SUNRISE, Fla. -- WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto hopes his latest win shows he's closer to being ready for a fight against the premier fighters in his weight class.
Berto stopped Carlos Quintana in the eighth round Saturday night to retain his WBC welterweight championship at the BankAtlantic Center. Berto (26-0, 20 KOs) did heavy damage from the third round through the eighth. He finally stopped Quintana, a former WBO champion, with a succession of hard rights before referee Tommy Kimmons ended the bout at the 2:16 mark.
Now, the question is how long it will take before Berto, 26, gets a shot at the high-profile welterweights such as WBO champion Manny Pacquiao, WBA champion Shane Mosley or former champion Floyd Mayweather.
"My knockout was pretty vicious," Berto said. "It may open up their eyes a little bit. But then again they have to look at I've been off for a long time so it's only going get better from here."
Promoter Lou DiBella, who handles Berto, said he'd like a fight against Pacquiao but he also admitted Berto, who had an 11-month layoff, might need another fight or two before taking on Pacquiao.
Quintana (27-3) had Berto looking tentative in the first two rounds. Berto sustained a right biceps injury sometime in the opening two rounds, but he finally found his comfort zone and began teeing off on Quintana
Berto began landing combinations and had Quintana against the ropes in the third round. In the fifth round, he rocked Quintana again, this time with a straight right.
Berto landed a couple big rights in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Both fighters complained about their opponents' tactics during the fight. Early, Berto claimed Quintana was hitting him in the back of the head, and Quintana eventually had a point deducted. But Quintana also had a complaint.
"The ref let Berto hit me in the back and it took me out of my rhythm," he said.
The card was promoted as "Fighting for Haiti" because part of the proceeds will benefit the Haitian earthquake relief fund. Berto was born in Winter Haven, Fla., and still lives there, but his parents were born in Haiti.
After the Jan. 12 earthquake, Berto canceled his Jan. 30 fight against Shane Mosley and went to Haiti to aid the relief effort. Part of his work there included holding down "three or four" semi-conscious people while they had limbs amputated because there wasn't enough medication to fully sedate everyone.
To help rebuild Haiti, Berto started the Berto Dynasty Foundation.
In other fights on Saturday's card, Celestino Caballlero (34-2, 23 KO) defeated Daud Cino Yordan (25-1) by unanimous decision to claim the WBA interim featherweight title to go alongside his IBF and WBC belts. Caballero dominated the fight although Yordan managed to score regularly.
"It wasn't an easy fight," Caballero said, "but when it comes to the world championship, if they want my belt they have to be prepared."
Two Cuban fighters now living in Miami also won. Cruiserweight Yunier Dorticos (4-0, 4 KOs) defeated Zack Ziegler (3-1) of Fort Thompson, S.D., with a first-round knockout at the 1:24 mark. Also, middleweight Yudel Johnson (6-0, 4 KOs), who a silver medal for Cuba at the 2004 Olympics, recorded a first-round knockout over Chris Grays (9-20) of Traverse, Mich., at the 2:04 mark of the first round.
The most anticipated Cuban fighter, bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux (5-0), the two-time Olympic gold medalist, didn't appear as scheduled due to a back injury.
Antwone Smith (18-1, 9 KO) of Miami recorded a third-round knockout against Franklin Gonzalez (13-5, 9 KO) at the 2:40 mark in a welterweight bout, and Willie Monroe (8-0, 3 KO) of Ithaca, N.Y., defeated Ibaheim King (7-2) of Miami in their six-round middleweight fight.