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Thursday, July 7, 2011
Andre Berto to fight Jan Zaveck

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Former welterweight titlist Andre Berto, who suffered his first defeat on April 16, will return to challenge titleholder Jan Zaveck of Slovenia on Sept. 3 in an HBO main event, Berto promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com on Thursday.

DiBella said he had a deal with Berto, 27, and had also made a deal with Zaveck's team for him to come to the United States to fight for the first time.

In one of the most action-packed fights of the year, Berto lost his version of the 147-pound title by unanimous decision to Victor Ortiz -- who parlayed the win into a big-money pay-per-view fight against Floyd Mayweather on Sept. 17 -- in a tremendous action fight that saw both men get knocked down twice.

Zaveck (31-1, 18 KOs), 35, who has fought all but one of his fights in either Slovenia or Germany, will be making the fourth defense of the belt he won in South Africa, a third-round knockout of Isaac Hlatshwayo in December 2009.

"I was watching tapes of Zaveck and he's better than I thought he would be," DiBella said. "I still think my guy wins, but Zaveck is a quality fighter."

Interestingly, HBO rejected a Zaveck-Berto fight last year when it would have been a unification bout. Instead, Berto (27-1, 21 KOs) fought Ortiz and lost, and now the network has approved Zaveck-Berto, DiBella said.

DiBella said he was just beginning to work on finding a site for the bout.

DiBella said that knockout artist Randall Bailey (41-7, 36 KOs) -- the mandatory challenger for the Zaveck-Berto winner, who stepped aside to allow the fight to take place -- will fight on the untelevised undercard. DiBella, who also promotes Bailey, said the Zaveck-Berto winner would next face him if he wins his undercard bout.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.