Who you guys got?
I really can't see Ortiz winning this one. I hope after this fight Berto actually steps up and fights somebody decent. He seems to be hiding in the background of boxing although his last KO was incredible!
Who you guys got?
I really can't see Ortiz winning this one. I hope after this fight Berto actually steps up and fights somebody decent. He seems to be hiding in the background of boxing although his last KO was incredible!
ortiz has more going for him than i think he knows. still i agree with you. since the maidana fight i just don't trust him. if he could win this one i might not question his back bone issues in the future.
I think Ortiz has shown what he is made of when faced with adversity, and once Berto has outboxed/pummeled him for 8 or 9 rounds, look for Victor to seek a way out.
I truly hope I'm wrong, but...
Andre Berto and the Quest for Respect
By Gabriel Montoya/Max Boxing
Forget rankings, titles, money or TV dates. Respect is the hardest thing to earn in boxing. From the first bell a fighter hears to the last, respect of an opponent and most importantly, the crowd, is the thing he is fighting for. All the rest comes with it. WBC welterweight titleholder Andre Berto has HBO dates, huge paychecks, the aforementioned belt and a place atop the barren welterweight division. What he doesn’t have is the respect of the crowd. That might be because he is the poster child for his adviser Al Haymon’s shadowy hold on HBO, allowing Berto to make paychecks like his $900,000 for nine-punch performance against soft touch Freddy Hernandez last November. It might also be because he twice turned down fights with Shane Mosley, once because there was an earthquake in Haiti (where Berto lost relatives and loved ones) and the other times because Berto wanted an even split and the fight to not be in Mosley’s native Los Angeles. Or it could be simply because fans still hold a close win over Luis Collazo in January of 2009 against him. Whatever the case, Berto has everything a 27-year-old fighter hitting the prime of fighting life could want except the one thing money, fame, and winning a vacant title can’t get you: respect. That might just change Saturday night when he faces “Vicious” Victor Ortiz at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, CT, live on HBO (9:45 PM ET/6:45 PT).
“I feel I’ll always get a little criticism,” Berto said on a recent conference call. “A lot of people believe in my skills and potential. I’m fighting Victor Ortiz. I’m going in with a guy with a lot of speed and power. He’s going to bring some action and try to prove himself. At the end of the day, I don’t listen to criticism. You need balls to step in the ring against anybody. I’m comfortable in myself and my true fans believe.”
Just how many “true fans” Berto has is a matter of some debate. When Berto, a fighter of Haitian descent who hails from Miami, Florida, fought Carlos Quintana in April of 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, benefiting survivors of the Haiti earthquake, he sold a total of 900 tickets. That he made close to a million dollars to do it speaks to Haymon’s odd sway with HBO. It also speaks to the fact that while he may be exciting at times in the ring, he has yet to resonate with the public for whatever reason. For hardcore fans, Berto’s rise to the WBC title is cause to view him with a questioning eye. In an era of multiple titles in each weight class, Berto got his the new-fashioned way: he fought for it after it was vacated by fellow Haymon stablemate Floyd Mayweather against Miguel Angel Rodriguez back in June 2008 and since then has defended the belt five times, twice against solid opposition and three times against tailor-made opponents. Two of those came from the junior welterweight division, hardly cause for boxing fans to get excited.
Now Berto is fighting Ortiz, a 24-year-old southpaw who was once thought to be a top contender at junior welterweight. However, following a six-round TKO loss to Marcos Maidana, Ortiz is now thought to be damaged goods. Still, Ortiz is a southpaw, which, early on in Berto’s reign, was something that troubled him in the Collazo fight. Many are pointing to that fight as evidence he will have trouble here. Berto thinks otherwise.
“They’re making a mistake if they’re watching the Collazo fight,” said Berto. “It was close but I wasn’t prepared mentally or physically. It was the worst I’ll ever look. I’ve had tremendous sparring, non-stop, getting familiar with his style – southpaw angles – mentally getting prepared for those punches. Luis Collazo is a tough veteran. On my end, I wasn’t in shape like I was supposed to [be]. That’s a mistake fighters on the rise go on and don’t take [fights] as seriously as some. It almost cost me the fight. I made that fight tough. Luis Collazo is tough; give him credit.”
Perhaps this is where some of the criticism comes from, as other younger fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Chad Dawson, to name two, had close fights with Jose Luis Castillo and Glen Johnson respectively. They took heavy criticism with those wins and rematched the fighters in order to right the ship of public opinion. Berto never did that. Though both blame each other for the fight not happening, the fact remains that Berto’s title reign seems run by someone other than him.
To Berto’s credit, Collazo went back up to 154 pounds following that fight and remained there idle until this week when he returns after a long layoff against Franklin Gonzalez tomorrow night.
