By Francisco Salazar
CARSON, Calif. - It was not the memorable knockdown-filled classic many fight fans remember from over five years ago. But the rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto did produce a few fireworks of its own on Saturday evening.
In the end, Berto was able to avenge his defeat to Ortiz and buy himself one more possible payday.
For Ortiz, the future looks a lot more murkier.
Berto stopped Ortiz roughly midway through the fourth round before a raucous crowd of 7,760 at the Stubhub Center in this Los Angeles suburb.
With the win, Berto goes to 31-4, 24 KOs. Ortiz drops to 31-6-2, 24 KOs.
It was a solid win for Berto, who was coming off a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather on September 6.
For Ortiz, he has won his last two bouts against modest opposition, but it paled in comparison to his previous three fights. Ortiz was knocked out in three consecutive fights by the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Josesito Lopez, and Luis Collazo.
There were those who questioned whether Ortiz could ever be the same fighter, considering Ortiz found the acting bug, appearing in movies and network programming.
It started well for Ortiz early on, as he dictated the pace and was first to land substance to the head and body with repeated jabs and left hands to the head.
Ortiz did this with blood running down his face in the opening round from a cut suffered on his hairline due to an accidental head-butt.
Things got better for Ortiz towards the end of the second round. Berto was dropped from a straight left hand to the face and while he was not hurt from the punch, he looked upset that he ended up on the canvas.
"I fell asleep for about two seconds," Berto said after the fight. "It was a flash knockdown. I wasn't hurt from the punch."
Ortiz continued to be at his best, especially in the third round. While it looked as though it was too good to be true for the Ventura, Calif. resident, the bottom fell out.
With about 30 seconds into the fourth round, Berto picked up his aggression. It paid off as he was able to land a right uppercut, sending Ortiz flat onto his back. Ortiz got up on wobbly legs and was sent down to the canvas. Ortiz beat the count a second time, but did not respond to referee Jack Reiss' instructions and the fight was was stopped 1:14.
Ortiz landed 29 of 120 total punches, while Berto connected on 17 of 123 punches.
"It's the most satisfying win of my career because I was able to avenge my first loss (against Ortiz)," said Berto. "Once he (Ortiz) went down, it was over. I knew he was hurt and I went right after him. He couldn't take my power. I was able avenge my first loss (against Victor Ortiz)."
With Danny Garcia providing color commentary from ringside for FOX, much was made on social media and on the air that Berto would likely fight the Philadelphia fighter.
"Danny Garcia sure, just tell me when and I'll be ready."
As for Ortiz, who knows what the future holds. Ortiz seemed to have most of the crowd in his favor prior to the fight beginning, but that disappeared into the night moments after Jack Reiss stopped the fighter.
The loss seriously puts Ortiz's career in jeopardy. One would wonder whether Ortiz hangs up the gloves for good and continues his acting career. Whatever he may decide, look for Ortiz to continue to fight.
"I didn't really lose control," said Ortiz, who trains at Knuckleheadz Gym in Ventura, Calif. "I dropped my hand and he caught me. He is a hard puncher just like myself."
"I was winning and doing everything right, but I got caught. I never disliked Berto. It is part of the game. He acted like he didn't like me, but it I always tried to shake his hand. I don't hate anyone. I just need to go and take a vacation. I haven't had a vacation in two years, and then I will get back at it."
Williams bests Rodriguez
Besides Berto, the fighter that likely was the big winner was Thomas Williams, who stopped Edwin Rodriguez in the second round.
Both fighters were winging wild hooks and crosses to each other's head. The southpaw Wiliams seemed to stun Rodriguez in the opening round, but looks as though Rodriguez did the favor later in the second round.
Williams looked somewhat gassed midway through the second and looked as though he would likely loss the round before putting Rodriguez on the canvas with a left cross to the head.
Rodriguez beat the count, but referee Wayne Hedgpeth stopped the bout at 2:59.
"I told you what was going to happen," said Williams after the fight. "He was going to be open for everything and he was. I countered him and hurt him with every punch. I could see his punches like it was slow motion."
Asked who he wanted to fight next, Williams has his sights set on Adonis Stevenson.
"I want the title, absolutely I want to fight Adonis Stevenson next, he's the champ and I want his belt."
Rodriguez saw things differently after the fight.
"I thought I could have continued. I didn't know what the referee saw, but I could have kept going." I
"I didn't fight the fight I was supposed to. I was supposed to go in there and box, and I didn't do it. I should have taken my time. He throws like crazy and I wasn't fighting defensively. I should have stuck to my game plan and that's my fault."
Im the opening bout of the FOX broadcast, featherweight Jorge Lara improved to 28-0, 20 KOs with a resounding and brutal first round knockout win over three-division world champion Fernando Montiel.
The southpaw Lara clipped Montiel seconds into the round, eventually dropping him onto the canvas. Montiel got up on very wobble legs and it was almost a small miracle how he was able to continue.
Lara dropped Montiel twice more and it almost seemed like the bout would eventually get stopped. Montiel got up a third time and probably wished he should have remained on the canvas, as a right hook dropped Montiel face-first to the canvas.
Referee Ray Corona waved the fight off at 1:37.
After the fight, Lara called out the winner of the proposed fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
Montiel drops to 54-6-1, 39 KOs.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing