And the Winner is….What do you mean there’s no winner?
By Phil Santos, (Feb 24, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing

(Andre Berto)
The upcoming Andre Berto vs. Victor Ortiz, WBC Welterweight title, fight should be a fan friendly affair. This matchup pits two exciting, young, fighters who can really crack for Berto’s championship belt. Both men have amassed impressive records, Andre Berto 27-0 (21 KO) and Victor Ortiz 28-2-2 (22 KO), but it’s Berto who is yet to taste defeat. Now while this appears to have all the makings of a good, competitive, fight on paper when you dig deeper you find potential for a mismatch. Which to me begs the question; who does this fight benefit?

Since earning the vacant WBC Welterweight title by TKO over Miguel Angel Rodriguez Berto has knocked off a solid list of combatants. He’s been criticized, or more accurately his promoter Lou Dibella has been criticized, for not pursuing bigger fights and he’s been called a paper champ or protected fighter. I can understand people not getting excited for Berto vs. Steve Forbes or even his most recent conquest in Freddy Hernandez. However sandwiched between those wins were victories over Luis Collazo, Juan Urango, and Carlos Quintana. I don’t think anyone would question Collazo or Quintana as legit Welterweight opponents and Urango at Junior Welterweight is currently ranked higher than Ortiz according to The Ring Magazine.

As for “Vicious” Victor Ortiz since suffering the worst defeat of his career, a 6th round TKO at the hands of Marcos Rene Maidana, he’s gone 4-0-1 with notable wins over Antonio Diaz, Nate Campbell, Vivian Harris, and a Draw with Lamont Peterson. Ortiz has been moved along nicely and before the Maidana loss he appeared headed toward title contention. Now having reestablished himself with a few solid wins he finds himself back in the title picture only this time it’s at Welterweight (147 lbs limit) not Jr. Welterweight (140 lbs limit). Victor Ortiz is currently ranked #9 by The Ring Magazine, which places him behind Lamont Peterson (#8) whom he fought to a Draw and Marcos Maidana (#3) who TKO’d him as well as Juan Urango (#6) whom Berto scored a Unanimous Decision victory over.

Now back to the question at hand. Who does this fight benefit? Well seemingly it would benefit Victor Ortiz right? With one win he becomes a world champion and establishes himself as the real deal. That certainly qualifies as a benefit. The problem with that is barring a catch weight being agreed upon, 143 and 145 were being discussed apparently, Ortiz will be moving up in weight to fight the quicker and equally heavy handed Berto. While Berto has been besting legit Welterweights and highly ranked Jr. Welterweights, Ortiz has had his share of trouble in his own weight class. Additionally a loss to Berto, even being at a higher weight, would be another blemish on Ortiz’s resume. At 24 years old there is no shortage of time for a comeback but a bad loss or brutal knockout would definitely cast doubts on this promising, young career.

Where Andre Berto is concerned a win over Ortiz, while it isn’t thought to be a cake walk, is considered to be a given. Not only is Berto the defending champion he’s also the bigger, faster, more technically gifted fighter. So what does a win mean? Not too much. Another “notable victory” I suppose. The flip side is a loss is devastating. No matter how close or well fought the contest is a loss for Berto is a major setback period. He’d lose his belt, his “0” would go, and he would no longer have the power to hand select opponents or challenge for unification. The absolute best case scenario for Andre Berto would be a decisive, brutal, domination of Ortiz ending in a knockout. Reminds me of the Chris Rock bit “A n****r will brag about some s**t a normal man just does. A n****r will say some s**t like, "I take care of my kids." You're supposed to, you dumb motherf**ker! What kind of ignorant s**t is that?! "I ain't never been to jail! What do you want, a cookie?! You're not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherf**ker!" You beat Victor Ortiz? Come on Andre you’re supposed to beat Victor Ortiz.

I truly like both of these guys. I had a chance to interview Berto early in his career right before his fight with Norberto Bravo and he’s an intelligent kid with ring savvy, good pop and quick hands. He can and hopefully will be a great ambassador for the sports future.

Victor Ortiz has unlimited potential and his aggressive style and big punch make him a fan favorite. He is 24 and continues to mature in the ring. Similar to Berto, Ortiz is a well spoken, smart kid who has all the abilities needed to become champion as well as turn fans onto the sport.

Unfortunately there has to be a loser. On April 16th, at a location yet to be determined, I believe Andre Berto comes out on top. I expect a frustrated Victor Ortiz to start swinging for the fences and Berto to take advantage of the openings. I’m going to go with Andre Berto by 9th round TKO.

Phil Santos –

* Special Thanks To MaxBoxing.

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