Thursday, May 5, 2016

Belated Thoughts On Ortiz-Berto II

The first time Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto met in 2011 it was for Berto’s WBC Welterweight world championship. What resulted was a thrilling back and forth encounter where both fighters were knocked down and showed their mettle over the course of twelve grueling rounds. At the end of that encounter Ortiz emerged victorious earning a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision to take the championship away from Berto in a fight that received Fight of the Year honors by many publications including Ring Magazine.

In the years since that fight both fighters experienced the ups and downs that come in almost any Boxing career. Ortiz’ reign as world champion would come to an end as he suffered a fourth round knockout loss at the hands of Floyd Mayweather in September 2011. Ortiz would go on to lose fights to Josesito Lopez and Luis Collazo in 2012 and 2014.

Although Ortiz had gone on to establish an acting career outside of the ring, he was able to bounce back winning two fights over Manuel Perez and Gilberto Leon in December 2014 and December 2015. Berto meanwhile briefly regained a portion of the world Welterweight championship when he defeated Jan Zaveck for the IBF world championship in September 2011.

Berto however, would suffer losses to former three-division world champion Robert Guerrero, Jesus Soto Karass, and a loss in his most recent battle against Floyd Mayweather in September of last year. In a way given what each fighter had experienced since their battle in 2011, it could be described as both ironic and a natural option for both Ortiz and Berto that their paths would cross once again on April 30th at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.

This time there was no world championship at stake, but one might argue that this was a crossroads fight for both fighters as each was looking to get back in the hunt for a potential title shot. Prior to this fight, I wondered what type fight the rematch between the two would be. Although it was unrealistic to expect the type of fierce battle the two engaged in back in 2011, I was nevertheless interested to see what either fighter have left in them as they would be going against an opponent that brought out the best in each other the first time around.

For the first three rounds of the rematch, I felt Ortiz dictated how the fight was fought both in terms of his lateral movement and ability to mix his offense to the body and head of Berto, despite suffering a cut in his hairline as a result of an accidental clash of heads in the first round. Ortiz was also able to drop Berto in the second round with a straight left hand. Even though I felt that Ortiz was perhaps having one of the better performances of his career after three rounds, it was in round four where Berto put Ortiz away in sudden and dramatic fashion.

Berto connected with a flush right uppercut to the head in a similar fashion to his knockout victory over Miguel Rodriguez in June 2008 where he won the WBC Welterweight world championship. As was the case in his fight against Rodriguez, the uppercut Berto was able to land on Ortiz sent him down to the canvas. Although Ortiz was able to beat the count, Berto sensing he had his opponent in trouble pounced on him and sent him down for a second time with a follow-up barrage of punches. Ortiz was able to get up at the count of nine, but clearly did not know where he was and could not respond to Referee Jack Reiss when asked if he wanted to continue forcing Reiss to stop the fight.

Even though the second encounter between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto did not equal the intense battle of the first fight in 2011, it was still a very competitive fight that produced excitement. Even though it is logical to assume that Andre Berto will find himself possibly in line for another world title shot in the future, this observer believes that an option that should be considered is a potential third fight between Berto and Ortiz.

Although Berto was able to stop Ortiz inside the distance in the second fight, both of the encounters between the two were entertaining and provided Boxing fans with much excitement. With each fighter having scored a victory over the other, it seems logical that a third battle between two would be welcomed by both Boxing fans and experts alike. Unlike some trilogies where questions of who won a close decision and/or controversy can motivate a second or third encounter, a third fight between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz would simply look to determine who is the better fighter of the two. After two competitive and entertaining battles why not?

“And That’s the Boxing Truth.”

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