When you look at Ortiz, he does present problems for Berto. He moves well and, unlike Steve Forbes and Juan Urango (who moved up in weight to face Berto), Ortiz has always had a welterweight frame. He is a half-inch taller than Berto, carries nice power and speed and can be both mobile and aggressive in a come-forward style. Like Berto, who was dropped early in his career by an old Cosme Rivera and hurt by Collazo who is not known as a power puncher, Ortiz’s chin is questionable. What separates them, beyond Berto being a natural, acclimated welterweight, is experience.
“How do you figure his competition [is high level]?” Berto asked a reporter. “I fought Collazo, Urango and Quintana, who beat Paul Williams. They say the fighters I’ve fought are a lower level of competition. I won’t get credit that I deserve [after the Ortiz fight]. I just keep knocking guys out. Talk doesn’t make a difference. Every time I step in with ‘em I’ll make it look like that [easy].”
Recently, Ortiz took on Lamont Peterson, a contender at 140 pounds, who poses problems physically but does not have one aspect of his game that stands out enough to take out the elite of the division. Still, he held Ortiz to a draw after “Vicious” Victor had him down early and was seemingly in control of the fight. As much as we deride him, Berto gets the job done and has shown both toughness and resiliency in the ring. The same cannot be said for Ortiz.
“Victor Ortiz is a good kid and can fight,” said Berto. “He is limited in a lot of areas. He’s trying to box but needs to be set on his feet to throw punches. He’s a tough kid. Lamont Peterson, later in the fight, hit him with a lot of tough shots. If I had hit him like that, he probably would go to sleep. He definitely comes to fight.”
Berto, on the other hand, struggled with the southpaw Collazo but seemed to learn from his mistakes when he faced Quintana and stopped him in eight rounds despite a torn bicep suffered in the fight.
“I’m feeling sharp,” said Berto. “It’s always different going in against a southpaw. It’s been going well and now I’m hurting southpaws anytime, almost second nature. There should be no problem at all.”
Regardless of Berto’s lack of regard for Ortiz, the challenger is still a dangerous opponent and Berto will have to be on his game to defeat him and do it in style. Some may call this a battle of overrated fighters. Me? I see two flawed but aggressive fighters who together can make for an exciting (if short) night at the fights. Both men have a lot to prove in this fight. Berto will be looking for a signature win against a dangerous opponent, never mind that Ortiz has been stopped before. Never mind he is coming up in weight. Ortiz knows this is the Last Chance Saloon and despite what Berto may say or think, that makes him a very dangerous man Saturday night.
“Skills pay the bills. I can outpower him; I can outskill him, any way it goes,” said Berto. “What showed in the Maidana fight, maybe he feels that he has a lot more to prove and he’s willing to die to prove it. I have a heart of a lion – where it comes from, how I’m built. There’s no question about my heart. I have to question his on everything from one situation, when he had to endure controversy – he didn’t like to crack back. At the end of the day, you can’t teach what beats in the chest. You either have it- heart- or you don’t.”
Should Berto beat Ortiz, the pickings get even slimmer at welterweight. Beyond his mandatory Selcuk Aydin, there is Mike Jones, an aging Randall Bailey (who recently moved to welterweight), Kermit Cintron (who is willing to come down in weight for the fight), WBA co-titleholders Vyacheslav Senchenko and Souleymane M’Baye, IBF titleholder Jan Zaveck and not much else. That’s below or equal to Berto in the rankings. Above that is a double holy grail in Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Being fellow “Haymonites,” Mayweather and Berto will never fight. To lure Manny Pacquiao, Berto has to A) show weakness and B) bring something to table, i.e. ticket sales, PPV numbers, and/or public interest besides those 900 screaming fans. In short, to get that ball rolling, Berto has to look spectacular here because the only way to get to Manny is to win the respect of the crowd, which will in turn fill the empty seats that plague him.
In the end, though, as Berto says, talk is cheap. Actions will speak for themselves and the rest will take care of itself.
“My big fight is April 16th on HBO. I’m fighting a young, hungry lion. I’ve been calling these guys [Mayweather and Pacquiao] out. Been there, done that. I can’t keep yelling out their names after each fight. Same [frustrating] thing [applies] with [Nonito] Donaire and [Sergio] Martinez. Who do you want to fight, Mayweather or Pacquiao? I’ll keep dominating the guys in front of me. All the barking, as you see, really doesn’t get the business done. If they want to fight you, they’ll fight you.”
Golden Boy Throws Victor Ortiz to the Wolves in His Matchup with Andre Berto
By Patrick Faust/Bleacher Report
Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto was supposed to be a matchup of the two hottest young fighters in the welterweight division; a fight between two men was to bring electricity into the ring with them and produce fireworks with their fists. It was going to be a fight of the year candidate.
It probably was supposed to take place a couple years down the road as well.
Instead it’s taking place this Saturday with little or no fanfare and the expectation that one of the two men will end up knocked out early. Of course, it’s Ortiz whom they believe will be on the short end of the stick in an early stoppage.
“Vicious” Victor has had a precipitous drop without ever having reached the stratosphere of boxing. He had the look. He had the ability. He had the skills. Hell, he even had the back-story of a fighter who was destined for great things.
