
“It feels great to be getting back in the ring,” Berto said. “I love being back in New York. My team has been putting in work in the gym. I'm already dialed in and focused.
“I've had the [title] before and I'm itching to get it back. I beat the man who had taken it away from me in my last fight and I'm going to take down anyone who gets in my way. I know Shawn is going to work hard for this one, but so will I. I'm looking forward to this one.”
Shawn Porter, 29, earned his 147-pound world title with a unanimous decision over defending champion Devon Alexander in December 2013. The Akron, Ohio, native, who now lives and trains in Las Vegas, defended his crown once with a fourth-round stoppage of Paulie Malignaggi in April 2014.
Porter lost his title by dropping a majority decision to England’s Kell Brook in Carson, California, in August 2014. He then rebounded in 2015 with wins over Erick Bone and former world champion Adrien Broner.
Now he's seeking a second shot at Thurman, but has to go through Berto first to get there.
“The only thing on my mind right now is the title,” Porter said. “I made it a goal of mine when I turned pro to get that belt, and now I feel like it's about to happen.
“I'm not looking past Andre Berto; I respect him as a man and a fighter. We're friends. But just like when I fought Keith Thurman, it's all about the business and getting that title. I can't wait to be in that ring on April 22 at Barclays Center.”
For a complete look at Berto vs Porter, visit our fight page.