Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thoughts and Prayers out to Andre Berto and his family

ESPN has some sad news. Welterweight champion Andre Berto, who I posted about earlier, has dropped out of his scheduled fight with Shane Mosley due to overwhelming family tragedy in Haiti.

"Since the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday evening, I have been focusing on my family and the Haitian people who are facing an inconceivable battle for survival while still trying to continue to prepare for an opportunity I have dreamt of since childhood," Berto said in a statement. "I lost several family members to the earthquake and, after two days without word, was relieved to learn that my sister, Naomi, and her daughter, Jessica, survived, but were left homeless. I have seen the pain in my parents' eyes as they attempt to understand what has happened to our homeland and recognize a place they once called home.

"As a result of this disaster, I am mentally and physically exhausted and, therefore, I have no choice but to withdraw from my bout on January 30."

Berto lost at least eight family members in the disaster.

Berto's parents were born in Haiti before immigrating in 1980 to Winter Haven, Fla., where Berto grew up and still lives. Berto (25-0, 19 KOs) also represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympic Games and has done charitable work there for the past several years.

"Throughout the past six days, I have received an incredible outpouring of support, and I sincerely appreciate everyone's prayers for the people of Haiti," Berto said. "I hope that everyone will continue to keep the Haitian people in their thoughts and prayers as we work to rebuild this proud nation. The rebuilding of Haiti is not something that will happen overnight, but I am fully dedicated to helping the Haitian people recover from this catastrophic event."

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