Then along came Marcos Maidana and away went any notion of “vicious.” It was a bad night for Ortiz and regardless of anything else he’s accomplished to this point, it was his defining moment.
Just to recap quickly, early in the fight with Maidana, Ortiz dropped Maidana and then was dropped almost immediately after. Then came back to knock Maidana down twice in the second round only to get cut over his eye in the fifth, knocked down in the sixth before the fight was stopped. Knowing what we know now about Maidana, that in itself wasn’t so bad.
Berto will look to blitz Ortiz early and often.
Al Bello/Getty Images
It was the post-fight interview that doomed Ortiz. In summary, when asked by Max Kellerman about the stoppage, Ortiz replied, “I don’t deserve this.” He said he didn’t deserve to take a beating like that. I bet if he’d have been fine with it if he were the one doing the beating.
In boxing, you can’t be called “Vicious” and then when the fight gets stopped say, “I don’t deserve this.” If Ortiz had simply said something like “Maidana was the better man tonight” or “I’ll learn from this and get better” or even if he’d have made an excuse like, “I had trouble making weight…I hurt myself during training.” Quite literally almost anything else he could have said would have been better than what he actually said.
So much of boxing is heart. It has been perceived since then that this is the major flaw in Ortiz and it has yet to be disproven with his actions. In his last fight against Lamont Peterson, he again knocked his opponent down early, but instead of keeping the pressure on, he sort of played to prevent. He prevented himself from getting knocked out and prevented himself from winning a fight that he should have won.
A lack of heart, or the perception thereof, is probably the worst weakness to have against a strong, fast pressure fighter like Andre Berto. I say perception, because if Berto perceives that, which he most assuredly does, he’s going to come into the ring and try to blow Ortiz out early. I guarantee that throughout Berto’s training for this fight that has been the mantra: Test his heart early and test it often.
Having no chin, no speed and no punching power are also bad weaknesses to have against Berto, which are weaknesses that many of Berto’s recent opponents have had. To put it mildly, Berto hasn’t fought a murderer’s row lately. It’s not all his fault, but that doesn’t make it untrue either.
Berto’s toughest fight to date came against the skilled southpaw Luis Collazo, and although he won a tough contest, it was in doubt until the decision was announced. It’s hard to say if Berto’s difficulty against Collazo was a product of his fighting a southpaw or if it was a product of Berto simply stepping up in class.
What’s not hard for me to tell is that it seems as though Golden Boy Promotions has given up on Ortiz. I don’t believe that their willingness to put him in with an ultra-aggressive puncher like Berto has much to do with an overwhelming amount of confidence. I think it’s more like the opposite.
It’s as though they have thrown Ortiz to the wolves and told him he needs to fight to survive. This can go very badly for him, and if that’s the case, then Golden Boy will know what they have and move on in another direction. If he wins, or at least has a good showing and shows grittiness or toughness then they’ll probably continue to promote him as a rising fighter.
I believe Ortiz does have the skill and strength to make this fight very interesting. If he can get out of the first couple of rounds without getting bombed, that is. If he can display what it is that he is perceived to be lacking.
Maybe this is what Ortiz needs, to be thrown to the wolves.
you can read countless articles and interviews with the old timers saying there is nothing wrong with losing. they say it is a learning experience. then they bemoan the fact that top fighters won't fight each other now a days like the "old days".
this author does not seem to be of that lilt. if victor ortiz is not given a chance to show that he has learned from his losing to marcos maidana is the option to just accept that he is a no hoper ? how long does the sport last if everyone gave up as soon as the 0 is gone ?
this kid accepts a challenge to right the ship and he is being thrown to the wolves ? is that what it is ?
to me ortiz is a hard puncher that got surprised by maidana. i have no way to know yet if he learned from it but i am not so sure he is being thrown to the dogs. much as been said about his comments in the interview after the fight but also telling was what maidana said about the quality of victors punches. the kid does have something to prove and that might prove a danger to andre berto.
I have Vic winning the fight. He isnt going to wilt under Bertos strength. Hes learned to box a bit better and be more patient.
When I heard about this fight, the first thing I thought is that Golden Boy is cashing out on Ortiz. He hasn't beaten any world class 140 pounders much less any top 147 pounders. I think that he is being fed to Berto before he loses any more luster.
I don't think Ortiz is being thrown to the wolves. He is making very good money to fight on HBO. He has a chance against Berto. Although I think Berto will win, I have spoken with boxing folks whom I respect who feel that Ortiz is too strong for Berto's chin and the southpaw element will make things tough on Andre.
This is the first fight that has any crackle to me. Wolves or not, I am happy that someone is taking a risk. Berto ain't invinsible and I ain't sold him stepping up when it counts.
