CARSON, Calif., April 30, 2016 – Carson, California should consider a new civic motto after Saturday’s night card at the StubHub Center: “Knockout City.”
Andre Berto got his long awaited revenge for the first loss of his career, a loss he said he’d carried for five years in his soul, with a clean and powerful upper cut at 1:14 of the fourth round to stop Victor Ortiz.
Coming out to boos from the partisan Southern California crowd, Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) was caught with a flash knockdown on a straight right by Ortiz (31-6-2, 24 KOs) at the end of the first round. He popped right back to his feet. Earlier in the round, Ortiz suffered a nasty gash to the top of the head from a head butt, with blood running down his face. His corner cleaned it up quickly between rounds, and it did not appear to be factor moving forward.
Berto started the second round seemingly recovered. Berto worked his jab, and through the second and into the third round, Berto and Ortiz traded several good punches. Berto started to edge out Ortiz as the aggressor by the time the third round ended.
Berto and trainer Virgil Hunter must have seen an opening they could exploit on Ortiz. Within seconds after the bell for the fourth round, Berto hit Ortiz hard enough to send him backwards, hitting the canvas on his backside. Ortiz got up, stunned and not completely clear headed. Berto swarmed Ortiz, and quickly dropped him a second time. Referee Jack Reiss took a good look at Ortiz, and the fight was over.
The stunned crowd, unhappy with the results, began to boo Ortiz while Berto celebrated with his team.
“Ortiz gave me my first defeat, it sat with me a long time,” said Berto after the fight. “Emotionally it played a part these last few years … This is a closed chapter.
“I felt like I was in better shape than he was,” said Berto. “I was seeing small things people outside the ring can’t see. Little things showed he was mentally breaking a little bit. I knew I would catch him sooner or later.”
Of the knockdown punch by Ortiz that caught Berto early, he said “The crazy thing about it, I didn’t see the punch because the sun was in my eyes, I really didn’t see the punch. It didn’t hurt me at all, it hit me off balance. I went to the corner and shook my head. Virgil, said, “’I know you didn’t get hurt with that punch.’”
Berto said of his knockout punch, “My upper cut has always been my staple for a while. In camp, I was touching a lot of my sparring partners with it. They continued to tell me, ‘You need to bring that back.’ I heard Virgil, I heard my dad say ‘The upper cut is there, the upper cut is there.’ It was the perfect shot. I seen him leaning in. I didn’t want to let him off the hook like in the first fight. I was not going to let him off the hook the second time,” declared Berto.
“I was trying to stick to the game plan, just box him.I was doing great at it,” said Ortiz after the fight. “I came up short with the left, he figured out the left, and then countered.
“Oh man, I was buzzed when I stood up,” said Ortiz of the first punch in the fourth round knockdown series that set up his demise. “(I thought) Oh damn, where did that come up? I didn’t have my feet under me. I looked to my corner for direction. When I get dropped, I just want to fight. Most people want to hold,” said Ortiz.
Notwithstanding the outcome, Ortiz said Berto was more dangerous in their first bout five years ago. “He wasn’t the Berto he was five years ago, but he still carries ammo in both fists. It could have been me, it could have been him. I fight how I fight, Ive always fought that way. The first fight was even more brutal, ten times more brutal. Tonight’s offensiveness did not work my way,” shrugged Ortiz.
Ortiz said “As of right now, I haven’t had a vacation, so I’m going to take some time off. My career’s been up and down for many many years. I guaranteed the fans tonight enjoyed my fight,” as boos from disappointed supporters rained down on Ortiz.
As Ortiz left the arena, an unhappy fan approached him and reportedly struck him. The individual was hustled out by security, but not before fans tangled in the stands and several beers were tossed. “This guy threw something at me, and then the next thing you know he tried to swing at me as well. At least he didn’t hit me,” said Ortiz, laughing.
Berto said his recent bout with Floyd Mayweather improved his skills. “Fighting a guy like Floyd who is very elusive and fast as well, intelligent in the ring, you see a lot of things. Definitely from that fight, I got a lot sharper,” said Berto.
Berto now likely has an opportunity for a fight with one of the Premier Boxing stable of welterweights, including champion Danny Garcia who was ringside providing commentary for Fox Network on the fight. “I know he was ringside, I know he seen those punches, I know he heard those punches. So we’ll see what he says after.”
Berto said a rematch with Robert Guerrero, another previous opponent who handed him a loss, is on his radar. “I believe there is a lot of great competition out there right. I believe anyone can see out there I match up well. I have the speed, the power, a heart the size of this room,” said Berto. “If I could fight tomorrow, a couple more rounds, I’ll be good.” Berto gave credit to his “tremendous” sparring partners for helping him prepare for the fight.
Undercard fight results: Jorge Lara of Mexico (28-0-2 20 KOs) made quick work of countrymen Fernando Montiel (54-6-2, 39 KOs). Lara roared forward at the veteran three time champion Montiel from the opening bell. He knocked Montiel down four times in the first round, and the last one stuck, sending Montiel down face first hard to end the bout at just 1:37 into the fight. It was hard to see the former champion dealt such a brutal loss, barely managing to get to his knees and a chair after the end of the fight.
“It felt wonderful to beat a grand champion like Montiel,” said Lara. Lara said in the future he would like to fight Abner Mares, and if a Mares fight isn’t possible, Lara said he would like to fight the winner of the recently announced bout between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
The light heavyweights following Lara and Montiel into the ring picked up the action right where the smaller men left off. Edwin Rodriguez of the Dominican Republic (28-2, 19 KOs) and Thomas “Top Dog” Williams Jr. (20-1, 14 KOs) decided to make it a firefight. each throwing and landing hard shots through two rounds. With just seconds to go, Williams caught Rodriguez with a right flush to the head and the referee didn’t even administer a count, ending it at 2:59 of the second round.
“I told you not to blink,” said an elated Williams after the fight. “I told you what was going to happen, that he was going be open for everything and he was. I countered him and hurt him with every punch.
I could see his punches like it was slow motion,” said Williams.
Williams said that in retrospect, his single loss made him work harder, enabling him to get the victory. ”
“The loss I had helped me, I knew I had to be better and I am. It made me bust my butt,” said Williams. “Now we got a big fight ahead,” referring to the likely opportunity to fight current WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. “I want the title, absolutely I want to fight Adonis Stevenson next, he’s the champ and I want his belt.”
Rinse and repeat: David Benavidez of Phoenix, Arizona (14-0, 13 KOs) had to put in one more round to stop Phillip Jackson of New York (16-3 (15 KOs). Benavidez caught Jackson at 2:07 of the third round with the punch du jour, a right that put Jackson down face first and out cold, with no count necessary.
In the swing fight shown after the main event on Fox, heavyweight Gerald Washington (17-0-1, 11 KOs) and Eddie Chambers (42-5, 23 KOs) bucked the knockout theme, and appeared to do nearly as much trash talking as boxing during their bout, which went the full eight rounds, ending in a unanimous decision for Chambers.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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