This month marks the five year anniversary of the Welterweight title fight between the then champion Andre Berto, now (30-4, 23 KO’s) and Victor Ortiz, now (31-5-2, 24 KO’s) offered to the Mashuntucket, Connecticut crowd. The Ring magazine awarded the two pugilists with the 2011 “Fight of the Year.” After all this time, the two fighters are set to meet again, and in different ways, each man’s career is on the line.
The First Fight
Berto vs. Ortiz I was action packed as Ortiz took the fight to Berto from the opening bell and never let up with his relentless pressure and powerful punches. Berto was hurt in the opening bell and took a knee, only to reciprocate a knockdown in the second round by landing a right hand on Ortiz’s chin.
Rounds 3 through 5 were full of back and forth action with Ortiz having an edge. As the sixth round unfolded, more drama came as Ortiz was dropped flat on his back after another Berto right hook. Ortiz picked himself up from the canvas and shook off the knockdown and with seconds left in the round dropped Berto once again, this time with a short left hook inside.
The fight went the distance. Ortiz controlled most of the remainder of the fight as Berto seemed incapable of keeping up with everything Ortiz brought into the fight. Ortiz had his hand raised with the glory of being the new welterweight champion in a fight where he was the unanimous underdog.
Since that award-winning fight, both fighters were given great boxing opportunities and fell tremendously short, and neither man has reached the pinnacle which that fight had promised. A scheduled rematch was scuttled and then never came to fruition until now, with Ortiz teetering out of an active career, and Berto dealing with repeated injury issues.
Ultimately, Berto racked up three wins and three loses in the past five years, including a notable win against Josesito Lopez over a year ago, and his shutout loss against Floyd Mayweather this past September.
Ortiz recently added two victories to his record against lesser known fighters after three back to back defeats. To his credit, we should mention those losses were at the hands of Floyd Mayweather, Josesito Lopez and Luis Collazo. The former was a fight he earned via defeating Berto, but he was hopelessly outmatched and then knocked out with a semi-sucker punch on the break. Meanwhile, against Lopez, he fought on with a broken jaw but Lopez stole the show.
Now here we are, with Ortiz and Berto getting to fight one another again. What makes this fight interesting is the fact that it is even taking a place. Unfortunately at this stage, after all these years and the defeats and setbacks that both have suffered, it will be hard for either man to be truly elevated by the bout. Both boxers had respectful careers and both were champions, however, their best days are clearly behind them. This one may be more about simple pride and rivalry between the two.
In the past five years, it is safe to say that Berto has displayed more steam and will compared to Ortiz. That said, when the going gets tough, he often forgets to put his skill and technique to use. That’s what cost him dearly against Jesus Soto-Karass, for instance.
If Berto is truly dominant in the showing, it will keep him in the mix in the welterweight division. But anything short of that and he’ll be in also-ran territory. Ortiz needs to pull off a win to rejuvenate his own career instead of relegating himself to the world of Hollywood for good.
Ortiz vs. Berto II Prediction
Ortiz has more to prove, and he will try to prove something, anything, by taking the fight to Berto with aggression. A wild attack though offers a broken defense. Berto lands a straight right on the button. Ortiz will hit the canvas and spend the rest of the ten count crawling on all fours pretending as if it’s his chin that is the problem. To the contrary, it’s the problem which surfaced against Marcos Maidana all those years ago.