East-West Rivals Speak

By Francis Walker BASN Staff Writer
Updated: March 20, 2011

Andre Berto

Andre Berto

NEW YORK, NY—Undefeated WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) defends his title against hard-hitting southpaw and No. 5-ranked Victor Ortiz (28-2, 22 KOs) on Saturday, April 16, at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

“Berto vs. Ortiz: East-West Showdown” will be part of an exciting HBO World Championship Boxing doubleheader featuring the delayed broadcast of Amir Khan’s WBA jr. welterweight title defense against European champion Paul MCloskey from the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England. The telecast begins at 9:45 PM/6:45 PM/PT.

A lot of people have criticized Berto for the quality of opposition he has been fighting since he became an HBO fighter. Berto has had great performances, but guys like Juan Urango and Steve Forbes are junior welterweights. Luis Collazo, a former junior welterweight champion, gave Berto fits and many people believe beat the champion.

In Berto’s last bout he knocked a soft-touch welterweight named Freddy Hernandez inside one round in front of HBO cameras.

Berto should be fighting guys like Manny Pacquaio, but promoter Bob Arum isn’t trying to put his guy in against fighters he doesn’t promote. To Berto’s credit, he remains busy and even though Ortiz is another fighter moving up in weight to fight him, Berto has taken a tough assignment.

“We have already had a tremendous camp,” Berto, 27, Miami, FL, said. “I feel the speed; I feel the power, and the explosiveness. Victor Ortiz is a young exciting fighter who is stepping up the plate. He is young and he has speed, but people who have seen me grow in front of the HBO cameras have seen the way I handle adversity. People saw the way Victor Ortiz handled adversity the first time he tasted it.”

Ortiz is young and explosive. He can box very well and can punch extremely hard. Ortiz spells excitement. However, he has been dodged with criticism following his last performance – a 10 round draw with former Washington D.C. amateur standout Lamont Peterson in December. Ortiz battled Peterson to a draw during a bout in which Ortiz dropped Peterson twice. Ortiz was dominating, but allowed Peterson fight his way back into the fight and escape with a draw.

“I’ve always worked hard, but in my last fight it was one of these things where at the end I felt like a piece of gum on the bottom of someone’s shoes,” Ortiz, 24, Oxnard, CA said. “So I said to myself: ‘It’s my turn.’ I’m going in against some tough opposition. Andre Berto is no chump. But now I’m hungry. I’m tired of people saying that I have no heart or no balls.”

Ortiz was also referring to his June 2009 war with Marcos Rene Maidana for the interim WBA jr. welterweight championship. Ortiz dropped Maidana, who dropped Ortiz. Ortiz dropped Maidana twice more. Maidana pummeled, punished, and dropped Ortiz again. Ortiz quit.

Until Ortiz wins a major fight for a world title, all people will say is that he quit against Maidana. That’s sad because, Ortiz is a very likeable person, and a talented fighter.

“At the end of the day, I’m not scared of getting in the ring or challenging anyone. On April 16 I’m taking the title home,” Ortiz added.

“Don’t miss this fight. This is going to be the start of a wonderful year.”

Ortiz’ promoter, Lou DiBella believes that “when Victor Ortiz stares down Andre Berto, he won’t be the smaller guy and he won’t be the smaller guy in the ring. These are two guys who come after each other, and that’s why it’s going to be a great fight.”

Tickets for “East-West Showdown: Berto vs. Ortiz” are priced at $350, $200, $125, and $65. For more information simply log onto www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, or call the MGM Grand at Foxwoods at 1-866-646-0609. Tickets can also be purchased at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods box office in person.

Klitschko topples Solis in one!

Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs) retained the WBC heavyweight championship for the sixth time following a first-round knockout of 2004 Olympic gold medalist Odlander Solis (17-1, 12 KOs) in from of 19,000 at the Lana Arena in Cologne, Germany on Saturday.

Klitschko was just getting warmed up behind his left jab. Klitschko connected with a few hard jabs when suddenly Solis dropped to the canvas and clutched his right knee. Hobbling on one foot the bout was stopped at the end of the first round.

The victory marked the first time Klitschko recorded a knockout in less than one round since he belted Orlin Norris 10 years ago.

Klitschko. Arguably one of the hardest hitting fighters in the history of the division, towered over the 6′ 1,” 246-pound Cuban. The 6′ 7,” 250-pound Klitschko, who turns 40 in July, has one of the highest knockout victory percentages in history at 92.8% percent.

“You know what is – knockout is actually the main point in professional boxing,” Klitschko said leading up to the Solis fight. “Nobody has a question about who the winner is after a clear knockout. And you know my fight records. I give my best. If I have a chance, I knock my opponent out.”

Klitschko added: “I know it’s not easy. Solis has a good eye, good direction. But if I find the chance, I will use my chance to send him to the floor. I (promise) that.”

A job well-done Klitschko! A job well done!