Sweet Revenge: Berto KOs Ortiz

By Robert Ecksel on May 1, 2016
Sweet Revenge: Berto KOs Ortiz
“He was hurt and I went right after him. He couldn't take my power.” (Suzanne Teresa/PBC)

Although Berto is 32 and Ortiz is only 29, it’s fair to say that both fighters are at the tail end of their careers…

Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, in a fight televised live on FOX and FOX Deportes, former WBC and IBF welterweight champion Andre Berto (31-4, 24 KOs), from Winter Haven, Florida, KO’d former WBC champion on one-time conqueror Victor Ortiz (31-6-2, 24 KOs), the southpaw from Ventura, California, by way of Garden City, Kansas.

The time of the stoppage was 1:14 of round four.

Last night’s fight was a rematch of their 2011 Fight of the Year. That match was a thriller with multiple knockdowns, but much has happened in the intervening years. Berto had gone 3-3 in his last six fights, losing to Robert Guerrero in 2012, Jesus Soto Karass in 2013, and Floyd Mayweather in 2015, while Ortiz had gone 2-3 during the same time period, with losses to Mayweather in 2011, Josesito Lopez in 2012, and Luis Collazo in 2014.

Although Berto is 32 and Ortiz is only 29, it’s fair to say that both fighters are at the tail end of their careers.

Fighting out of the red corner in blue and white trunks with green trim, it took Berto took a couple of rounds to loosen up.

Ortiz, fighting out of the red corner in blue and red trunks trimmed in silver, was focused and looked like he was taking boxing seriously again.

An accidental clash of heads in the opening round had Ortiz bleeding from a cut on the hairline. But Ortiz kept his cool, which hasn’t always been the case.

Berto was tight and fought jittery in round two. Ortiz caught him with a straight left as the round was drawing to a close and scored the first knockdown of the fight.

“I wasn’t hurt by the first knockdown,” said Berto. “I was more mad at myself for getting caught. I fell asleep for two seconds, my feet were tangled, I fell on my butt. I wasn’t hurt, it was like, damn.”

Berto began finding his rhythm in round three. He is no longer the athletic fighter of old, but the same charge can be leveled against Ortiz.

In round four Berto drilled Ortiz with a right uppercut which he didn’t see coming and the Californian went down hard. Showing the heart of a champion he got to his feet. But a fusillade of punches dropped him a second time.

The referee Jack Reiss waved it off.

“I didn’t see it coming,” said Ortiz. “The guy doesn’t hit soft. I’ll be back. I haven’t had the perfect career, but I guarantee all the fans here enjoyed my fight.”

The booing from the crowd suggested otherwise.

“I was in dog mode,” Berto said. “I let him walk through it the first time … he was the guy who gave me my first loss and it’s been looming for years. Once he went down it was over. I knew he was hurt and I went right after him. He couldn’t take my power.

“It was the most satisfying win of my career.”

Berto called out Danny Garcia after the fight.

“I would take on Danny Garcia sure, just tell me when and I’ll be ready. It’ll be a tremendous fight. I bring the power, I bring the speed, as you can all see, and it’s something I think you’ll see.”

Garcia would like nothing better than to fight Berto, assuming he doesn’t have bigger fish to fry.

“If it’s Berto, it’s Berto,” he said.

Ortiz, meanwhile, needs to stay focused on boxing or retire altogether.

“I didn’t really lose control,” he said, even though it appeared he lost control. “I dropped my hand and he caught me. He is a hard puncher just like myself.

“This was a history book type of fight. He went down. I went down. Righty vs. lefty. This is boxing.

“I knew as soon as the headbutt happened that it was not good because the blood started pouring. That’s not a big deal. It happens in boxing.”

It was good fight, but not as good as the first one.

Where their careers go from here is anybody’s guess.

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