By Keith Idec
Andre Berto bravely battled Victor Ortiz in what was one of the most entertaining fights of 2011.
The former WBC welterweight champion dropped Ortiz twice, got up from two knockdowns and produced perhaps the most captivating performance of his six-year pro career.
That all meant little to Berto in the aftermath of his first professional defeat. In fact, Berto boarded a plane for Indonesia soon after losing a unanimous decision to Ortiz on April 16 in Mashantucket, Conn., because the proud Haitian-American was “embarrassed” by the loss.
“Of course it was devastating to me,” said Berto (27-1, 20 KOs), who’ll try to bounce back from the Ortiz loss Saturday night against IBF welterweight champ Jan Zaveck (31-1, 18 KOs, 1 NC) in Biloxi, Miss. “It was really devastating to me. I mean, it couldn’t really register to me. I didn’t want anybody around me. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I took a trip out of the country. I didn’t want to be around people.
“I just wanted to spend a lot of time alone, to myself, because that’s not in my nature to basically, to lose. It’s not in my nature just to feel like I got defeated, pretty much. Of course you’re going to lose. I’ve played plenty of games [and lost] and I [lost] plenty of fights I had as an amateur. I mean, like that night I just didn’t feel like I was there. I felt embarrassed. … I just felt embarrassed [about] how the fight went.”
Berto’s trip to Indonesia cleared his head, however, and he feels refreshed following a strong training camp.
“I definitely came into this camp a lot more motivated, you know, a lot more hungry,” Berto said. “I feel great, I feel motivated, I feel as sharp as ever. I feel fast, strong, the endurance is there. So I’m just looking forward to an entertaining fight.”
The Berto-Zaveck fight will be the main event of an HBO “Boxing After Dark” doubleheader scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m. EDT
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.