Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz have agreed to fight on April 16 in the U.S. as part of a television doubleheader with the Amir Khan-Paul McCloskey, which will take place in the UK, according to Ortiz’s manager, Rolando Arellano.
Arellano said Monday morning that he is just waiting to receive a contract from DiBella Entertainment, Berto’s promoter.
A site for Berto-Ortiz has not been determined, although Arellano said he expects it to take place in either Las Vegas or New York.
Berto, the WBC welterweight titleholder, and Ortiz have agreed to a catch weight of 145 pounds plus one, or in effect 146. That’s one pound below the welterweight limit.
Ortiz (28-2-2, 22 knockouts) has been fighting as a 140-pounder and has never fought heavier than 144. Berto (27-0, 21 KOs) has fought at slightly less than 147 in most of his fights.
“I’m so ready for Berto,” said Ortiz, who already has opened his training camp in Ventura, Calif. “Actually, I don’t want to sound cocky, but Berto’s whole career just came to an end. From what I hear, he’s underestimating me because I’m a junior welterweight. I don’t know if he recalls being next to me, but I’m a lot bigger than he is.
“All I know is that I’m going to take the belt. In my eyes, Berto is overrated. He hasn’t been tested against a fighter such as myself.”
Ortiz said he has no concerns about moving up a weight class.
“No concerns whatsoever in speed, power or anything else,” he said.
Ortiz said he made the decision to move up to take advantage of an opportunity to fight for a title, which had eluded him at junior welterweight even though he’s ranked No. 1 by the WBO (Timothy Bradley’s belt) and in the Top 10 in the remaining three major sanctioning bodies.
Berto is THE RING’s No. 3-rated welterweight. Ortiz is the No. 9 junior welterweight.
“No one wanted to give me a shot,” he said. “I remember when I lost (to Marcos Maidana), everyone wanted to fight Victor Ortiz. Now that I won a few fights, they’re saying ‘Victor who?’ I don’t appreciate that.
“I got my big fight, though. And I’m very ready.”
Ortiz is 4-0-1 since he was stopped by Maidana, including a draw with Lamont Peterson on Dec. 11. Berto stopped Freddy Hernandez in one round in his last fight, on Nov. 27.