Why Against Why: Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz Preview
by Carlos Acevedo/Cruelest Sport
“Watchman Falls Victim to His Devotion to Duty.” Andre Breton
Two of the biggest enigmas in boxing—Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz—face off on Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, in a bout that ought to be held at the Overlook Hotel or, perhaps, in the broom closet of an odditorium. Both men are prime examples of modern boxing hocus pocus, where a largely unremarkable form of abracadabra is achieved simply by fooling increasingly gullible television network executives and the readers of leastsideboxing.com.
With nearly 60 starts between them, Berto and Ortiz have faced less than a handful of quality fighters combined. In fact, only Luis Collazo, Carlos Quintana, and Marcos Maidana can be considered topnotch opponents, with Juan Urango trailing behind and accompanied by an asterisk. Berto, 27-0 (21), has beaten Collazo, Quintana, and Urango. Ortiz, on the other hand, lost to Maidana via brutal TKO in a thrilling shootout that ended when Ortiz quit in the ring.
Since being publicly humiliated in his loss to Maidana, Ortiz, 28-2-2 (22), has spent nearly two years on a “rebuilding” program sponsored, in large part, by HBO. A steady stream of shot veterans and wall-eyed trialhorses has kept his wallet fat and television viewers perplexed. Ortiz even got to steamroll haywire Vivian Harris for a hefty paycheck to the delight of sadists across North America.
His last bout, a sloppy draw against Lamont Peterson, was a step up, but Ortiz, 24, looked like a fighter suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that night. After dropping Peterson twice in the third round, Ortiz seemed to lose heart and his reluctance to press his advantage allowed Peterson back into the fight. Somewhere along the way, Ortiz has also become reluctant to mix it up, at times simply circling around the ring or, worse, hopping to and fro without any apparent purpose. This new development in his style, a certain skittishness, cost him dearly against Peterson. Now Ortiz, Oxnard, California, faces his first live opponent since June 2009, and he moves up to welterweight for the chance.
Despite the fact that Berto, 27, has been featured on HBO eleven times—eleven!—the public is none the wiser for it. Neither, it appears, is Ross Greenburg. Berto, Winterhaven, Florida, was last seen earning roughly $900,000 as the chief undercard support for the Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis firefight. He knocked out completely overmatched Freddy Hernandez in less than a minute. Like many young fighters on the HBO subsidy program over the last few years, Berto is on a two-fight a year schedule against soft opponents for big money. How a fighter who has never garnered ratings and who once drew 985 1/4 paying customers to a hometown title defense has managed such a swindle is difficult to say. Logic, like water in the desert, is a limited commodity in boxing, and the career of Andre Berto is a reminder that prizefighting is often less a sport than a series of surreal shell games.
As for the fight itself, the number of riddles surrounding it gives the bout an air of intrigue not often found on HBO these days unless you count “Boardwalk Empire” and “Big Love.”
Neither man has been in a serious fight in years. Berto struggled early against Quintana, but took over within a couple of rounds; Ortiz did not look particularly good against Peterson, but it was his nerves—and myopic judges—that cost him a win that night.
These days, Ortiz is footloose between the ropes, which might be of some use against a flat-footed Berto, and he also has the advantage of being a southpaw. On the other hand, Ortiz is often clumsy and off-balance when throwing combinations, seems to have difficulty implementing a game plan, and enters the ring with a chin shaped like a question mark. For his part, Berto has developed some bad habits in the ring—mincing with his jab, keeping his hands low, and hugging on the inside—perhaps the byproducts of knowing that there is usually more danger in climbing the ring steps than there is in swapping punches with his opponents come fight night.
Both fighters are hopeless on the inside, with Berto, in particular, looking like a man snuggling up to a leggy blond in the clinches. Even Carlos Quintana, a crafty southpaw boxer, roughed up Berto in close, dropping The Human Bermuda Triangle of Boxing with a short blow to the side of the head within two minutes of the opening bell. Referee Tommy Kimmons chose to ignore the knockdown and then made the existential decision to favor Berto every chance he could that night. Berto looked like the biggest crybaby in the world against Quintana in the opening round, perhaps the sign of a man who has gotten too used to having it easy in the ring.
Even so, Berto has faster hands, hits harder, and can be creative with his offense, particularly with a sneaky right uppercut. He is also used to taking shots from smaller men moving up in weight class. In the battle between two walking conundrums, Berto seems slightly less mystifying than Ortiz at this point. He ought to be able to hurt Ortiz somewhere along the way and stop him with a follow-up blitz, although nothing can ever be certain when entering the boxing equivalent of Wonderland.
My gut says that Berto will stink it up & run his way to a decision the moment anything gets tough in there.
I'd like to see Berto try to overwhelm Ortiz since he wilted under Maidana, but I don't see that happening.
Ortiz can punch and if he hits Berto flush, I have my doubts that he can take it as well as Maidana did.
I threw this fight into the Title Bout blender. Here's the results over 100 encounters, with one important caveat. Ortiz is listed at JWW and Berto at WW. I checked the weight adjustment box, which may be irrelevant if Ortiz is unaffected fighting bigger men.
