andre_berto2.jpgSUNRISE (AP) _ American Andre Berto retained his WBC welterweight title with a stoppage of Carlos Quintana on Saturday, April 10, boosting his chances of a bout against the premier fighters in the weight class.

Berto stopped Puerto Rico's Quintana in the eighth round for his fifth successful defense of the WBC crown.

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 bout or two before taking on the best.

Quintana (27-3) had Berto looking tentative in the first two rounds. Berto sustained a right biceps injury some time in the opening two rounds, but he finally found his comfort zone and began teeing off on the Puerto Rican.

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.

Part of the proceeds of the fight will benefit the Haitian earthquake relief fund. Berto's 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 job there was holding down semi-conscious people while they had limbs amputated because there wasn't enough anesthetic to go around.

On the undercard, Panama's Celestino Caballlero (34-2, 23 KO) defeated Indonesia's 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.''

Pictured above is Andre Berto.