Victor Ortiz beat Andre Berto five years ago in perhaps the best fight of 2011. With the boxers set to meet again on Saturday night, Berto is the one who seems to have the slight edge this time.
It’s been 14 months since Berto last picked up a win, and his last fight resulted in a loss against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the champion's last fight. Berto had won his previous two fights before falling to Mayweather in September, and though he lost a clear unanimous decision, the 32-year-old showed signs that he might be returning to his 2013 form before he underwent shoulder surgery.
"A lot of people can't handle the atmosphere and the buildup of that magnitude. I got the chance to really find out how to handle it all," Berto said via ESPN.com. "I think I surprised a lot of people around me with how easy I was taking it. I think Floyd was surprised too. He thought I would get shaken like other guys. But I felt like I was supposed to be there. I wasn't going to be the guy who stands there in shock."
Ortiz is on a two-fight win streak, though he had previously been knocked out in three consecutive bouts. The first was a fourth-round TKO at the hands of Mayweather in a controversial fight he earned by defeating Berto when they met for the first time.
With a knockout of Freddy Hernandez in Nov. 2010, Berto improved his record to 27-0. A win over Ortiz could have earned him his shot against Mayweather when he was at his peak, but he blew his opportunity.
“I was the young guy just running through everyone,” Berto said. “After making that impressive statement against Hernandez, there was talk of me fighting Floyd. I wanted it known that I should be next to face Floyd, but I didn’t train like I was supposed to for Ortiz, and I paid for it.”
Berto entered that fight in April 2011 as the favorite, but Ortiz was the better boxer that night. Landing 281 punches, Ortiz connected with 40 percent of his attempts. Berto wasn’t nearly as accurate, landing 147 punches at a 31 percent clip.
Now, both fighters are looking to prove that they can still compete with the top welterweights in the world. They’ll meet for their rematch at StubHub Center in Carson, California, in the main event of Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions card.
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Online Stream: FOX Sports Go
Betting Odds: Berto -140, Ortiz +110
Prediction: Berto by TKO
Two other accomplished boxers, both super middleweights, are also fighting on Saturday with an event at D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C.
IBF super-middleweight champion James DeGale (22-1) of London faces challenger Rogelio Medina (36-6) of Mexico. DeGale, 30, has not lost since a majority-decision defeat to George Groves in May 2011. DeGale has proven to be one of boxing's more under-appreciated talents, and will be hoping to land a big pay-per-view event in the future after defeating solid fighters like Andre Dirrell, as well as veteran Lucian Bute (32-3) in Bute's adopted hometown of Montreal in November.
Meanwhile, Swedish star Badou Jack (20-1-1) will defend his WBC super-middleweight title against Bute, after defeating Groves in September as well as Dirrell's older brother, Anthony, who is also a quality boxer, last April. In 2013, Jack defeated Medina by TKO.
Predictions: Both DeGale and Jack should win in unanimous decisions
Start Time: 10 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Showtime
Online Stream: Showtime Online
Betting Odds: James DeGale -3000, Rogelio Medina +1100; Badou Jack -450, Lucien Bute +325