Andre Berto vs Victor Ortiz 58-41-1 100
Berto won 58.00% of the matches.
Average rounds for wins: 7.00
Unanimous Decisions: 5
Majority Decisions: 1
Stoppages (avg. rounds): 52 (6.42)
Knockouts: 25 (6.72)
Technical Knockouts: 27 (6.15)
Referee's Decision: 19 (6.00)
Due to Cuts: 8 (6.50)
Ortiz won 41.00% of the matches.
Average rounds for wins: 7.49
Unanimous Decisions: 7
Split Decisions: 1
Majority Decisions: 1
Stoppages (avg. rounds): 32 (6.22)
Knockouts: 7 (7.00)
Technical Knockouts: 25 (6.00)
Referee's Decision: 17 (6.12)
Due to Cuts: 7 (5.71)
Due to Disqualification: 1 (6.00)
1.00% of the matches have been draws.
Average number of rounds: 7.25
Andre Berto Victor Ortiz
Knockdowns scored 126 99
Not checking the weight difference box gives Ortiz a sizable edge.
Andre Berto vs Victor Ortiz 34-59-7 100
Berto won 34.00% of the matches.
Average rounds for wins: 8.44
Unanimous Decisions: 10
Split Decisions: 1
Stoppages (avg. rounds): 23 (6.74)
Knockouts: 10 (7.10)
Technical Knockouts: 13 (6.46)
Referee's Decision: 6 (5.00)
Due to Cuts: 4 (6.00)
Due to Disqualification: 3 (10.00)
Ortiz won 59.00% of the matches.
Average rounds for wins: 8.75
Unanimous Decisions: 13
Split Decisions: 4
Majority Decisions: 3
Stoppages (avg. rounds): 39 (7.08)
Knockouts: 13 (5.69)
Technical Knockouts: 26 (7.77)
Referee's Decision: 16 (6.75)
Due to Swelling: 1 (11.00)
Due to Cuts: 8 (9.00)
Due to Disqualification: 1 (11.00)
7.00% of the matches have been draws.
Average number of rounds: 8.76
Andre Berto Victor Ortiz
Knockdowns scored 79 95
If the predominance of wins-by-stoppage holds, it should be a fan-friendly affair.
By Marty Mulcahey (MaxBoxing)
Boxing fans should be cautious in advance of HBO’s rare tape-delay show tonight, as the result of the Amir Khan bout from England will be available online hours before the opening bell of HBO’s show. The co-main event features two of the most criticized boxers in HBO’s pantheon of performers; with Andre Berto disparaged for his level of opposition while Victor Ortiz still suffers in the aftermath of a stoppage loss to Marcos Maidana. If I were an HBO executive trying to hype this match, it would be marketed as a “Loser Leaves HBO’s Airwaves” showdown, which might just be the case for Ortiz if he loses anyhow.
At M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, England
(HBO) Amir Khan (24-1) vs. Paul McCloskey (22-0)
(The Ring magazine #2 junior welterweight vs. #10)
(WBA junior welterweight belt)
Paul McCloskey – Undefeated Irishman is peaking at the right time, stopping his last five opponents despite those boxers representing McCloskey’s best opponents to date. The 31-year-old sports an unblemished 22-0 record and his intuitive southpaw style on defense and offense is difficult to crack. As an amateur, ascended through the tough Belfast gym system, starting to box at age six, becoming a three-time national champion and representing Ireland at international competitions. Took part in every major Irish, Commonwealth, European, and world competition but was never able to win a title at those tourneys. McCloskey estimates his amateur record around 115 wins and 20 losses. Did not turn pro until age 25 after a final attempt at Olympic glory came up one fight short in European qualifying. McCloskey says Barry McGuigan is his boxing hero, as any good Irishman will, along with Pernell Whitaker and Roy Jones Jr. In citing those boxers, McCloskey appreciates them for more than fighting prowess. “I’m a firm believer that boxing is as much in the fighters thinking as the physical attributes and fitness. They use their speed and intelligent fighting brains to dominate opponents.” McCloskey is smart in and out of the ring, managing himself and is an avid poker player. That poker face is useful in the ring, where he displays little emotion. At his core, McCloskey is a calm southpaw, with a hands-low style, judging distance in order to lure foes into errors. Takes advantage of his foes’ missteps with quick combinations and even faster retreats to set up another ambush. Is a thinking fighter with a great sense of anticipation on defense, which translates into high punching accuracy on offense against off-balance adversaries. Though over 30, McCloskey’s reflexes remain excellent and he enters the ring with an aura of confidence without being cocky. The one recognizable McCloskey victim for American fans is former champion Cesar Bazan, whom McCloskey danced around and jabbed silly winning every round. His 55% kayo ratio is based on volume and an accumulation of punches. I liken McCloskey to former German great Sven Ottke, a tactical boxer who could evade punches and score with or without fancy footwork.
