Lem Satterfield

Ortiz calls Berto a “good,” not “great” fighter

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Former WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz is suffering from no lack of confidence heading into his Showtime-televised rematch with ex-IBF titlewinner Andre Berto, whom he will meet on Feb. 11 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Since defeating Berto by close unanimous decision for the WBC belt in a clash that featured two knockdowns by each fighter in April, Ortiz was dethroned via fourth-round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in  September.

During the same month, Berto rebounded from the loss to Ortiz by dethroning IBF welterweight titleholder Jan Zaveck by fifth-round knockout, stopping Zaveck for the first time in Zaveck’s career.

Ortiz nevertheless, believes he looked better in losing to Mayweather than did Berto in victory over Zaveck, this despite Berto’s hooking up with controversial strength and conditioning guru, Victor Conte, in order to overcome a diagnosed anemic condition he claims affected him against Ortiz.

“Here’s the thing: Who looked better? Me after I lost to Floyd, or Berto in his win against that champ? Ah, come on, man, hands down, it’s me, man,” Ortiz said of Berto, who has since vacated the IBF belt in order to take the return bout with Ortiz.

“I will tell you this much: Berto’s a good fighter, but I never saw him as great, which is why I challenged him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a dangerous fighter. But I don’t fear him and I have no respect for him [in the ring] and I’m not scared of him. I have no disrespect for him, but at the end of the day, I will win once again.”

Asked if he expects anything different this time around, Ortiz said, “I don’t know.”

“I’m preparing for the best Andre Berto that there is, and if he’s gotten any better, then, hey, that’s awesome,” said Ortiz. “That’s what we’re expecting. We’re expecting the best Andre Berto to be present, and I’m ready.”

ORTIZ FIGHTS ON CONDITIONAL LICENSE

As a result of comments Ortiz made after the loss to Mayweather, the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously on Jan. 11 to grant him a one-fight conditional license to face Berto.

In response to a video interview during which Ortiz claimed that his intentional head butts were an attempt to break Mayweather’s nose, the commission ordered Ortiz to operate within the rules to be enforced by the bout’s referee.

Ortiz said that his fighting intensity will not be affected by the NSAC’s decision.

“I am me, and if you don’t like it, then that’s too bad. Change the channel,” said Ortiz. “That’s what the reporters are there for and everybody in the media — to think about things like that. Me, on the other hand, I’m thinking about one person, and that’s Andre Berto.”

Berto agreed.

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