Andre Berto has suffered a ruptured left biceps in training that will require arthroscopic surgery and the postponement of his highly-anticpated rematch against Victor Ortiz, according to three sources familiar with the injury.
Rolando Arellano, the managerial advisor to Ortiz, informed RingTV.com that he was told that the fight is off.
“We got a call from our promoter [Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker,] Eric Gomez that it’s conclusive,” said Arellano of the scheduled Feb. 11 bout. “Eric said that he was on his way to call [Golden Boy Promotions President] Oscar De La Hoya.”
In an earlier report by RingTV.com, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said that the problem was severe enough for Berto to be taken to the hospital.
Berto’s manager Al Haymon met him at the hospital on Monday evening, where an MRI was apparently taken and revealed the rupture.
“It is my understanding that Andre hurt it throwing a left hook during sparring. I was just told that the surgery will likely take place tomorrow,” said Victor Conte, Berto’s nutritionist, who then recited a sequence relayed to him from Berto’s trainer, Tony Morgan.
“Andre was sparring against Tureano Johnson, and when he threw a short left hook to the head, Tony said that Berto told him that he heard a pop. After this happened, Andre went and had an MRI. Apparently, the muscle is detatched from the bone. That’s what Tony said.”
Conte said that he was told by Morgan that Berto will be seen by a physician from the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
“We were initially moving forward until it was conclusive and until it came from a doctor that Andre Berto wasn’t fighting anymore. But I guess that it’s conclusive now, because Eric said that Berto’s camp called and said, ‘hey, we have a doctor’s note here,’” said Arellano.
“But we’re still in shock. It’s interesting, because you have such high expectations as a team and within the public and the community. So to have the plug pulled on you like this is just really disappointing. It’s like you’re 30,000 feet in the air, and you’re going to go and land this aircraft, and then it’s like, ‘hey, guess what? There’s no more fuel in the tank.’”
Since defeating Berto (28-1, 22 knockouts) by close unanimous decision for the WBC belt in a clash that featured both fighters hitting the canvas twice, Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) subsequently lost the title 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.
Berto gave up the IBF belt to face Ortiz in a non-title bout, the rights for which were purchased for $2.25 million by Showtime’s executive vice president and general manager of sports and event programming, Stephen Espinoza, trumping the offer of $2.15 million by HBO, which televised Ortiz-Berto I.
“Disappointed isn’t even the best word to describe how I feel right now. I got home, and my manager is like, ‘guess what? I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’m just going to to ahead and tell you that your fight has been postponed or cancelled,’” said Ortiz.
“I was just like, ‘wow.’ I was speechless. Do I have anything bad to say about Berto? No. Not at all. S–t happens. But I wish him a quick recovery, because I need to get into the ring with him ASAP.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photos by Phil McCarten, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com