Amir Khan – I described the affable Kahn as the English “Golden Boy.” His image branded with a youthful Olympic smile, matching persona, and moved much in the same way Oscar De La Hoya was by Bob Arum. Nothing wrong with that but it can create backlash from fans who wrongly perceive Khan as arriving at his destination with less work than others. Khan showed in his last fight, against Marcos Maidana, that he can brawl if need be. The Mancunian went toe-to-toe with a dangerous puncher after it became obvious Khan could have won the fight easily by boxing from the outside. Captured England’s attention as a 17-year-old when he won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, displaying the type of maturity that only comes to those who begin boxing in their pre-teens, as Khan had (first remembers boxing at age eight). Ironically, Khan stopped undercard fighter Victor Ortiz in the amateurs. Only suffered three defeats in the amateurs and, to my eyes, Khan uses his long reach and accurate punching much the same way a young Erik Morales did. Like De La Hoya, Khan tasted the canvas on a couple occasions early in his career. Unlike Oscar, Khan did not make it to his feet one time when caught cold by Breidis Prescott in the first round. With the help of trainer Freddie Roach, has virtually made everyone forget about that loss and exudes a charm that has big companies racing to endorse the Pakistani-English gentleman. Won a WBA title at age 22, making him England’s third-youngest world champion, after Naseem Hamed and Herbie Hide. That win over Andriy Kotelnik rivals Khan’s win over Maidana as his best achievement in the pros. Against Kotelnik, he looked the smarter boxer, despite a wide gap in experience and ring maturity in favor of the Russian. At 5’10” with a 71-inch reach, Khan has good physical tools but it is the rapid-fire nature of his punches that sets him apart. Not just the speed at which they are thrown but also how straight and accurate they arrive on target. I liken it to getting snapped with a towel that is wetted at the end. It is not debilitating but you take note of it and instinctively create space to escape it. That’s space Khan uses to get full extension on his punches. In that sense, opponents of Khan inadvertently give him what he wants. Khan describes himself as, “I’m good at attacking or boxing backwards. The thing with me is that I’m an overall fighter. When I know someone is hurt, I finish him off. When I know someone is rushing at me, I will box him. So I am a boxer-fighter.” I have a feeling the fighter is showing up tonight.
Verdict – This is seen as an easy fight for Khan, with SKY Sports refusing to sell it as a PPV for its perceived lack of competitiveness. Aside from defensive technique and better sense of distance, McCloskey has no advantages and he has faced a complete fighter like Khan. That sense of space is counteracted by Khan’s reach and speed advantages, which forces McCloskey to engage Khan at center ring or get pushed to the ropes. Khan will force McCloskey to fight because of his lengthy jab and an ability to take large steps and fill gaps which McCloskey usually creates. This fight will test Khan’s feet as much as Maidana’s fists tested Khan’s chin. I have a feeling the ring will be small, with Khan’s feet more than adequate as well. The naturally bigger Khan wears on McCloskey and as the Irishman slows, the harder blows of Khan take their toll, forcing McCloskey to the canvas. At the end of eight rounds, McCloskey’s corner either throws in the towel or the referee halts the fight with McCloskey still on his feet.
At Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT
(HBO) Andre Berto (27-0) vs. Victor Ortiz (28-2-2)
(The Ring magazine #3 welterweight vs. unranked)
(WBC welterweight belt)
Victor Ortiz - I doubt Ortiz can ever overcome the image (both visual and verbal) his loss to Marcos Maidana created. Unlike someone like Roberto Duran, who had built a reputation before his embarrassing “No Mas” moment, Ortiz was a prospect making a first impression instead of reinforcing it. The likable Ortiz made headlines as much for his post-fight comments (seeming to lack a commitment to continue fighting) as the actual kayo he had just suffered. Ortiz started boxing at age seven, advancing to become an American international representative. Won regional titles but was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Olympic qualifiers, finishing with a 141-20 amateur record. The other huge advantage Ortiz gave himself in the amateurs was converting to a southpaw style, allowing him to lead with his naturally stronger right hand. In 2008, Ortiz was chosen as ESPN’s “Prospect of the Year” and I took notice of how Ortiz put forth his best performances on the biggest stage. With maturity comes punching power (in both hands), which the 24-year-old Ortiz proves by stopping 11 of his last 14 opponents. In the process, Ortiz earned the nickname “Vicious” but also showed versatility and patience in his wins over Emmanuel Clottey and Nate Campbell. Ortiz is a southpaw to boot and the way he took out fellow southpaws Mike Arnaoutis and Carlos Maussa proved he has the offense to deal with various boxing styles. Ortiz gave another uneven performance against Lamont Peterson, dropping Peterson twice and allowing him to survive and box to a draw. Ortiz has not recovered that feeling of malice to his combinations that made him a potential star but still has one of best short hooks fired during infighting. Because of offensive talent, Ortiz’s defense, which has gotten better since his loss, has been undervalued and left unreported. His head is not as stationary as before and seldom does Ortiz pull straight back or come out of a crouch with a low guard. There are very few intelligent kayo artists and Ortiz could still develop into someone who falls into that special category if he overcomes the Maidana setback mentally. I point to Kostya Tszyu as a boxer who got better after a loss but it takes the right kind of attitude and personal introspection. Does Ortiz have this?
