BILOXI, MS ~ Andre Berto returned to the ring last night for the first time since his decision loss last April to Victor Ortiz. Berto stopped the game but overmatched Jan Zaveck after five rounds when Zaveck could no longer see clearly through a swollen, badly cut right eye. It was a must-win situation for Berto and he got the job done in a fight where a loss would have been a devastating setback to his career, and to his marketability as a fighter. Berto answered his critics with a strong entertaining performance, despite the fact that Zaveck appeared to be turning the tide when his right eye was cut and nearly closed in the 5th, forcing the stoppage.
Berto took the first three rounds with his speed, athleticism, and aggressiveness. He hit Zaveck at will to the head and body, and took little in return from the defending champion. It appeared that Zaveck had no answer for Berto and would be lucky to go the distance. Things changed in the forth however when Berto appeared to slow down a bit and the fighting went to the inside, where Zaveck was surprisingly effective at hitting Berto with many good rights to the head, winning the round convincingly. The fifth was similar to the fourth for Zaveck except for the fact that Berto opened a nasty gash over Zaveck's right eye which nearly swelled shut.
The cut, combined with the swelling caused Zaveck's corner to stop the fight between rounds. Zaveck wanted to continue although it appeared he was having difficulty seeing out of either eye, both of which were cut. It was a good stoppage, and a good win for Berto who picked up the IBF welterweight title, and kept himself firmly in the mix at welterweight. After the fight, Berto called out Victor Ortiz for a rematch, which seems like a natural given how excellent their first fight was.
"Victor Ortiz and I can definitely do it again."
Monday Morning Recap: Good comeback win for Berto. He fought his fight for the first three rounds, looked pretty good doing it, and then overcame the determined advances of Zaveck to win the thing. Good fight, good showing by BOTH fighters. Definitely was punches that busted up and opened up Zaveck's face. No headbutts, and no controversy as claimed by some. Berto really put a whoopin on Jan in the last half of the 5th. In the corner after the 5th, Zaveck knows how badly he is injured, and how much jeopardy he and his title are in at that moment. He screams out in frustration over it, and at one point when they have an endswell over his right eye, a panicked look comes over his left eye that tells me he could not see out of that one either. Good stoppage by Team Zaveck. (9/5/11)