‘Vicious’ Victor Ortiz became the new WBC Welterweight champion when he beat Andre Berto at the MGM Grand Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.
The bout became a war of attrition from the first bell as both fighters came out swinging heavily. Ortiz landed a punch at the back of Berto’s head that sent him down and referee, Michael Ortega did not rule it a knockdown. A right hook landed on Berto that stumbled him. Ortiz began to unload, driving Berto to the ropes and Berto collapsed under the barrage. He rose to continue but looked concerned and hurt.
In round 2, things took a twist as Ortiz was caught with a right hook that made him touch down on the canvas. Ortega immediately gave Ortiz a count but the challenger did not look hurt, only a little embarrassed.
Round 3 saw Berto trying to tire out Ortiz, as the WBC champion decided to back against the ropes and beg Ortiz to come in. Ortiz let off a smile, knowing what his foe was trying to do and also waved at him to come forward and attack.
For the next two rounds, Berto appears to be out of ideas as his workrate dropped dramatically and Ortiz fought as if his life depended on it.
Berto came back in round 6 to land a succession of right hands. One particular right floored Ortiz, and the Californian resident looked hurt this time. Ortiz began to back away as Berto tried desperately to end the fight here but, shockingly, was caught with a left that sent him down. Berto, again, rose to continue and fight on.
Both fighters tried desperately to score a knockdown over the other as they land power shots in the 7th. Pure boxing skill was thrown out of the window since the first bell began and they both tripped over one another, sending each other to the canvas.
Ortega warned Ortiz for hitting behind the head in round 8 and the fight got a little scrappy in this round as both began to clinch, however, they still managed to trade heavy punches from time to time.
Ortega, again, warned Ortiz for hitting behind the head in round 9 and said he would deduct a point if he did it again. Both boxers tried to box one another instead of going to war in this round.
Ortiz, once again, hit Berto behind the head and was deducted a point for it in round 10. In response, Ortiz piled on the pressure on Berto, unleashing “vicious” left and rights. Ortiz was caught with a little left hook but it wasn’t enough to faze him. Berto’s workrate fell dramatically at this point.
In round 11, there was hardly anything coming from Berto. Ortiz backed Berto against the ropes and landed eye catching uppercuts. Berto clinched, trying to bide time.
By the time round 12 started it was pretty clear that Ortiz took a big lead. Berto could not establish a rhytm at any stage in the bout and round 12 did not grant him any new luck. Ortiz continued to throw wild power punches but both fighters were very tired and held a lot to end the bout.
When the final bell rang there was no doubt as to who the winner was. A unanimous decision of 115-110, 114-112 and 114-111 was read out in favour of Victor Ortiz, who became the new WBC Welterweight champion.
“I felt like a possessed man. I work hard for myself. He was vulnerable fighting on the inside. I didn’t feel his power at all. I had no respect for the world champ. I was highly underestimated because I moved up to 147lb.” said Ortiz.
When Larry Merchant asked Victor if he would like to get in line to face Manny Pacquiao, Ortiz responded, “Yes, sir. Definetely!”
Andre Berto was seemingly full of excuses after his first defeat.
“I knew he was going to come out strong. That wasn’t me in there tonight. Nothing was falling into place. We’ll go back to the gym and hopefully get a rematch,” said Berto.
With Amir Khan winning against Paul McCloskey and heading back to the States to pursue major fights, a Khan vs Ortiz bout would be mouth watering! Not just because Ortiz throws every punch with bad intentions, but Khan and Ortiz have a history together that goes a long way back to their olympic days when they faced one another in the amateur ranks. Khan knocked out Ortiz back then, but everybody knows that the professional game is much different, and that it raises the stakes for both fighters!
The only stumbling block to the above happening is that Khan has already stated that he wants to clean out the 140lb division first, so an Ortiz vs Khan fight may not happen for a while. Ortiz would need to be trusted to keep hold of that WBC strap to keep him in the frame, too. It may be a matter good timing for him because, apart from Floyd Mayweather, there is hardly anybody out there that should really trouble him at the 147 division right now.
As for Victor Ortiz’s performance against Berto, he answered many questions tonight, one of which specifically addressed his heart and courage. He never stopped trying, even when he hit the canvas twice. He showed who wanted the victory more and he was out to prove a point. This writer needed Ortiz to prove a point to him, that he could hang with the best.
And prove it, he did!