Andre Berto – An instinctive boxer-puncher, groomed to be a champion from an early age. Won over 200 bouts in an amateur career that saw him win two National Golden Gloves and PAL tiles anda bronze at the World Amateur Championships. Represented Haiti in the Olympics (after a controversial disqualification in the American Olympic trials) but lost in the opening round to Frenchman Xavier Noel. At 27, is in his physical prime, and Berto has shown he can win various ways, en route to becoming an alphabet titlist. Frankly, Berto was gifted the title when the WBC approved the Miguel Rodriguez fight as a title bout and the fight with blown-up Steve Forbes was more of a test than a title defense. He did have a tough time with crafty southpaw Luis Collazo but junior welterweight slugger Juan Urango never tested Berto’s defense with his lumbering style. Those would all be great wins for a progressing fighter but I think Berto is slighted by fans because of an association with HBO that fast tracked him to a title. Berto is a quick-fisted combination puncher, who generates a lot of speed, despite a wide stance that seems more limiting than it is. Because of Berto’s extraordinary hand speed and reflexes, he gets away with minimal movement. Berto allows opponents to make a first move, which he invariably counters with well-selected counters. If there is such a thing as an offensive counterpuncher, it is Berto. That style got him in trouble with a quick Collazo but Berto showed a lot of heart and stamina sweeping the championship rounds to earn a split decision. Muscular upper body gives the impression that Berto is a pure power-puncher but it is the speed those short arms generate that does the real damage. Accuracy is a big part of that 78% kayo ratio and when combined with punch selection, it is what makes Berto an exciting force. When opponents try to take away one part of Berto’s game, his brains compensates to amplify other parts of his arsenal. Berto’s physical gifts have overshadowed a pronounced boxing IQ, which should reveal itself as his opposition finally rises this year. I think Berto can beat a host of contenders on muscle memory alone and over seven-year pro career, he has acquired the knowledge to beat anyone at 147 pounds not named Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather.
Verdict – Victor Ortiz’s setback against Marcos Maidana has too many analysts underestimating him, much like Robert Guerrero suffered unfair criticism after his fight with Daud Yordan. Ortiz is a live dog in this fight, who sports one of the game’s best short left hooks on the inside. I look for Berto to be rocked and dropped early in the fight, along the ropes with Ortiz in his chest but have confidence in Berto’s feet and toughness to ride out those moments of angst. A more focused Berto uses his jab and quick combinations to keep Ortiz at bay and score from the outside. Ortiz is not used to fighting at welterweight, wilting as the rounds ratchet up and doubts creep into his mind. In the final analysis, Ortiz knows he can be beaten, while Berto lacks that introspection and is a better champion for it. Berto sweeps the final four rounds to win a close decision, his speed, timing, and bodywork taking the play away from Ortiz from the sixth round on.
props to brother rocky for calling the winner outright.
guys that punch like victor ortiz and also have something to prove are going to be tough to beat. victor took some really stiff shots and never quit coming after andre berto who finally just wilted past the point of stopping victors powerful offense.
i got pretty miffed with ref rudy ortega tonight. all his criticism seemed directed at ortiz. berto ducked into victors punches causing the rabbit hits himself. ortega appeared almost biased in his job.
Wonderful fight. Ortiz showed strength, heart, condition, and yes, a chin, because he took some serious bombs. In fact, both guys showed wonderful heart. There were spots in this fight in which both could have been KO'd, but they hung tough and fought back. Those were some brutal knockdowns. Wow. Ortiz though was so strong and just a work horse. Berto couldn't handle the pace and strength. Andre relied on landing the big bomb, and although he pulled it off the times he dropped Victor, he was not able to sustain enough offensive output and ultimately that was the difference. Ortiz was so much more consistent. I don't think Andre was ever the same after the 1st round knockdown, but credit him for putting up a valiant effort.
Other than working more consistently and not loading up, I would have advised Andre to work more uppercuts and body shots, given how much Ortiz ducked his face forward. Big miss by Andre in that respect.
Great, fan-friendly fight, which whet one's appetite for a rematch. Ortiz puts the Maidana debacle in the rear-view mirror while Berto now has to do the same career rehab Ortiz accomplished.
Both guys showed tons of heart, but neither one made a compelling case to be serious opposition for Pac or Floyd, IMO.
Berto's corner was simply a hot mess, with at least three voices trying to speak over each other, and apparently Berto listening to none of the them. He was the one who got dragged to deep water in this one, and he barely survived. Ref Ortega's dad should be reaming him out now for the way he kept insinuating himself into the action, stopping any inside fighting from taking place. Sure, he stopped the clinches--which were more prevalent in the later rounds, and precipitated by Berto, but he unnecessarily stepped in-between the two while they both had hands free. That Ortiz was the more effective man inside made it seem that Ortega was giving Berto quite a break.
