CARSON, CA — Five years is a long time to carry regret. Tonight, Andre Berto used a right uppercut to knock out Victor Ortiz and exorcise the demons from their 2011 Fight of the Year. Was this fight anywhere near their first encounter in terms of action and drama? Absolutely not. But fans were treated to high tension, multiple knockdowns and a definitive ending.
ORTIZ’S EARLY POISE: For most of the bout, Victor Ortiz opted to be the boxer and counter-puncher. The smaller Berto struggled to establish range and found most of his shots falling short. Ortiz was able to land his southpaw straight left and used it to score a flash knockdown in the second.
THE CONFIDENCE SWING: Before the landing that crushing right uppercut, Berto looked jittery. His offense was sputtering, and his eyes showed were that of a fighter not prepared to chase after Ortiz. When he got the knockdown, his war yell announced he was back in the fight. To his credit, Berto seemed to remember the knockdowns traded in the first bout and didn’t get too wild. Berto trapped Ortiz on the ropes and downed him quickly with power shots.
As with every Ortiz fight, the question is his heart. In a replay of the Collazo fight, Ortiz had a “deer in headlights” look after both knockdowns. He gave referee Jack Reiss no choice but to call it off when he failed to respond to questions about wanting to continue.
ORTIZ DONE, MORE PAYDAYS LOOM FOR BERTO: Ortiz proclaimed after the fight he’ll be back and just needed a “vacation.” This statement was made while some of the Mexican fans in attendance hurled slurs. Frankly, we’ve seen more than enough Ortiz vacations as he’s only fought five times in the last five years. His heart is not in the sport. This KO loss puts his stock at rock bottom. Sure, the PBC brand can put him on undercards in inconsequential fights. But why bother?
As for Berto, he jump to the top of the list for a showdown with Danny Garcia in late summer. Should Garcia opt to face the winner of Thurman-Porter in June, Berto could sit or be an option for rising contender Errol Spence.
THOMAS WILLIAMS TKO2 EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Bombs away! These two wasted no time throwing huge shots in the opening round. Rodriguez was the sloppier one — his shots were badly telegraphed and his footwork plodding. The southpaw Williams was landing flush left hands at will. Although Rodriguez held up in the opening round, there’s only so many clean shots you can take. In the very next round, Rodriguez started to wilt and got laid out in devastating fashion.
Williams highlight-reel KO puts him on a collision course to face WBC light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. I like Superman to retain in that one via early KO. But with Williams’ power, you can’t count him out.
JORGE LORA KO1 FERNANDO MONTIEL: After 20 years, it’s time to say goodbye to Fernando Montiel. The multi-division champion was floored four times and brutally stopped with a right hook by Jorge Lara, who referred to Montiel as “his idol.”
With Montiel’s best days being at super flyweight and bantamweight over five years ago, it wasn’t surprising to see Lora overpower him at feathweight. A sad end to a great career, but one that’s inevitable for most fighters.