Ten months after a classic and spirited slugfest that is a definite “Fight of the Year” candidate, former World Champions “Vicious” Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO’s), of Ventura, Calif. and Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KO’s), of Winter Haven, Fl., will slug it out again on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. EST/PST, delayed on the West Coast). View a collection of pictures and quotes from the opening press conference right here.
The eagerly awaited 12-round fight is a rematch of a fiercely contested, multiple-knockdown affair on April 16 that Ortiz won by a unanimous decision (114-112, 114-111 and 115-110) while capturing Berto’s World Boxing Council (WBC) 147-pound title. Both fighters were knocked down twice in the fight, with Berto being dropped in the first, Ortiz going down a round later and each of them hitting the deck in a wild sixth round that many are calling the Round of the Year.
“Repeat or Revenge: Ortiz vs. Berto II“ is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and DiBella Entertainment. Tickets, priced at $300, $150, $100 and $50, are on sale and are available at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
“VICIOUS” VICTOR ORTIZ
“My team kind of said it all. I don’t need to say a whole lot. I prepare very well. I know I’m up against a tough opponent. I captured the world championship and went for the best. I’ll leave everything in the ring and bring home the victory once again. I don’t hate anybody. I respect all of them. We’re here to box and fight and make a great show on February 11th. I’m ready.
“I’m being counted out once again. Once again, not the best of the best. Once again, I’m too nice. You know what, I’ll show you February 11th why Andre Berto belongs where he’s at and why I’ve made him belong there. I don’t need to say anything more than that.”
“I have put in the time and worked very hard to get to where I am.
“This is a tremendous opportunity. I’m ready to get it on. I’ve had to improve my game. I’ve had a hard, tough training camp and just have to stay focused and get the job done.
“I’m hungrier than ever. I predict a win.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER (CEO of Golden Boy Promotions)
”We are definitely starting out 2012 with a big bang. ‘Ortiz-Berto II’ is boxing at its best and the single biggest fight that can be made outside of Mayweather-Pacquiao.
“We are all very excited. This is the first time a premium channel fight is being supported like a pay-per-view event. SHOWTIME is planning to do a Fight Camp 360.
“Their first fight may be ‘Fight of the Year’ and both guys want to set the record straight. The rematch might be 2012 ‘Fight of the Year.’ Both of these world champions are guaranteed to put on a great show.
The 147-pound division is the one with all the biggest names and we have two of them fighting each other.
“We’re expecting a sellout.“I really want to thank Stephen Espinoza and SHOWTIME for stepping up the way they have. This will be an incredible night of boxing.’’
STEPHEN ESPINOZA (Executive Vice President, General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports)
“I’m very excited and proud to have this as my first official press conference. I’m more excited and more proud that this is the first fight that I acquired in my position as Executive Vice President (and General Manager) of SHOWTIME Sports and Event Programming. This fight is the most compelling, most exciting, most highly anticipated fight available. That’s why it was my No. 1 priority from the very first minute I accepted the position with SHOWTIME…to make sure that this fight appeared on SHOWTIME.
“Not only am I excited and proud to have this as SHOWTIME programming but all of my colleagues are excited as well. We will be receiving the support of our parent company, CBS and all of its platforms, which includes the free television network, CBS Interactive and other CBS Sports Networks. All of these plans will be developing more as time goes forward.
“When they are deserving, we’ll be airing what used to be non-televised undercards on SHOWTIME EXTREME before the telecast begins on SHOWTIME. This will be an opportunistic play for our network based on multiple factors. SHO EXTREME has blossomed into one of the strongest cable television and sports programming outlets. SHO EXTREME is where we replay all our boxing and MMA events, and the rest of our award-winning sports programming such as Inside the NFL, Inside NASCAR, The Franchise.
“This is going to be an amazing fight between two of the brightest young stars in the sport and that’s yet another reason why it was important for SHOWTIME to acquire this event. These are two world-class athletes and just as importantly, if not more importantly, two world-class young men, very articulate, very personable and they are exactly the type of young men that SHOWTIME wants to be in business with. I’m looking toward to February 11th. It’s guaranteed to be a great.’’
ROLANDO ARELLANO (Ortiz’s manager)
“We at Team Ortiz will convey nothing but respect to Andre Berto. We know he is a great fighter. We know that he has the courage of a warrior with a great team. We know that he is hungry and that his thirst for revenge is present. We clearly understand all those facts. The only way we know how to respect him, our sport and the fans is to prepare for this fight like never before.
“I will pledge to our fans that Victor will raise his standards in this fight like never before. If Andre Berto thought he ran into a freight train last time, this time he will feel the (hurt) of a nuclear bomb.’’
TONY MORGAN (Berto’s Trainer)
“Berto was just out of it the last fight. He tried to come in light. He was completely deficient. We found out after that he was anemic, but no excuses. Victor fought his butt off. I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying Berto wasn’t 100 percent. This time, we’ll be 100 percent and we’ll see the true outcome. I think we knock him out. I just hope for a good fight.”