With two losses in his last three bouts, there are some who believe former welterweight titlist Andre Berto is already on the downside of his career.
In fact, you can count Ramon "Yuca" Morales, the trainer of Berto's opponent on Saturday night, Jesus Soto Karass, as one of the most vocal in this group.
"We are sure that Soto's best version will beat Berto's worst, since Berto is on his way down," Morales said.
Berto (28-2, 22 KOs) will face Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs), the rugged Mexican brawler, in a 12-round welterweight bout as the main event of Saturday's tripleheader, dubbed "Knockout Kings II" by Golden Boy Promotions, at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
Also on the televised portion of the card, Omar Figueroa (21-0-1, 17 KOs) faces Japan's Nihito Arakawa (24-2-1, 16 KOs) for a vacant interim lightweight belt, and Argentinian Diego Chaves (22-0, 18 KO's) defends his interim welterweight title against Keith Thurman (20-0, 18 KO's).
"Soto is still young, and he knows that this is a huge opportunity for him," Morales said. "After Berto, let the better rivals step into the ring. But he must win on Saturday. And to achieve that, he completed an excellent training camp."
Berto, 29, went the distance in recent all-action, exciting slugfest defeats with Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero. He also saw his lucrative rematch with Ortiz go up in smoke when he tested positive for steroids. Needing a change, Berto fired career-long trainer Tony Morgan and replaced him with Virgil Hunter.
"I'm not sure it will be the last chance for Andre Berto to reach the pinnacle of boxing, but if that's the case, I'm sure he will prevail because we really prepared to defeat Jesus Soto Karass," Hunter said.
Hunter claimed that Berto is excited by the prospect of getting a new shot at a world championship, and in order to claim that, he must defeat Soto Karass, who has proven to be a tough test for anyone looking to climb the ladder in the welterweight division.
"It's hard to tell if this is [Berto's] last shot, but we prepared to face Soto at his finest," Hunter said. "We are aware that he is always ready for a war, and that motivated Andre. We are sure that we will have an amazing fight because Berto belongs to a higher level, although we are not underrating Soto."
Morales, meanwhile, said his concern is with the risk of Soto Karass dealing with cuts to the face. Because of that, they have brought two cutmen to help in their corner, just to be on the safe side.
"The risk of the cuts is something we've prepared for," he said. "There will be a couple of cutmen to prevent any potential problems, but we are confident that this fight will be ideal for Soto Karass and he will be able to take a step into something much bigger."