UNDEFEATED WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) and challenger Victor Ortiz (28-2-1 22 KOs) took a break from their training on Thursday to discuss via conference call their upcoming title fight, dubbed the East-West Showdown by promoter Lou DiBella. Berto and Ortiz are scheduled to clash on April 16th at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, CT, and the fight will air on HBO. At stake is the WBC welterweight championship, currently held by the undefeated Andre Berto. Victor Ortiz, coming off a disputed draw against Lamont Peterson, has only one legitimate loss on his record, that loss coming against the tough Argentinian Marcos Maidana nearly two years ago in a fight that some critics contend Ortiz quit when the going got too tough. Andre Berto is coming into this fight having made five successful defenses of his WBC title, most recently knocking out Freddy Hernandez in one round.
Ortiz was generally brief and to the point, "I know where I'm going. I know what I want. I must be champion. I will win this fight. It's time for me to be outstanding. I just want my belt. Period. End of story." During the media conference call, Ortiz and his people seemed frustrated with questions about his past struggles in the ring, particularly the draw against Lamont Peterson, Ortiz calling it "total BS" but when asked about Marcos Maidana, the only man to truly beat him in the ring, things got a little more interesting.
Jeffrey Freeman w/ KnockoutDigest.com, "Victor, if you get past Andre Berto, does a rematch with Marcos Maidana interest you? Is that something important to you professionally; avenging defeats?"
Victor Ortiz, "He's running left and right, dodging me like no other. I think he even sees me in his nightmares maybe. As far as that goes, I think when he gets the courage to actually come out of his little closet, he can meet me at 147."
We asked Ortiz what he thought about the Ring Magazine Welterweight Championship, which is currently vacant.
Jeffrey Freeman w/ KnockoutDigest.com "Victor, you were talking a little bit about the WBC belt, winning the welterweight belt, you referred it as your belt. I was wondering what the Ring Magazine Championship belt means to you. Would you consider yourself to be the Welterweight Champion before winning that?"
Victor Ortiz, "I'm gonna be crowned no matter what. I've pad my dues. I'm ready. I'm beyond ready. It's one of those things where they are finally giving me a shot, so it's my turn."
Jeffrey Freeman w/ KnockoutDigest.com, "Specifically Victor, is winning the recognition of Ring Magazine as the Welterweight Champion, is that important to you?"
Victor Ortiz, "It definitely is. It's of definite importance to me. I have always shot to be the greatest in the world and that would hit the spot."
Following comments by Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto joined the conference call. The WBC welterweight champion stressed the simple importance of winning this fight, not necessarily looking spectacular in doing so, referencing Sergio Martinez and Nonito Donaire as examples of fighters who recently got a lot of attention and accolades more for how they won their fights than for actually winning them. "The only thing that matters is coming up with that win."
Berto talked about how one loss can negatively affect an up and coming boxing career, referring to Ortiz.
"When Ortiz lost to Maidana, people turned their backs on him so quickly. You gotta have balls to step in that ring. The ring is a cold place to find out the truth."
Considering that Ortiz is a left-handed fighter, we asked Andre Berto about Luis Collazo, a clever southpaw fighter who Berto beat in a close fight in early 2009.
Jeffrey Freeman w/ KnockoutDigest.com, "Andre, I know you are focused on the upcoming fight with Victor Ortiz but thinking back to the Luis Collazo fight, what makes Collazo so difficult to fight? You struggled with him a bit as did Ricky Hatton. Was it his southpaw style?"
Andre Berto, "Luis Collazo is a tough veteran but on my end I wasn't in shape like I was supposed to be in shape. That was a mistake I made. A lot of other young fighters on rise, they tend to not take a fight as seriously as they are supposed to, and I almost paid for it, so I was pretty much scared straight from that point on. So I stayed focused by staying in the gym and working hard. I think I made the fight with Luis Collazo a little difficult on my own. But he is a tough fighter and I give him all the credit in the world."
"I've grown up in front of the world on HBO."
Berto will be in top shape for this fight and free from distractions.
Ortiz will be ready to answer his critics and prove his fighting heart.
That said, this should be a very good entertaining fight.
Both fighters have pleasing styles, and the feeling here is that when their styles collide on April 16th, the result will be a very fan friendly, close fight.
Andre Berto W12 Victor Ortiz
An early knockdown by Berto proves to be the difference on the score cards as Berto wins by close but unanimous decision.