There was a little bit of sex, drugs and rigamarole as Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto talked to the media about their upcoming rematch on a conference call Wednesday.
Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) and Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) are looking to recapture the fury of their previous fight on Saturday Feb. 11, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Their first encounter a year ago was dubbed “Fight of the Year” for 2011.
Can it be done again?
Golden Boy Promotion’s Oscar De La Hoya thinks it’s a slam dunk.
“The first fight was a tremendous, tremendous fight. Both Berto and Ortiz showed tremendous hearts of warriors,” said GBP president De La Hoya, who promotes Ortiz.
Lou DiBella, who promotes Berto went one step more in his thoughts.
“Andre Berto is going to win. I do know he’s going to avenge a loss,” said DiBella.
Their first encounter took place nine months ago in Atlantic City when Berto defended the WBC welterweight title that he held at the time. Ortiz was volunteered to challenge the full fledged 147-pounder after fighting to a draw in a junior welterweight match against Lamont Peterson. Many saw the Southern Californian as a sacrificial lamb.
“Once again it comes back that I’m the underdog,. That’s the story of my life. Let’s not forget I’m a 140-pounder the first time. Now I’m a natural 147-pounder and somebody’s in trouble.”
Berto gave no excuses about their first clash, regardless of performance enhancement drug accusations pointed toward Ortiz after the first clash.
“Ortiz was the better man that day,” said Berto.
Olympic-style drug testing was mutually agreed upon by both Golden Boy and DiBella Promotions for both boxers. Furthermore, both companies are in favor of using drug testing for all major events and world title fights.
“That’s a good step to take away the innuendo of the things that do exist in our sport,” said DiBella. “They really are now making this affordable. This really is a big issue.”
Testing is not primarily for steroids but for any performance enhancement drugs known as PEDs, such as human growth hormones and other type of drugs used to increase strength, stamina and promote weight loss.
De La Hoya foresees this type of testing in boxing to be used in the very near future.
“Eventually we’ll be doing testing all across the board. It’s a contact sport,” said De La Hoya, adding that Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA have adopted testing for PEDs.
“Just like any other sport they’re all doing the testing on all their athletes and we should be there with them.”
The two welterweights both consented unflinchingly.
“PEDS are just very, very rampant not just in other sports but in boxing as well,” Berto said.
Aside from drug testing one question came about concerning the rumor that Ortiz was dating NBA super star Kobe Bryant’s ex-wife Vanessa Bryant.
“I’ve never been under the same roof as Vanessa Bryant. I’m not even a Lakers fans, I’m a Celtics fan straight up,” said Ortiz.
In less than three weeks the rumors and talks will end in the boxing ring.
“I’m pretty sure I can and will KO Berto,” Ortiz says.
Berto had a more neutral outlook.
“Just tune in and watch,” Berto said.
The welterweight fight will be televised on Showtime.