Andre Berto’s unblemished 27-0 professional record gets put to the test this weekend when he meets hard charging Victor Ortiz with the WBC welterweight title on the line.
It is an important fight for several reasons. Obviously, Berto wants to stay undefeated, but he also wants to do it against a quality opponent. Often criticized as having “not fought anyone,” Ortiz represents a challenge the likes of which many feel Berto has not yet faced. Ask the 27-year-old fighter though, and he’ll tell you Ortiz is just another guy.
“April 16 is going to be a reality check for him,” Berto said. “They’ve been lying to him at training camp thinking this is going to be an easy fight. The ring is a really cold place to find out that. Like he said, the fight won’t go the distance, only it’s going to come out on our side.”
There has been a lot of talk going back and forth between the two fighters, and Berto has not been shy about giving back or giving his thoughts on Ortiz as a fighter.
“I saw different pieces of [Ortiz vs. Peterson]. Victor Ortiz is a good kid and can fight,” Berto said. “He is limited in a lot of areas. He’s trying to box but needs to be set on his feet to throw punches. He’s a tough kid. Lamont Peterson, later in the fight, hit him with a lot of tough shots. If I had hit him like that, he probably would go to sleep. He definitely comes to fight.”
Should he win this fight, the possible fights are many for Berto. He had a bout slated with Shane Mosley, but pulled out in order to help with the disaster in his native Haiti. Since then, Mosley has landed fights with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, and there is the sentiment that, until he wins some big fights himself, Berto will always have critics to answer.
“I’ve gotten a lot of credit but there’s been a lot downplayed,” he said. “The boxing public, in general, just wants an exciting, young fighter against the No. 1 guy instead of a credible opponent. They want to see me fight the Mayweathers and Pacquiao but, until that happens, they say, ‘OK, you were supposed to win.’ I can’t get upset. At first I didn’t understand, but I’ve grown up in front of fans fighting on HBO since my 16th or 17th fight. It’s like watching a student in the ninth grade go to the 12th to see how they tackle the world. I’m focused on April 16, handle that and then see what happens.”
Berto has dealt with this his whole career. He seems used it. Unfazed by the skeptics, he focuses on Ortiz and Ortiz alone. He is certain that Sunday morning, he will still have that big zero in the loss column.
“He has a lot of different weaknesses,” Berto said of Ortiz. “He’s been a puncher trying to box. I don’t think he has it all done, yet. April 16 I’ll use all my skills to expose him.”