NEW YORK (AP) -- Shawn Porter stopped Andre Berto in the ninth round of a sloppy, often inartistic welterweight elimination bout Saturday night at Barclays Center.
Porter was in control for much of the bout, which resembled a street brawl more than a prize fight. There was some wrestling, lots of clutching, even a near chop-block, and lots of blood, mainly from head butts.
"I got to clean up those head butts," Porter admitted.
In the end, though, it was Berto's inability to get off the ropes against the relentless Porter, who figures to get a title shot before year's end.
"We tried to use the whole ring, but sometimes in the heat of the battle, I'm a fighter and Mr. Berto is a fighter as well," Porter said. "Those head butts were just the two of us going in and fighting."
Porter, 29, of Las Vegas, had lost two of his last four fights, including last June at this arena to Keith Thurman. The former champion was well ahead when the fight was stopped at 1:31 in the ninth as Berto stumbled around. Porter outlanded Berto 60-12 in last two rounds.
Porter is 27-2-1 with 17 knockouts Berto is now 31-5.
"I got a lot of head butts, and he did, too," said Berto, who won the WBC title in 2008, had five successful defenses, then lost it to Victor Ortiz by decision in 2011. He also was the IBF champion and was the loser to Floyd Mayweather in "Money Man's" final fight.
"Shawn is a tough competitor. We had a good, competitive fight until the head butts got to be a little too much for me."
Now the mandatory challenger for WBC champion Thurman, who beat Danny Garcia in March at Barclays Center, Porter previously has held the WBO and IBF crowns. He'll need to be sharper and better defensively against Thurman.
"I was just up here wishing he said yes - that's the fight I want next," Porter said.
Referee Mark Nelson often stopped the fight to have doctors look at each boxer's eyes. Porter, 147 pounds, was cut first and bled profusely near his left eye in the second round. But it also was one of his best rounds, and he knocked down Berto (146 1-2 pounds) with a left-right combination - his sharpest of a mostly clumsy showing.
Porter began bleeding in the areas of both eyes in the fourth round, but Berto also was cut in that round. Soon after began the short delays as ring doctors periodically examined each fighter.
Had Porter backed off and then thrown some straight rights when he consistently had Berto against the ropes, he might have settled matters earlier before a crowd of 9,118 in the Showtime telecast. Instead, as he is wont to do, Porter fought from close in, negating his power.
But Berto, 33, of Winter Haven, Florida, had little left after a strong seventh round in which he kept Porter off-balance.
"I have to give him credit, but he's a rough fighter," said Berto, who hadn't fought since avenging his first defeat by beating Ortiz a year ago. "He has great skills but, at the same time, he's going to be rough and try to handle me anyway he can."
It was rough, and Porter did handle Berto, though the winner hardly lived up to his "Showtime" nickname.