Berto cleared for light sparring

Andre Berto, left, is recovering from an injured shoulder suffered against Jesus Soto Karass. AP Photo/Darren Abate

Former two-time welterweight titleholder Andre Berto, recovering from a torn right shoulder tendon, has received clearance to begin light sparring following his August surgery.

Berto returned to Dr. Neal ElAttrache's office for a follow-up appointment on Monday, during which the surgeon also said that Berto could begin full contact sparring in mid-April.

The 30-year-old Berto (28-3, 22 KOs) suffered the injury during the second round of a 12th-round knockout loss in a tremendous battle with Jesus Soto Karass in July in San Antonio. With his shoulder torn, Berto fought most of the fight using primarily his left hand. Even with the injury, Berto managed to knock Soto Karass down in the 11th round before Soto Karass dropped Berto and stopped him in the 12th.

Berto had surgery on Aug. 14, 2013 and has done his rehabilitation in Los Angeles and San Francisco -- to be close to trainer Virgil Hunter -- over the past seven months.

"These last seven months and the whole rehab process haven't been easy at all, but it was worth it to finally be able to get back in the ring," Berto said. "I'm refocusing all my energy on coming back at 100 percent and showing all of my fans the best Andre Berto both mentally and physically. I have learned a lot during this time off and everyone is going to see all of that in my next fight."

Berto hopes to be back in the ring in July.

"Going through the beginning of rehab I was angry. I was really bitter thinking 'why,' and learning how to use my arm all over again," Berto said. "There were a lot of lonely nights on the couch with that sling on not hearing that phone ring from anybody outside of my family. Me, just wondering if my gift has been taken away from me.

"I have a refreshed spirit now because that was one of the toughest things I ever had to go through. I feel that I am back for a reason and have a lot more to fight for."