“I think that it can only handicap you if you’re a dirty fighter, and that’s it,” said Berto. “If you know how to play by the rules, then it shouldn’t handicap you at all.”
Berto did raise the facts that Ortiz was disqualfied for an illegal punch during a loss to Corey Alacron in 2005, and that he was penalized in the 10th round of Ortiz-Berto I for hitting him behind the head.
“I believe that he got in trouble in the past being disqualified, and even in our first fight, they took a point for him hitting behind the head,” said Berto. “And then you have the situation with Floyd. I’m hoping that this stays clean and that we have a clean fight.”
At the moment when Mayweather threw the two-punch combination that resulted in the knockout, Ortiz’s hands were down at his sides after attempting to apologize — in the form of a hug — to Mayweather for one of the headbutts.
With referee Joe Cortez nearby, Mayweather took advantage of the opening and nailed Ortiz first with a jarring left hook and then a powerful, straight right hand that sent the ex-titleholder sprawling to his back. Ortiz rolled over and tried to get up, but failed to rise in time to beat Cortez’s 10-count.
“I’m a clean guy when I’m in there fighting, and I’m not going to worry about too much, that’s why we have a referee in there,” said Berto. “I’m just going to make sure that our team makes sure that the referee watches out for any type of things and situations.”
BERTO’S FINDS PRE-FIGHT LIGHTS, CAMERAS ‘A LITTLE ANNOYING’
Showtime’s Fight Camp 360: Ortiz vs. Berto II will air on Feb. 1, a result of the network cameras’ daily pursuits detailing the events leading up to the rematch between the two combatants.
Although Ortiz experienced similar conditions as part of HBO’s 24/7 series leading into his bout with Mayweather, Berto is undergoing the situation for the first time.
“You know, I’m not going to lie, man, It’s been a little annoying,” said Berto. “But, like I say, that’s part of the game, and that’s not going to stop us from working. But I’m not going to lie, it’s been annoying at times.”
Berto’s also dealing with being drug-tested for the first time, as a new organization headed by former ringside doctor Margaret Goodman has begun to administer the random drug testing for Ortiz-Berto II.
Berto said that Goodman’s Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) already has tested him once-each for blood and urine. The random drug testing follows the same protocols as the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), only under more affordable conditions.
“They’ve tested me twice already. They’ve done a urine test and a blood test,” said Berto. “It’s a little bit different, but I went through it in the amateurs, so it was nothing new to me.”
Mayweather was the first boxer to mandate random drug testing of blood and urine for his past two victories over Shane Mosley and Ortiz. Mayweather scored a unanimous-decision victory over Mosley last May and the KO of Ortiz.
ORTIZ-BERTO II BENEFITS HATIAN RELIEF
Proceeds from tickets sold for Ortiz-Berto II will go toward relief for victims of the earthquake that ravaged Berto’s native Haiti two years ago on Jan. 12.
Berto lost eight relatives in the earthquake, pulled out of his then-upcoming title fight against Mosley, and traveled to Haiti, where he spent weeks there assisting with relief efforts.
Golden Boy Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, promoters of Berto and Ortiz, respectively, are offering a 10 percent discounts on all tickets for Ortiz-Berto II starting on Jan. 12-through-Jan. 19 at 10:00 p.m. PT. Customers must use Ticketmaster and use the code HAITI2 to donate the 10 percent.
Photo by Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Phil McCarten, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org