Berto-Ortiz II: Boxing's version of the loser leaves town match
By Hector Franco
It’s been five years since Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz first met. The circumstances around their first match up are much different than they are now. But it seems that both men are still attached to that night in 2011, as their careers were changed forever.
Berto at the time of their first meeting was the WBC welterweight champion. Against Ortiz he would be making his sixth defense of his title. Ortiz in 2011 was looking for redemption for pulling the plug in his bout with Marcos Maidana. It was a great fight where both men traded knockdowns, but Ortiz was ultimately undone by the constant attack of the Argentinean. Ortiz had a couple more fights at 140 afterwards including a draw against future world champion, Lamont Peterson. When Ortiz decided to move up to welterweight and face Andre Berto, he was the heavy underdog. Not many expected a performance that would make them forget about this Ortiz quote.
The first bout between Berto and Ortiz took place in April 2011. Although the bout wasn’t seen as a 50-50 match up, it was still highly anticipated as the two men had the style to produce a great fight. Floyd Mayweather was in attendance to scout the two competitors. What fans got was a back and forth bout with both men trading big punches and knockdowns. The sixth round was special as Berto dropped Ortiz with a hard right hand that would have knocked out most opponents. Ortiz came back and dropped Berto with a left hook at the end of the sixth. The fight ended up winning fight of the year honors.
Ortiz was finally a world champion and seemed to finally be on the track bestowed on him as the next Mexican-American superstar. Berto had to go back to the drawing board as he lost convincingly to an underdog. Ortiz was declared the winner of the bout, but neither man was a loser at the end of the night. The bout itself elevated the stature of both men. It would, however, be the last time either man found any glory.
Both men went on different paths but ended up in the same place. Ortiz with the win over Berto got his shot at Floyd Mayweather. It ended as quickly as it came. After a frustrated Ortiz decided to head butt Mayweather, karma paid him back immediately. Mayweather landed a left hand and straight right while referee Joe Cortez was signaling to the timekeeper to start the round. Ortiz didn’t make the count and the fight was over. It didn’t stop there. In many ways, it got worse for both men.
A rematch between Ortiz and Berto was originally going to take place in 2012. Berto, however, failed a drug test for taking norandrosterone. The bout was canceled. Ortiz went on to lose to Josesito Lopez in an exciting bout where he once again stopped the bout himself. This time, it was because he legitimately suffered a broken jaw. Berto went on and fought Robert Guerrero, where he was mugged and beat up for most of the bout. Afterward, Berto switched from longtime trainer, Tony Morgan and went to California-based, Virgil Hunter. They were both at the lowest points of their careers, but things would still get worse.
After the bout with Josesito Lopez, Ortiz was out of the game for almost two years. He made his comeback at the beginning of 2014 against veteran, Luis Collazo. Collazo ended Ortiz’s night early in the second round with a beautifully timed right hook. Ortiz it seemed couldn’t catch a break. Berto’s luck wasn’t much better as he suffered an injured shoulder that required surgery in his bout with Jesus Soto Karass in the summer of 2013. Karass kept coming at Berto and stopped him in the 12th and final round. Berto would take some time off the sport in order to recover from the loss and surgery.
Berto returned in September 2014 against Steve Chambers and won a unanimous decision in a lackluster performance. He then faced off against Josesito Lopez where he was able to score a come from behind knockout in the sixth round after being shut out for five rounds straight. This earned Berto a shot at Floyd Mayweather. A bout he had waited for his entire career.
The fight was as big a mismatch as critics and fans anticipated as Mayweather easily outpointed Berto. Berto presented no threat to Mayweather. Perhaps with just one good win under his belt in four years he wasn’t ready to challenge Mayweather. Ortiz would make a comeback himself while running through an assortment of different trainers. He scored two knockout victories over nondescript opponents. In these fights he looked more like the Victor Ortiz from 2011. And now we have come full circle.
The rematch is set to take place this Saturday night at the famed StubHub Center in Carson, California. Both men come into this bout with their careers on the line. The winner will get opportunities to face other welterweights and may even get a title shot against WBC champion Danny Garcia in the future. The loser may not see their career come to an end, but it’s hard to envision either fighter being in any meaningful fights if they lose.
Both men are looking for redemption. Berto wants to prove that the first fight was a fluke, just an aberration. Ortiz wants to show that not only was the first fight not a fluke but that he is now ready to assume the mantle as one of boxing’s superstars. With so much on the line it’s hard to envision the sequel not living up to or surpassing the original. The winner revives his career and the loser will have to leave boxing’s town of relevance.
Featured Photo: Arnold Turner/Premier Boxing Champions
Source: Rafael, D. (2012, May 18). Andre Berto tests positive; Ortiz rematch canceled. Retrieved April 25, 2016, from http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/7946982/andre-berto-tests-positive-rematch-victor-ortiz-canceled