Berto takes inspiration from Serena shocker

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Peter Stebbings
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Las Vegas (AFP) - Huge underdog Andre Berto said Friday that he is taking inspiration from Serena Williams' shock defeat at the US Open tennis as he plots his own career-defining upset.

Berto has lost three of his last six fights and is a rank outsider for the welterweight world title showdown against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Mayweather, 38, the pound-for-pound king, says it will be his last time in the boxing ring and he wants to write his name in the history books by going a perfect 49-0.

"It don't matter," said Berto, asked if he was bothered that nobody was giving him a chance, after the two fighters easily made the 147-pound weight limit in front of a raucous crowd.

"Where I come from, we never had a chance to come out of that. Just the fact that I am here tells you something," he added, alluding once again to his troubled background in Florida.

Asked if he could emulate Italy's Roberta Vinci, the world number 43 who defeated Williams on Friday at the US Open semi-finals, Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) replied: "Of course, man. God is good, so you better tune in.

"We are here for a reason and I don't care about the other shit. I already been through a lot."

- Dig at Pacquiao -

Moments earlier, Mayweather and Berto -- who go back many years -- engaged in a 30-second staredown at close quarters that had fans on their feet.

Berto, 32, who hit the scales at 145 pounds, appeared to mouth several words to Mayweather, but would not reveal what he said.

"Last time I am ever getting on the scale," said Mayweather, who weighed in at 146 pounds, thanking fans who gave him a hero's reception.

Pundits and fight fans have widely dismissed Berto as having a big heart but no chance, but Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) was more cautious.

"I don't overlook any opponent. I have been here before and I know what it takes to be in a fight of this magnitude.

"Just stay focused and do what I do best -- which is to win," he said, to more screams and cheers.

Asked what he would do with himself after hanging up his gloves -- many do not believe that he really will -- Mayweather said he was not looking beyond knocking out Berto.

"He is a tough guy with a high knockout ratio. He's a tough and rugged competitor," he said.

"But I have faced everyone in boxing -- (Manny) Pacquiao, (Miguel) Cotto, Canelo (Saul Alvarez).. I have already faced the best fighters."

And Mayweather -- whose final preparations have been overshadowed by accusations he violated anti-doping rules -- could not resist another dig at Pacquiao, defeated on points by Mayweather in May in a so-called "fight of the century" widely acknowledged as a big letdown.

It was on the eve of that superfight that he received an intravenous infusion of saline and vitamins and minerals. The substances are not banned, but the infusion procedure required a therapeutic use exemption.

"The main thing is to be at my best tomorrow," Mayweather said. "Since Pacquiao did not give the fans a good fight, tomorrow is going to be a great fight."

The public, however, are seemingly unconvinced about that -- tickets were still on sale on Friday, just 24 hours before Mayweather's supposed farewell.