Berto withdraws from title fight, citing Haiti quake
Andre Berto withdrew Monday from his Jan. 30 fight with Shane Mosley, saying the strain of dealing with the earthquake that struck Haiti left him unable to fight.
Berto, who represented Haiti in the Athens Olympics, said he could not train properly for what was to be the biggest fight of his career.
"As a result of this disaster, I am mentally and physically exhausted and therefore I have no choice but to withdraw from my bout," Berto said in a statement.
The undefeated Berto was to defend his WBC welterweight title against Mosley in a fight on HBO at the Mandalay Bay resort. Mosley, who has held titles in three different weight classes, was to be his most significant opponent yet.
Berto, whose parents are from Haiti and who has many relatives on the island, had been in training in Florida and was scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas on Wednesday. But he said he could not go forward, despite the fight being "an opportunity I have dreamt of since childhood."
"I lost several family members to the earthquake and after two days without word, was relieved to learn that my sister, Naomi and her daughter, Jessica survived, but were left homeless," Berto said. "I have seen the pain in my parents' eyes as they attempt to understand what has happened to our homeland and recognize a place they once called home."
Berto (25-0, 19 KOs) was born in Miami but fought for Haiti in the 2004 Olympics after narrowly missing the U.S. team. He has been involved in charity and relief efforts in his parents' homeland for several years.
Berto said he appreciated the support he's gotten since the earthquake struck and hoped that the people of Haiti would be kept in everyone's thoughts and prayers as work begins to rebuild the country.
"The rebuilding of Haiti is not something that will happen overnight, but I am fully dedicated to helping the Haitian people recover from this catastrophic event," he said.
Berto's withdrawal from the fight could mean a different opportunity for Mosley, who hasn't fought since stopping Antonio Margarito a year ago. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still searching for an opponent for his next fight, and the 38-year-old Mosley would potentially be a better test than some of the names that have surfaced lately.
Both fighters are represented by Golden Boy Promotions, which would presumably make the fight easier to make.