If hard fights usually bring their combatants closer in professional boxing, "Vicious" Victor Ortiz (31-5-2, 24KOs) and Andre "The Beast" Berto (30-4, 23KOs) are anything but the rule going into their second battle scheduled for this Saturday April 30, 2016 from the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, set to be televised live on Fox and Fox Deportes at 8p.m. ET/5p.m. PT courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions on Fox. If the picture above from their latest press conference for Saturday's fight doesn't illustrate exactly how little affection they have for one another since their explosive first battle in 2011, perception is blind.
Billed simply as "the Rematch," both fighters have a lot to prove with Berto coming off of his recent loss to the now retired Floyd "Money"Mayweather (49-0, 26KOs). While Mayweather is an iconic fighter who bested both Berto and Ortiz definitively, Berto, in suffering that most recent loss in December of last year, still carries the fresh blemish of not being able to squash lingering rumors that he simply isn't the same formidable fighter post shoulder injury. Victor Ortiz also has his own heavy baggage coming into this fight, having taken a long sojourn from the sport that made him famous due to multiple injuries: "I shattered my jaw, which took me out for two years," stated Ortiz, adding that after those two years, he had a less than grand return, getting KOed in two rounds by Luis Collazo (36-7, 19KOs): "I was healing, I come back not so good...a few months later I shatter my wrist...so I said you know what, I'm stepping away from boxing for the time being just until I heal. So I went on to take on Hollywood. I got on movie after movie after movie. Six movies later, now I'm 100 percent." Hopefully after a good three years out of contention due to injury, Ortiz's self evaluation proves more accurate now than it did when he came back in versus Collazo in 2014.
While things seem to be especially charged between both fighters for a myriad of do or die career related reasons, it would seem that Berto has more to prove to himself as well as boxing fans going into Saturday's fight as the man who is coming off of losses versus victory. Ortiz, unlike Berto, comes into Saturday's fight as the winner of his last two battles and despite having gone in as the underdog in 2011, Ortiz was the undisputed winner of Berto vs. Ortiz I. Nevertheless, Berto seems to be energized rather than troubled by this past history: " I've improved tremendously. Mentally and all the way around the board," stated Berto of his loss to Ortiz, continuing in regards to the rematch, "This fight has always been on my mind. Even when I tried to move on, other people continued to remind me about it. Everyone said I needed to get (Ortiz) back. That's the fight everyone has wanted to see and that everyone deserves. I'm going to give everyone the fight they deserve."
Game on, gentlemen.