The resulting fight was an epic brawl from the opening bell in which they both scored knockdowns. Ortiz, 29, surged late to win the match by unanimous decision. A rematch was scheduled for 2012 but shelved when Berto suffered a tear in his left bicep during sparring. The fight was then cancelled when Berto tested positive for a banned steroid.
Beating Berto was a victory Ortiz still savors.
"Everyone said I was a tomato can (after his loss to Maidana) who had no business being in the ring with Berto the first time,” said Ortiz at the press conference announcing the fight. “I had to go to Connecticut to get my belt and my respect. Berto blames me for his downward spiral.”
Since their encounter, both men have lost multiple times with the common denominator being Mayweather. Ortiz was knocked out in four rounds—while Berto, 32, dropped virtually every round to Mayweather in a losing effort last year.
Their fight will decide who’s still relevant. It’s more than a crossroads fight. It’s personal.
"The fight back in 2011, he got me,” said Berto. “He did what he had to do to win. But this time I’m going in extremely focused and ready to take everything that I felt he took from me that night. I went to school. I failed the test and now I have the chance to ace it.”
For Ortiz, it’s pretty simple. He wants to knock out Berto.
“He thinks he has a chance this time,” said Ortiz. “I’m not going the distance. I’m going in one hundred miles per hour, full throttle.”
Berto scoffs at Ortiz’s prediction of a knockout.
“He said it wouldn’t go the distance last time,”Berto said. “But I still did and I wasn’t training to my full capabilities.”
Though likely past their primes, both boxers are loaded with pride. A loss could end a career—while a win extends it.
Expect another entertaining donnybrook.