WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto, an American born Haitian who represented Haiti in the 2004 Athens Olympics, has withdrawn from his January 30th showdown with WBA welterweight champion Shane Mosley.
Berto (25-0, 19 ko´s) confirmed that several members of his family have perished in the Haitian earthquake that has so far claimed the lives of an estimated 200,000 people.
In a statement to the press, Berto said;
“Since the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday evening, I have been focusing on my family and the Haitian people who are facing an inconceivable battle for survival while still trying to continue to prepare for an opportunity I have dream´t 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. 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.”
The statement continued;
“As a result of this disaster, I am mentally and physically exhausted and therefore I have no choice but to withdraw from my bout on January 30th.Throughout the past six days, I have received an incredible outpouring of support, and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s prayers for the people of Haiti. I hope that everyone will continue to keep the Haitian people in their thoughts and prayers as we work to rebuild this proud nation. 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.”
The Berto v Mosley unification bout was to be the first superfight of 2010. There is still hope that the bout might be re-scheduled for March 1st.
Another possibility is a match-up between Mosley (46-5, 39 ko´s) and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Both fighters are promoted by Golden Boy, and Mayweather is looking for an opponent for the March 13th slot at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas left vacant by the cancellation of the proposed Pacquiao v Mayweather megafight.