By Keith Idec
Lou DiBella realizes most American fight fans have never seen Jan Zaveck box.
Andre Berto’s promoter has watched a lot of film on the unknown Slovenian champion, though, more than enough to think that Berto (27-1, 21 KOs) will be in a legitimate fight Sept. 3 in Biloxi, Miss.
“What I found out is not only is he a world champion with many, many defenses, but he’s an excellent, excellent fighter,” DiBella said of Zaveck. “Extremely strong, rugged, excellent boxer. There’s a reason he’s a world champion, with a number of defenses.
“And it shows the guts and the confidence of Team Berto, coming off a loss to [Victor] Ortiz. This is not any type of a comeback fight. This is a huge challenge against a great champion. And I know Berto will be ready for this and I know Jan Zaveck has no intention of losing his title. I think you can expect a great, great main event on HBO and at the Beau Rivage [Resort & Casino].”
The 27-year-old Berto’s 12-round fight for Zaveck’s IBF welterweight title will represent his first action since he suffered his lone professional loss, a highly entertaining, 12-round unanimous decision defeat to Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) on April 16 in Mashantucket, Conn.
Zaveck, 35, won the IBF 147-pound championship by stopping South Africa’s Isaac Hlatshwayo in the third round of their December 2009 fight in Johannesburg. That was Zaveck’s only professional fight that was held outside of Europe.
He has defended that title three times, but not against anyone with the power, speed and athleticism that Berto possesses.
Still, DiBella and Berto anticipate a difficult fight against Zaveck (31-1, 18 KOs, 1 NC), who avenged his only professional defeat, a split decision in November 2008, with a majority decision victory over Poland’s Rafal Jackiewicz (38-9-1, 19 KOs) in his second title defense nearly a year ago.
“For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity,” DiBella said, “go online and look at some video of Zaveck. And you’re going to realize why he’s a world champion.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.