Ortiz beats Berto, wins WBC welterweight crown

By Francis Walker BASN Staff Writer
Updated: April 18, 2011

NEW YORK, NY—Victor Ortiz, the once rising star prospect from out of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions stable, has finally fulfilled the highest of his expectations.

On Saturday, at the MGM Grand Garden at Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) turned a “Vicious” performance into a career-defining fight. Ortiz, the budding 24 year-old from Ventura, CA, became a world champion by besting Andre Berto (27-1, 21 KOs), via 12-round unanimous decision to claim the WBC welterweight championship. The judges’ scores were: 115-110, 114-111, and 114-112.

Ortiz amazed everyone when he bullied Berto against the ropes behind left and right hooks from out of his southpaw stance. Ortiz brought the fight to Berto which led to a knockdown in the opening round.

“I saw Andre Berto as a champion,” Ortiz said during the post-fight presser. “There’s no stopping Berto. I didn’t prepare to knockout Berto. I knew it would go the full distance. I pictured myself with two black eyes, but I would have the green belt.”

Berto simply didn’t allow Ortiz to use him as a punching bag. Berto fought back and wobbled Ortiz with a straight-right that led to the challenger touching the canvas with his glove. Referee Michael Ortega ruled it a knockdown.

“We both went through a great war; nothing but respect,” Ortiz added. “It was a very exciting fight. He hits very hard. I have a head harder than a rock. I wonder what the headline will read: Victor doesn’t have….fill in the blank. It wasn’t a walk in the park but I got the goods.”

Ortiz and Berto continued to apply tons of pressure during what has to be considered the 2011 “Fight of the Year” thus far. Ortiz was hurting Berto with his left hand constantly. Berto’s straight-right jerked Ortiz’ head backward consistently as well.

Perhaps the most dramatic round was the sixth when both fighters exchanged knockdowns. Ortiz was floored by a big Berto right hand, but rose from the canvas to drop the now former 147-pound champion with a hard left hook.

The action died-down a little after that exhausting sixth round. Ortiz was docked one point in the tenth round for rabbit-punching, but the newly crowned champion finished strong.

Ortiz’ win not only ended Berto’s run of five consecutive title defenses dating back to June 2009. The victory was also Ortiz’ fifth in six fights (5-1) since losing a wild slugfest to Marcos Rene Maidana in June 2009. During that bout Ortiz and Maidana exchanged a series of vicious knockdowns before the bout, one in which Ortiz was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards, was stopped in round the sixth round after he decided he had taken enough. Since then, Ortiz has been labeled a quitter.

“Stuff happens,” Ortiz stated. “That was the past. Maidana still doesn’t have anything on me. That wasn’t my night. I fought with a broken wrist and the fight was stopped. They said I gave up, I didn’t give up. He wouldn’t give me a rematch but I’m the guy with no courage, no heart, and no balls. But I’m the guy with the belt.”

Ortiz has done a wonderful job of restructuring his career after the Maidana defeat. Ortiz never stopped believing in himself and always knew he would become a world champion.

“It goes back to when I was young,” Ortiz added. “I didn’t have anything when I was young. I raised my brother. I thought this was my dream. I wasn’t going to stand for anything less. I was moving up to 147 but knew I carried my power. For three months, every day at the gym, I would say the new champ.”

Berto’s promoter, Lou DiBella informed the media of a potential break in his right hand and a possible concussion as the legitimate reasons why he couldn’t attend the post-fight presser.

“Berto can’t attend the press conference,” DiBella stated. “Dr. Schwartz said he has a possible break of his right hand and possible concussion. He went to the hospital. We have no issues. Very, very close. No problems from our team. Victor Ortiz answered all of the questions about his heart. You know Victor Ortiz is a welterweight.”

DiBella added: “There were no losers when you out on a fight like this. I’m very proud to promote this fight.”

Ortiz vs. Berto Photo Credit: Tom Hogan, Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions.

McCloskey Drops Technical Decision to Khan

WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) inched one step closer toward a possible July 23, fight with unified WBC/WBO 140-pound champion, Timothy Bradley following a technical decision victory against unbeaten European titlist, Paul McCloskey (21-1, 12 KOs)in front of a packed house at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England on Saturday.

The bout was stopped in the sixth round after an accidental headbutt left a serious gash above McCloskey’s left eye. It was a terrible cut that would have only gotten worse as Khan was catching the 31-year-old, southpaw from Derry Ireland, with quick combinations. At the time of the stoppage, Khan was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards 60-54 in a bout that was highly uncompetitive. McCloskey, a very game and determined fighter, simply could not keep up with Khan.

At 5′ 10,” Khan, 24, Bolton, England, had supreme hand speed and punched from various angles that made it difficult for him to counter. McCloskey showed a good chin, but was easily thrown off balance by Khan’s movement and accuracy.

“You saw the difference between a world class level [fighter],” said Khan, who defended his 140-pound title for the fourth time. “I’m at a world class level. Paul McCloskey is a European fighter. At the end of the day I won. I was surprised McCloskey took a lot of big shots. I was surprised he kept coming. I won every round. I think I would have knocked him out if he kept fighting.”

Upon his future plans, Khan says that he will eventually move up to welterweight but would like to unify the junior welterweight championship belts first. Standing in Khan’s way is Bradley, who proved that he is no pushover and may be considered by many as the man to beat at 140 pounds.

Bradley, a talented and unbeaten fighter from California, has beaten Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi, Nate Campbell, Edner Cherry, survived two knockdowns to defeat Kendall Holt, moved up to welterweight and unified two titles along the way.

A Khan-Bradley match would be a terrific fight.

Khan vs. McCloskey Photo Credit: Chris Royle, Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions