In a hard fought contest, recently dethroned WBC welter champion Andre Berto got right back on the horse by stopping IBF titlist Jan Zaveck at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, MS.
Berto answered any questions about his remaining abilities following a punishing loss to Victor Ortiz in April with a good performance against Slovenian hard man Zaveck.
The IBF champion had a good first round, winning a tactical battle by getting in close where the faster Berto's speed advantage could be lessened.
Zaveck had to take hard punches, particularly to the midsection, in order to gain this position but the proximity paid off late in the first frame when he rattled Berto with solid short hooks.
The action picked up in the second and rounds as Berto's quicker hands found the mark often but his lack of an effective defense allowed Zaveck to remain in the bout, scoring with crisp punches of his own and making for an exciting, pitched battle.
Zaveck took control in the fourth, punching and scoring on a more consistent basis than Berto, who was slowing down and trying to pick spots for his strafing bursts.
The fifth saw the slugfest continue and both men begin to exhibit damage around the eyes, with Zaveck suffering swelling that thoroughly shut one of his eyes and impaired the vision of the other to the point that his corner stopped the bout between the fifth and sixth frames.
Berto regains his status as a world champion, winning the IBF title and improving to 28-1 (22). Zaveck, 31-2 (18), loses the crown after three defenses but will likely see future high profile opportunities after putting on the best performance of his career in his first bout in America.
The undercard saw South African southpaw Thomas Oosthuizen, 16-0-1 (11), retain his IBO super middle belt with a 12 round UD against America's Aaron Pryor, Jr on scores of 117-111 on all three cards.
Oosthuizen canvassed Pryor Jr in the third but could not finish off his rival what turned out to be a good fight.
Talented American super feather prospect Gary Russell Jr, 18-0 (10), had no problems outboxing game but limited Mexican and fellow lefty Leonilo Miranda, 32-4 (30), in a 80-72, 80-72 and 79-72 eight round unanimous decision while big-punching former WBO light welter titlist Randall Bailey,42-7 (36), posted a 100-89, 100-89 and 98-91 points verdict after ten rounds at welterweight against Yoryi Estrella, 10-6-2 (7).