You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI
Andre Berto is one of boxing's good guys. He worked tirelessly to raise money for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
He's a friendly presence on the social networking website Twitter, where he easily and frequently interacts with his fans. Berto has more than 9,900 followers and has made more than 5,500 tweets. And unlike some celebrities and/or prominent athletes, he doesn't have a publicist tweeting for him.
But on Monday, Berto's openness came back to haunt him.
He was distressed when he learned that former lightweight champion Edwin Valero had committed suicide in his jail cell in Venezuela, a day after Valero was accused of murdering his wife, Jennifer Viera.
On Monday morning, Berto wrote the following on Twitter: "R.I.P to Edwin Valero after killing his wife yesterday he just killed himself in jail today. WOW women are a [expletive] boy RIP E.V."
The backlash against Berto, the World Boxing Council welterweight champion, was fast and furious and it wasn't long before he deleted the tweet and offered condolences to Valero and Viera and their families.
His comment was clearly in outrageously bad taste, particularly when referring to a murder victim.
Give Berto credit, though, for understanding that. His mother and sisters were angry at him, but he realized he had gone over the edge.
He spoke to Yahoo! Sports by telephone late Monday afternoon and said at the time he made the post, he had problems with his girlfriend and had just broken up.
"The comment was made, pretty much, in kind of the heat of a personal frustration for myself and what I was going through in my personal life with my girlfriend," Berto said. "That comment wasn't directed toward Jennifer at all. It was said out of frustration and I didn't mean it that way at all. It wasn't intentional.
"Everybody who knows me or who has been around me knows I have the utmost respect for women in general. That's just me, that's just my morals, that's the way I was raised. This was a tragic situation. Someone got killed. Why would anyone make a derogatory comment?"
Berto said he learned a deep lesson and will think before he writes in the future. He's been a good ambassador for boxing and doesn't deserve to be turned into a villain because of one clearly inappropriate, unacceptable comment.
The Valero case is an epic tragedy and there are children aged 8 and 5 who are now orphaned because of it.
Berto reflected poorly on himself by his words, but the pain was evident in his voice as he spoke and it's obvious he gets it.
He's usually done the right thing at the right time in his life and here's hoping he learns from this and will do the right thing again.
With that, let's hop into the mailbag where I'll respond to your questions and comments about the Valero tragedy, the Sergio Martinez-Kelly Pavlik fight and other boxing topics.
It's a horrible tragedy. A young woman was murdered. Two innocent children are left orphaned, without their mother or their father. A promising athlete is dead. Valero clearly had many demons in his life. As a boxer, he was rapidly improving. He always had amazing power, but he was a wild puncher with almost no technical skills. But he began to develop nicely and showed great courage and much improved skills in his fight with DeMarco. I just pray the children are taken care of and have as normal a life as can possibly be expected.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
First, let me make the point that the Gatti family vehemently contests the idea that Arturo committed suicide and insist it was murder. But you make a great point, Keegan, and sadly, little is done to help boxers. I think it would be terrific if a fund could be set up to help current and retired boxers. Perhaps every state and/or country that licenses a fighter can collect an additional $5 and put that into a pool. Instead of sanctioning bodies collecting a three- percent fee for sanctioning title fights, they could cut that fee to 1.5 percent and donate the other 1.5 percent to a boxer fund. And maybe 25 cents from every ticket or pay-per-view sold could be added. The fund could be used to help boxers with medical care, provide them with job training and otherwise act as a safety net. Unfortunately, I wouldn't hold my breath for anyone in the sport to do much of anything to help.
Quezon City, Phillipines
Top Rank only promoted Valero for a short time and was his co-promoter at that. There is an eerie similar to Benoit, I believe. That's a good comparison, Dante. He was highly skilled and if he could have even become just an average boxer, he would have been one of the greats. Someone in his life failed him, but it wasn't Top Rank.
There have been calls for Jack Loew's dismissal going back years, as Pavlik was coming through the ranks. Loew isn't as good of a trainer as Roach, but he did teach Pavlik the game and Pavlik wound up winning the middleweight title. What I see is this: Pavlik wasn't conditioned properly (Pavlik's fault) and he's not skilled enough to take on real slick, crafty boxers. He's a big puncher and he's going to beat most of the guys who stand in front of him or try to trade with him. That's why he had success with Jermain Taylor. But someone like Martinez was far too fast and elusive and Pavlik is never going to have success with a guy like that. It wouldn't hurt to bring someone in to work alongside Loew, but I believe Pavlik's failures have more to do with bad matchups than anything. Guys like Martinez and Bernard Hopkins are crafty, slick fighters who will give Pavlik plenty of issues no matter who's training him.
St. Louis Park, Minn.
Pavlik had one of the best cut men in the game, Miguel Diaz, working for him and he fired him. Brumback did a poor job on Saturday and it was a factor in the fight, no doubt. Pavlik needs to reconsider that decision to fire Diaz.
I agree that Lucian is an exciting fighter and I look forward to seeing him more. Remember, though, that he once lost to Librado Andrade. While an exciting, all-action fighter, Andrade has very limited skills. Calzaghe retired unbeaten and did away with guys like that. I don't think Bute would have beaten a prime Calzaghe, let alone knocked him out.
- Edwin Valero
- Andre Berto
- Kelly Pavlik