Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto eye new date
By Dan Rafael
Former welterweight titleholders Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto should have been at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this week going through the final preparations for their much-anticipated rematch on Saturday night in the main event of Showtime's first major boxing card of the year.
Instead, Berto is rehabilitating the left biceps he injured in training on Jan. 30, which forced the card to be postponed. But the sides are working to reschedule the fight.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, Ortiz's promoter, told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the fight will likely move to June 30. The fight, Schaefer added, also would move up the Las Vegas Strip to Mandalay Bay, which is a sister property of the MGM Grand.
Berto's injury did not require surgery and he is rehabilitating it with physical therapy, promoter Lou DiBella said.
Schaefer originally said that if Berto, who suffered a similar injury during an April 2010 title defense against Carlos Quintana, was going to be sidelined for too long, Ortiz would possibly take an interim bout. However, both sides are content to simply reschedule it, which fits in well with Berto's schedule.
"Being cautious, Berto should be prepared to fight in about four months," DiBella said. "The fight is going to happen and the fight is going to happen next. My expectation is it will happen next within about four months, somewhere between late May and late June. I've talked to Showtime and they'll accommodate it. This is a fight they want very much."
Schaefer said he was unsure what would happen with the other two bouts that were scheduled to be part of the Showtime tripleheader -- junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara against Ronald Hearns and featherweight Gary Russell Jr., the 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year, against Dat Nguyen -- but that he was working on it.
"We don't want to wait until June," said Luis DeCubas Jr., Lara's manager. "If he did, that would be just about a year since his last fight (a highly controversial decision loss to Paul Williams last July). That's too long. Either we're hoping to reschedule Hearns as quickly as we can or we hope to move on to a bigger fight. But we need to start working things out. Right now they don't know, but I know Richard is working on it."
In the first Ortiz-Berto fight, which took place April 16 at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn., both fighters were knocked down twice in one of the most action-packed fights of the year. Ortiz won a unanimous decision to win a 147-pound title, which he lost by fourth-round knockout in his first defense against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September.
Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) bounced back from the loss to win another version of the welterweight crown in September when he knocked out Jan Zaveck in the fifth round. However, Berto gave up the belt to pursue the rematch with Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) rather than fight a far less lucrative mandatory defense against Randall Bailey.
Dan Rafael is a boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.