Anyway, this was the type of fight that the sport needed. Looking forward to a rematch of this one.
I was very upset with the refereeing tonight. I like Mike Ortega, he is a great guy and his dad and I go back a long, long way. One of my many boxing robes is hanging in my living room and was given to me by his Dad Gaspar at G&S Sporting goods back in 1965.
The great fight was ruined quite a bit though with no one commentating noticing it or saying a word round after round as if it is not happening in front of them.
They have Harold there but Ross never brings in a referee to comment on what ruins one bout after another and explain it to the fans. No one else seems to see it or know the finite things absolutely ruining these bouts.
Additionally, the Conn officials who use Mercante Jr or refs who do these things like tonight along with the failure of the commentators to notice it right away always surprise me. Mike as I said is a nice guy but he put on a lot of weight and his waistline was causing him to move very slow. He would break them WITHOUT them being locked up, and WHILE they were infighting. He did this constantly round after round.
When they were locked up yes he would break them but would also break them at the wrong times continuously
He was extremely and I do mean extremely slow in stepping out of the way on the breaks, the amount of time lost in this fight with the deliberate and slow step back by the referee ate up the minutes as he pushed them back then stepped back even slower. This robbed the fans of many minutes of action if you add it up.
Watch the film and you will see how much time is wasted by moving so damn slow.
The point deduction was wrong as Berto in action was bending his head down and was not rabbit punched a la Wepner V Ali in the back of the skull but in the side of the head.
The other knockdown of Berto which was ruled a slip should have credited Ortiz with another knockdown.
Finally Larry Merchant did say the referee was injecting himself into the fight too much and he was, it truly was ruining the fight and many times it was very frustrating to see the premature breaks with almost no infighting allowed. Too much talk later in the bout, and constant breaks while Ortiz was trying to nail him.
The constant talking by Berto's brother should never have been allowed, it confused Berto and conflicted with the other instructions. A real pro corner would never have allowed it. One voice, the others shut up.
I was one of those who wrote Ortiz off. He hasn't showed me much before this fight. It this fight he came in shape and fought like a champion. I was wrong. I see a rematch in his future.
Excellent fight. Props to Ortiz for proving that he does have a champion's heart. After bitching about so many of the recent fights I was so happy to be reminded why I love boxing in the first place. Hopefully there is a rematch. But, honestly, I think it will be hard for Berto to turn the tide. (And I picked him to win yesterday)
Shocking result with Juan Manuel Lopez as well on Showtime!
I tole you guys......Vic is getting bigger, better, more a boxer. He took this guy out tonite with the best infighting Ive seen in a long long time. Berto showed effects of the gay nite life. No snap, no pizzazz. Vic has been getting his sleep and it showed. I got him beating Floyd right now. The Maidana fight? Marcos is a Anton Raadek type. Can wreck anyone's plans with a solid punch. Vic has learned and got tougher.
Thank you Brother Beyer. I take a bow.
The US needed a fight like this in a bad way.
Some stock dropped to reality & some stock was restored to where it should have been.
Neither fighter truly lost this fight.
For some odd reason I thought Ortiz would wind up showing more heart than Berto in this fight & indeed he did.
Berto, to his credit, showed some heart as well and won me over as a fan in the loss.
It was a test & a nice slap of reality that both guys needed.
Despite quitting against Maidana, I still held out some hope that Ortiz would be better in a few years after a little seasoning (if he didn't quit entirely).
I was very happy to see Ortiz redeem himself so publicly like this.
This was no easy feat for him & I really like how he looks at this weight.
I'm looking forward to what each guy does next.
This fight will make both fighters better & it was a big win for boxing as a result.
The stoppage in the Lopez fight seemed really outrageous while watching it live with other boxing fans who went ballistic.
Good call on the Ortiz bout Rock.
I got to laugh fellas. The "gay nite life" means broads. It served Errol Flynn well, Joe Namath too. But NEVER a boxer. Berto looked like he was getting that late nite trim.
Victor Ortiz fought a good fight, but is it just me or did Andre Berto fight one of the dumbest fight plans in recent years? Who the hell was the guy in his corner? Ortiz won between 8-9 rounds, yet it seemed like he should have been knocked out. All Berto did was flick his left jab and throw wild rights.... then rope-a-dope. Where was the left hook of the jab? Where was the double hook? Hook to the liver and come back with a left hook on top? How about a left uppercut when Ortiz fought on the inside? I know that the right hand in theory is the best punch against a southpaw, but a left hook is also effective. Berto has bad habits of keeping his left low and his jab is kind of easy to get away from because he has it at weird angles. Ortiz is an exciting fighter, but with his chin.... his days are numbered. PBF or Pac-man will destroy him.