Andre Berto knows a little bit about Floyd Mayweather. He was the last man to fight Mayweather, in September 2015, prior to Mayweather’s retirement.
Berto boxed 12 rounds with Mayweather, losing a unanimous decision. In other words, he has intimate knowledge of what type of boxer Mayweather, one of the best of all time, is in the present day.
With all of that first-hand intel and a world of respect for Mayweather, Berto still believes Conor McGregor has a chance of knocking off “Money May” on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
There’s just something different about McGregor, Berto said — something that allows “The Notorious” to come up huge in the most massive of situations.
“When it comes to Conor, I tell people: He’s a star,” Berto said. “For some reason under that pressure and under those lights and under that atmosphere, he knows how to rise to the occasion. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, he’s one of those special guys that really can thrive in these types of environments, man.
“I just don’t put too much past him. I’ve been able to see and able to go to a few of this fights and really see how he really soaks up that atmosphere and he gets energy from it, where a lot of people really break down or it allows them to fold. He gets energy from that and he knows how to thrive. If it was a guy in the UFC or MMA that can do it, I believe he would be the one, for sure.”
Berto, 33, sees a definitive path to victory for McGregor, too. He won’t predict who will win or exactly how it will go down, but he sees a number of scenarios. Including a McGregor win by knockout.
“I see Conor coming in there really showing that bravado, showing that cockiness and showing that he’s really there to fight,” Berto said, explaining one possibility. “And somewhat trying to steal the stage from Floyd just with his antics and he kind of gets Floyd into a mind-game situation, has him pulling some type of mistakes and [Mayweather] gets caught with a big shot and gets hurt. And [McGregor] could stop him.”
The other possibility, Berto said, would not be as fun for McGregor fans.
“Or I see Floyd not playing into any of these antics and being who he is, to stay poised and to stay sharp and let his boxing skills just pick Conor apart,” Berto said. “And either late rounds stop Conor just from the accumulation of shots or maybe cuts or just being beat up, or just outboxing him for 12 rounds and just trying to make him look silly.”
Unlike most in the boxing world — and even the MMA world — Berto will not count McGregor out. He gets why boxing purists are knocking the fight, but he gets why it’s happening and says he’ll be in attendance for “the circus” at T-Mobile Arena.
Berto knows McGregor well. The two have been friends going back a few years when they were rehabbing injuries at a facility in Los Angeles at the same time. Berto said they have kept in touch since then. In fact, Berto said he spoke to McGregor just a few days ago and relayed that “it sounds like everything is going great on that side.”
McGregor’s presence and star power have really shown through and Berto has been impressed with what the UFC lightweight champion has been able to accomplish, becoming the first man to hold two UFC titles in different weight classes at the same time.
Berto knows MMA, too. His brother and sister are MMA fighters and his father competed at UFC 10. So if you combine that with his first-hand knowledge of being in the ring with Mayweather, there are few who have more perspective on this fight than Berto.
And he’s giving McGregor a real chance to win.
“It’s the fight game — anything can happen,” Berto said. “It’s either Conor catches him early, finishes him or Floyd is gonna outboxing him and makes him look silly and tries to embarrass him.”