This Saturday night at 9:45 p.m. EST, HBO Boxing will present a welterweight championship bout between Andre Berto (27-0, 21 KO) and Victor Ortiz (28-2-2, 22 KO). The show will take place at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment and Steven Smith of Rumble Time Promotions are the promoters of the show.
Andre Berto's WBC welterweight (147 pounds) title and undefeated record will be on the line against Ortiz, who is ranked No. 5 by the WBC at welterweight.
The Haitian Berto, a 27-year-old from Miami, Florida who now resides in Winter Haven, Florida, returns to the ring after defeating Freddy Hernandez by TKO in the first round last November. Berto had been scheduled to face Sugar Shane Mosley early in 2010 but decided to cancel due to the earthquake tragedy that occurred in Haiti.
Berto, who is in his prime at age 27, was also mentioned as a possible opponent for Manny Pacquiao, who holds the WBO welterweight title, before Sugar Shane Mosley was named Pacquiao's opponent for May 7, 2011.
Ortiz, a 24-year-old southpaw from Garden City, Kansas who now resides in Oxnard, California, is coming off a majority-draw decision to Lamont Peterson in December of last year. He had previously defeated Vivian Harris by KO in September of 2010 and won a unanimous decision over Nate Campbell in May of 2010.
Ortiz, who is trained by Danny Garcia and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, was once named the 2008 ESPN.com Prospect of the Year.
Ortiz turned pro at 17 and was rising quickly in the welterweight division in March of 2009, when he defeated Mike Arnaoutis via second-round TKO, defending his WBO-NABO light welterweight title and capturing the USBA light welterweight title.
His career took a detour, and his heart and desire remains questionable after being TKO'd in the sixth round by Marcos Maidana in June of 2009, a bout which was for the interim WBA World light welterweight title.
Critics feel that Ortiz lets up easily in his matches after being hit and exposed to adversity, like he encountered in the Maidana fight in 2009 and in his last fight against Lamont Peterson in December 2010.
It will be interesting to see if Ortiz can put up and take a good fight from Berto and come out victorious, silencing his critics once and for all.
Some feel that Berto, a former 2004 Olympian representing Haiti, has been protected by the Shane Mosley fight cancellation and by defending his title against inferior opponents. He has defended his WBC welterweight title five times since 2008, defeating Steve Forbes ib 2008, Luis Collazo and Juan Urango in 2009 and Carlos Quintana and Freddy Hernandez in 2010.
Bob Arum of Top Rank, Manny Pacquiao's promoter, has mentioned that Berto needs to be more popular and well-known before he can face Pacquiao. I, along with others, feel that is the job of his promoter Lou DiBella, and this fight against Ortiz on HBO is a step in the right direction.
Berto, standing at 5'8.5", and Ortiz at 5'9" have no common opponents but similar ring experience. Berto has 132 professional rounds boxed with a 78 percent knockout ratio, while Ortiz has 133 professional rounds boxed with a knockout ratio of 69 percent.
Both fighters are young and hungry and know that with a victory, they can move on to bigger paydays and fights in the welterweight division, where Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather reside.