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PBC on Fox Preview: Berto vs. Ortiz II, Rodriguez vs. Williams


Andre Berto vs. Victor Ortiz II Preview
By: Matthew N. Becher

This Saturday, April 30th, at 8pm on Fox, The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will host the rematch to the 2011 fight of the year against Andre Berto (30-4 23KO) and rival Victor Ortiz (31-5 24KO). The first time around saw a back and forth slug fest, with both men hitting the canvas, and Ortiz winning a unanimous decision victory for Berto’s WBC Welterweight title. The win led Ortiz directly to a shot against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a string of celebrity appearances from television to the big screen.

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LOPS ANGELESS, CA - MARCH 23: ____ seen at Fox Premiere Boxing Champions ORTIZ vs BERTO II The Rematch - Press Conference on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at The Conga Room L.A. Live in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by A Turner Archives)

The undercard of this bout will take place in the light heavyweight division between Edwin Rodriguez (28-1 19KO), who is trying to get back on track since his lone defeat to Andre Ward, and Thomas Williams Jr. (19-1 13KO), a 28 year old looking to make a name for himself on prime time television against a live opponent.

Edwin Rodriguez vs. Thomas Williams Jr.

Edwin Rodriguez is a fringe contender who climbed the ladder in the Super Middleweight division, only to see it all crumble in his first attempt at a title against Andre Ward. Rodriguez had been perfect up to that point with wins over the likes of James McGirt, Aaron Pryor Jr, Will Rosinsky and Donovan George. His loss to Ward was a harsh defeat and has sent Rodriguez into a new weight division, starting back at the bottom rung of the ladder. Rodriguez is currently ranked in the top 5 of the WBC and IBF divisional rankings, and needs a good showing on Saturday night to move closer to a title shot against either Adonis Stevenson or Sergey Kovalev.

Thomas Williams Jr. is a 28 year old, stepping into the spotlight for the first time. He has a lesser known resume than Rodriguez, with his biggest fight being against former champion Gabriel Campillo, a fight in which Williams lost. Every other fight Williams has been successful and he will need this to be his defining fight to stamp his name in a division that is very stacked with formidable opponents.

Andre Berto vs. Victor Ortiz II

Just to get this out in the open straight off the bat, Berto and Ortiz do not like each other. Ever since their first fight, they have been verbally jabbing away at one another for the past five years. The first fight was a classic that many people still tune into on YouTube. Berto was the champion, looking to get the win and his shot at the Floyd Mayweather lottery. Instead, Ortiz pulled off the upset and jumped ahead in line to fight the pound for pound king.

Ortiz was groomed by Golden Boy promotions to be the next great fighter. He was fed a steady diet of inferior opponents until he ran into a little known Argentine by the name of Marcos Maidana. Ortiz lost by knockout and looked to want to quit the sport. Ortiz then regrouped and fought his way back, beating Nate Campbell, Vivian Harris and scoring a draw against Lamont Peterson. He found himself fighting for the WBC welterweight crown against Andre Berto, in a fight that would later be named the 2011 fight of the year. Ortiz was then stopped in four rounds on a controversial ending by Floyd Mayweather. After regrouping in 2012, a warm up fight against Josesito Lopez turned bad, when Lopez stopped Ortiz in six, breaking his jaw in the process. Ortiz took 2 years off from boxing, participating in the ABC reality television show “Dancing with the Stars” and appearing in several motion pictures, including “The Expendables” and “Southpaw”. Ortiz made his way back to the ring in 2014, getting knocked out in 2 rounds by Luis Collazo. He won back to back fights against Manuel Perez and Gilberto Sanchez Leon, which has now led him to a rematch with his much hated rival Andre Berto.

Berto was another stand out fighter, rising in the Welterweight division, winning his first and only World title against Miguel Angel Rodriguez. Berto would go on to defend his belt five times against the likes of Steve Forbes, Luis Collazo, Juan Urango and Carlos Quintana. He was making his case to fight Mayweather until the night in 2011, where he lost a highly contested battle against Victor Ortiz, giving him his first professional loss and losing his chance at the big pay day fight. Berto quickly regrouped with a win over Jan Zaveck, but then reeled off two losses to Robert Guerreo (who would fight Mayweather in his next match) and Jesus Soto Karass (by knockout). Berto saw his career spiraling downward, until he was able to get a win over Steve Upsher Chambers and an exciting knockout victory over Josesito Lopez. That fight led to his showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Floyd’s final fight and victory in September of last year.

To state again, both of these guys do not like the other, so we do not expect this to be a feel em out, pitter pat type of fight. Once they begin to exchange, expect the fireworks to continue. Neither of these guys are still in their prime, and the loser of this one may need to hang up the gloves forever. This is a fight for each fighter’s future in the sport. It will come down to who wants it more.

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