An accomplished amateur, Berto has enjoyed a
quick ascent to the top of the professional boxing world, culminating in his
first World Championship title on June 21, 2008. Berto sent the previously
unstoppable Miguel Angel Rodriguez crashing to the canvas in the seventh round
to claim the WBC Welterweight title, vacated by Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Two title defenses of his WBC belt have moved Berto to an undefeated 24-0 with
19 of his wins coming by knockout. Despite the quick rise to the top of the
sport, Berto isn’t satisfied with simply winning a world title, he plans to take
over the sport of boxing with his rare blend of speed and power.
His entertaining style and charisma has already made Berto a staple on HBO and
with each knockout he adds to his resume, his fan base continues to grow.
The 25-year-old (as of May 2009) took up the sport of boxing as a chubby
10-year-old in Winter Haven, Fla., encouraged by his father, Dieuseul, an
Ultimate Fighter. Combat sports have driven the Berto family since they were
children and their passion continues today. Andre’s older brother, Edson,
competes in Mixed Martial Arts , sister Revelina recently made a successful
professional MMA debut at the Real Fighting Championships and brother,
Cleveland, is a former Florida Wrestling Champion.
The outlook didn't look as bright for Berto when he was young. The future boxing
phenom quickly built a reputation as the problem child. His father responded by
taking the 10-year-old with him to the gym. Although the sweet science didn't
originally pique his interest, it wasn't long until Berto began training as a
boxer. From the beginning, he displayed the power and strength that he is still
known for today, winning his first several bouts on early stoppages. He went on
to represent his family’s native Haiti in the 2004 Olympic Games, serving as a
one-man team for the Island nation. Berto was the first ever boxer to represent
Haiti in the Olympic Games, but has carved large footsteps for those following
behind him. Haiti has fielded teams for every major international competition
since 2004 and qualified a light heavyweight for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,
From the time that he and his brothers were small, their father pushed them to
their limits, making them box for hours in the kitchen or punishing the kids
with 500 squats and push-ups. Work ethic was instilled in him as a child, as he
ran through the streets of Winter Haven, Fla., with his father following him in
his car, nudging his son with the vehicle if his pace slowed. Although it wasn't
always easy for Berto, the discipline and focus instilled by his dad have shaped
him into the well-tuned boxer and role model that he is today.
Berto prides himself on being a positive example for youth, battling obesity in
the United States and taking time to mentor the young people in his community.
He recently joined United States senators and congressman as well as fellow
professional athletes in presenting the Physical Guidelines for Americans act,
created to ensure that Americans get the proper amount of exercise.
He added another charitable organization to his resume in October, joining the
Board of the Carma Foundation. Berto has joined founder and younger sister to
superstar Wyclef Jean, Melky Jean, in supporting the organization and its
mission of improving the health of poor and vulnerable women and children in
Berto and his family made their first philanthropic visit to Haiti in March to
bring aide to the needy citizens of the Island Nation. The Bertos joined fellow
Carma Foundation delegates in visiting a school, an orphanage as well as meeting
with a local mayor on their three-day trip.
He made his first title defense of the WBC Welterweight championship on Saturday
27 with a unanimous decision over former World Champion Steve Forbes, and
returned to the ring on January 17 to face a second straight former World
Champion. Berto battled Luis Collazo in a 12-round fight-of-the-year candidate
at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss., in his first action of
2009. The bout headlined HBO’s Boxing After Dark action in their first showcase
fight of the year.