April 16, 2011: Two top-level prospects look to take their career to the next level at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Andre Berto is favored, as the undefeated American is believed to possess more skills than Ortiz - once a top-level prospect who has been somewhat exposed in recent fights against Marcos Maidana and Lamont Peterson.
Still, an Ortiz win isn't an impossibility, and for either fighter, this would arguably be the biggest win of his career. Since Berto has already been mentioned as a potential Pacquiao opponent, this gives him a good chance to solidify his claim and show what he has to offer.
This will be an opportunity for us to learn more about both fighters, and could be considered a big crossroads fight for both guys.
KissingTheCanvas columnist Dave Carlson will be doing a live blog and scorecard of the fight, which is slated to begin around 8 PM PST/11 PM EST, and will be broadcast on HBO after a tape-delayed replay of Khan-McCloskey.
Victor Ortiz comes in with an exceptional sombrero, and looks confident. David Diamante does the ring announcing, and it gets a rise from the crowd. Not clear whether the crowd is favoring Berto or Ortiz right now.
Ortiz comes out aggressively but neither guy lands anything in the first few seconds. Berto's punches are crisp and shows a slight advantage in hand speed, but Ortiz has a stronger sense of ring generalship right now, but Berto has always been nimble on his feet.
Berto goes down with a questionable blow to the back of the head, but it's ruled a slip. It's a tricky decision. Berto goes down in round 1 with a minute left in the round. Berto's landing a punch or two, but Ortiz looks stronger right now, and has done some impressive work in the first round. Berto and us are definitely surprised by Ortiz's prowess.
Carlson: 10-8 Ortiz
Berto is looking like he's got some of his composure back, but as Emanuel Steward said, he's not sure if Berto has his legs back. Berto's landing some good punches this round, and Ortiz is having trouble landing big punches, until he gets one at 1:20 left in the round. Berto just got tagged again by an Ortiz punch, but this round is closer.
Now Ortiz goes down in a round I thought he was winning. Not as convincing as the first round knockdown, but it's a knockdown nonetheless. Rough break for Ortiz.
Carlson: 10-8 Berto, 18-18
This has turned into quite a compelling fight. Both guys are landing hard hits and it looks like offense is both guys' priority in this fight. Berto lands some good punches, but Ortiz comes back swinging. Ortiz lands a good flurry a minute into the round, and he's looking really good right now. Now Berto comes back with his own firepower - a tremendous round.
They are both looking very good this round. Ortiz is landing the better punches. Ortiz clearly has his swagger back, and this is great news for the young man.
Carlson: 10-9 Ortiz, 28-27 Ortiz through 3 rounds
Ortiz is looking more aggressive, but Berto still has the slicker style, but it might not matter if Ortiz keeps landing like he has been. Vicious Victor Ortiz is looking good, but Berto is still definitely in the fight. Ortiz is hitting Berto near the ropes. Berto is looking hurt, and is staggered with 1:20 left in the round and looks tired against the ropes. Berto is holding on, and Ortiz has faded late in fights sometimes, but it's looking very promising and Ortiz is outlanding Berto 30-3 in this round with 20 seconds left.
Carlson: 10-9 Ortiz, 38-36 Ortiz through 4 rounds
Not a tremendous change - Ortiz is controlling the fight and Berto may just be resting right now trying to gain his legs back.
Carlson: 10-9 Ortiz, 48-45 Ortiz through 5 rounds
Berto is looking more confident right now and 2 minutes into the round lands a big right, putting Ortiz down, which is changing the the landscape of the fight. Berto is back in the fight now, and the momentum has shifted. Ortiz wobbles his way through the rest of the round, and in the last 10 seconds, Ortiz lands a huge left and knocks down Berto!
A definite candidate for round of the year.
Carlson: 10-9 Berto, 57-55 Ortiz through 6 rounds
An odd wrestling-style exchange early in the round, and then it's settling into a slugfest. What an awesome fight! About 1:10 left in the round and they both land extraordinary punches. Emanuel Steward (who was in the corner during Hagler-Hearns) exclaims "Oh my God!" As the round nears a close, Ortiz comes on late and I think he narrowly steals the round - both had their moments though.
Carlson: 10-9 Ortiz, 67-64 Ortiz through 7 rounds
Ortiz starts off strong this round, and it's kind of a standoff for another 20 seconds. Ortiz may be trying to turn this into a boxing match, but it quickly settles back into a slugfest. Both guys are landing awesome punches and both guys are getting hit. It's a tough round to gauge. A bit more leaning in this round, but still an action-packed fight. Ortiz is using the close proximity to land some excellent body work. Both guys have found an awesome, career-defining fight, and it's going to be amazing to see how it concludes. Ortiz is just landing punches that are a bit crisper.
Carlson: 10-9 Ortiz, 77-73 Ortiz through 8
Ortiz is acting like a true Mexican-lineage fighter - he's being the aggressor, throwing a lot, and initiating the action. It's a close round through 1 minute. Berto is looking a bit more comfortable in the ring, and his ring generalship is coming through. After a delay because of a warning for Ortiz not to throw behind the head, it resumes with excellent action. Very close round. Tough to say. I think Ortiz deserves the round for pressing the action.
Carlson: 10-9 Ortiz, 87-82 Ortiz through 9
Berto lands a good left early on, and then Ortiz is penalized a point for a hit "behind the head" that Larry Merchant and Emmanuel Steward thought was a bad call. Still, it's helping Berto find his way into the round. Ortiz is coming back and showing aggression and seems determined to make this an even round in spite of the penalty. Ortiz is looking good, and both guys are trading solid punches, but again, Ortiz is getting the best of him, and evens out the round.
Carlson: 9-9 even, 96-91 Ortiz through 10
Berto is looking good coming back into the round, but it's not like Ortiz is staying silent. Berto seems more fatigued. 1:20 into the round, Berto looks like he's almost out on his feet, up against the ropes in round 11. Berto is looking fatigued and it seems like he wants out of here. Berto, though, gets back into his groove with a minute left in the round, but he's still not landing much more than Ortiz, who's an aggressor and has a 26-5 edge in power punches this round, so Berto is going to need something heroic in round 12 to pull this off.
Carlson: 10-9 Ortiz, 106-100 Ortiz through 11
Victor comes out fierce again. Berto's landing a few hits, but Ortiz is landing a bit more. Berto lands a good hit 50 seconds into the round, but Ortiz is coming back. Suddenly, for a 30-second span, Berto seems to be getting the better of some exchanges. Both guys are clearly fatigued, but it's looking like Ortiz may emerge from this the victor unless Berto does something extraordinary in the last minute. They're looking good, and both fighters' stock went up, as Steward said. Ortiz has rejuvenated his career and looks primed to take on the welterweight division.
Carlson: 10-9 Berto, 115-110 Ortiz
Ortiz is back rocking the sombrero in the post-fight moments. Clark Sammartino - 115-110, Glenn Feldman 114-112, Julie Lederman 114-111 all for Ortiz. Huge victory for Vicious Victor Ortiz!
What a fight! 36 minutes of pure action and possibly a fight of the year, and round 6 could easily be round of the year - they traded knockdowns and it was high on drama. Congratulations to Victor Ortiz, who has totally re-established himself as a marquee fighter. Berto's still a definite threat and he will have some good fights in the future. Both guys helped out their careers, and Ortiz has launched himself into the stratosphere.