Berto (28-1, 22 knockouts) will soon begin the rehabilitation of a ruptured left biceps that was suffered during a sparring session on Jan. 30 that forced the postponement of his schedued Feb. 11 return bout with Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs).
The first bout with Ortiz, last April, featured two knockdowns by each fighter before Berto lost his WBC belt by a unanimous decision.
Ortiz was subsequently dethroned after a fourth-round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September, the same month during whichg Berto rebounded by beating IBF welterweight titleholder Jan Zaveck by fifth-round knockout.
Berto gave up the IBF belt to face Ortiz in a non-title fight.
Meanwhile, Ortiz and has been involved in a Twitter war with RING No. 2-rated lightweight Robert Guerrero, a five-belt winner over the course of three divisions.
“Battle of Cali @VICIOUSortiz & myself. LETS DO THIS! Victor. Winner fights FloydMayweather,” tweeted Guerrero, as well as, “@VICIOUSortiz, lets give the fans what they want battle of Cali or are you from Kansas now? Cali stand up!”
Ortiz responded, “I’m sure @GHOSTBOXING and I will b a great fight! Let’s make it happen!”
Mentioning that the fighters share the same promoter in Golden Boy Promotions, Guerrero tweeted, “The fans want it, u say u want it, mano y mano. Lets go!” and, “I fight 4 the fans & I’ve never backed down from a challenge. Yeah buddy let’s do this.”
But Ortiz’s manager, Rolando Arellano, has dismissed any notion of an Ortiz-Guerrero clash, at least until after Berto is dealt with.
“Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto rematch of The 2001 Fight of the Year has been rescheduled for June 30 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. I would like to dismiss any rumors that Victor may fight Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero first. Victor’s primary obligation is to fight Andre Berto,” said Arellano.
“The fight was to have taken place this Saturday, Feb. 11, but had to be postponed because Berto suffered a training injury last week. Guerreo is a fine young man and a very good fighter and we would be pleased to fight him in what could be an entertaining match.”
Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) has won 13 straight fights, last suffering defeat by a split-decision to Gamaliel Diaz in December 2005 and winning their rematch with a sixth-round knockout in June 2006.
Guerrero was last in the ring in April, when he scored a one-sided, unanimous decision victory over Australia’s hard-punching Michael Katsidis.
In August, Guerrero endured arthroscopic surgery that repaired a torn tendon in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder that cancelled a match set for that month against Marcos Maidana.
“We think that Ortiz would be a tremendous fight for the fans, and there’s no doubt about it,” said Guerrero’s manager, Bob Santos. “They’re both with Golden Boy, so I don’t see any reason that the fight can’t be made. Absolutely zero.”
None, says Arellano, except for the rematch with Berto.
“I would suggest that Robert not wait around for Victor, but restart his career that was interrupted by a training injury that required surgery. If the opportunity arises in the future to fight Guerrero, we would be happy to commence discussions,” said Arellano.
“But for now, Victor Ortiz’s focus, as it has been for the past three months, is to fight and defeat Andre Berto again in a match that boxing fans the world over want to see.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com