By Lem Satterfield
BoxingScene.com spoke to 10 of the sport's insiders concerning whom they believe will win Saturday night's welterweight clash between WBC king Andre Berto and rising southpaw, former junior welterweight, Victor Ortiz, that is slated for the Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Conn.
The 27-year-old Berto (27-0, 21 knockouts) is coming off of November's first-round knockout of Freddy Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs), of Mexico City, whose winning streak of 12 straight fights, including six knockouts, was ended as Hernandez was stopped for the first time and lost for the first time since losing a split-decision to Golden Johnson in February of 2005.
In April of 2010, Berto scored an eighth-round knockout of southpaw former world champion, Carlos Quintana (27-3, 21 KOs), who, at the time, had been the only man to have beaten southpaw three-time titlist, Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs).
The 24-year-old Ortiz (28-2-2, 22 KOs) is coming off of a 10-round, majority draw opposite the 27-year-old Lamont Peterson (28-1-1, 14 KOs), whom Ortiz floored twice in the third round. Peterson was, nevertheless, awarded the victory, 95-93, on the card of one judge, while the other two scored the fight as a 94-94 draw with Ortiz.
Ortiz is 4-0-1, with three knockouts since being stopped by in the sixth round in June of 2009 by WBA interim titlist Marcos Rene Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) of Argentina, who was dropped three times during a bout in which Ortiz hit the canvas twice.
Below are the results of the BoxingSCene.com panel's poll.
Bob Canobbio, CompuBox.com
Andre Berto TKO 10 Victor Ortiz: Andre Berto landed 54 percent of his power punches vs. southpaws Luis Collazo, Juan Urango and Carlos Quintana, which is 15 percent higher than the welterweight average.
Ortiz, a southpaw, landed just 10 percent of his jabs in nine of his fights tracked by CompuBox, while throwing just 43 punches per round - 15 less than the weight class average. So he's not going to outhustle Berto, who throws in the mid-50's per round. I'm picking Berto, TKO 10.
Norm Frauenheim, 15rounds.com
Andre Berto KO 9 Victor Ortiz: I like Andre Berto by a late-round stoppage, probably in the ninth round. After last weekend’s string of surprises, the temptation is to go for another upset and to pick Victor Ortiz.
But all the momentum is with Berto, and there are just too many troubling questions attached to the likable, yet enigmatic Ortiz. With dangerous power, Ortiz has talent enough to win.
But he has to sustain it, and there is no reason to believe he will, or perhaps can. Ortiz dropped Marcos Maidana three times, once in the first round and twice in the second, yet he still lost.
Ortiz put Lamont Peterson down twice in the third, yet settled for a majority draw. A front-runner won’t beat Berto, who has the speed to change gears and make adjustments that figure to be critical sometime after the sixth.
Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com
Andre Berto W12 Victor Ortiz: I hate to beat a dead horse, but Andre Berto's been to the well before and survived, while Victor Ortiz hasn't passed his tests in the same fashion. I don't see any changes coming Saturday.
Robert Guerrero, WBA and WBO interim lightweight champion.
Victor Ortiz W 12 Andre Berto: You know, it's a pick-em fight, man. I just think that. You know, Andre Berto's got that speed, and he comes forward, and Victor Ortiz has been boxing really well.
It's one of those fights where it can go either way. If I pick one, I'll have to Vicor Ortiz because of his height. He's tough when he gets behind that jab, and if he stays behind it, you know, I believe that he can edge it out.
So I'm saying that he will win the fight over 12 rounds.
Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
Andre Berto TKO 10 Victor Ortiz: I think that Andre Berto is better across the board and will beat Victor Ortiz down and stop him late.
Steve Kim, MaxBoxing.com
Andre Berto W 12 Victor Ortiz: I like Andre Berto. Just don't trust Victor Ortiz in a tough fight. Ortiz has some physical advantages even though he's moving up.
But But Berto has been at welter his whole career. and he has good pop in both hands. Berto by decision.
Kieran Mulvaney, ESPN and Reuters
Andre Berto W 12 Victor Ortiz: I love this fight. Even though he’s moving up, Victor Ortiz may actually be the slightly bigger man, as Andre Berto is a small welterweight and Ortiz has been struggling a little to make 140.
When you see him in the gym, Ortiz's upper body looks enormous. I think Ortiz has a potentially higher ceiling than Berto. If he can get everything working perfectly, he could really be a force. The question is whether he can.
For me, his most disappointing outing wasn’t the Marcos Maidana fight, but the Lamont Peterson fight. Ortiz had Peterson in such trouble early, but he let him escape. I still think he should have gotten the decision.
But it was only a one-point fight on my card and he should never have let it get that close. Conversely, I think Berto is continuing to improve, and we can be certain he’s going to have a higher punch output than Ortiz is used to facing.
Those multiple punches from Berto are going to be the hardest Ortiz has faced since Maidana. Ortiz can make this a real fight, and he can win.
But he needs not to lunge awkwardly from the outside, getting himself off-balance as he looks for that big shot. He needs to stay within himself, breaking his foe down with an accumulation of hard punches.
If he doesn’t, then Berto is simply going to outwork him, hitting him with multiple hard punches that allow the champion to build up an ultimately unassailable lead on the scorecards.
Lamont Peterson, junior welterweight contender
Andre Berto KO 10 Victor Ortiz: If I had to put my money down on that fight, I would go with Andre Berto. But knowing both of them and the way that they punch, it's anybody's fight.
But I think that I have to go with Berto, and I don't see it going the distance.
Joseph Santoliquito, Managing Editor Ring Magazine
Andre Berto KO 9 Victor Ortiz: Andre Berto has too much of everything for Victor Ortiz, including experience, poise, power, quickness and hand speed. All of those qualities are owned by Berto.
Ortiz will put on a spirited battle, and it certainly has all the makings of a quality fight. But everything leans heavily in Berto's favor and I can't see any reason why Berto shouldn't win this.
Tim Smith, New York Daily News
Andre Berto TKO 9 Victor Ortiz: I think that Andre Berto may be too big. I think that Berto has sort of come into his own as a welterweight champion. I think that the weight may be a bit too much for Victor Ortiz. By that, I'm saying that Ortiz hasn't yet fought at 147 pounds, and this will be his first real fight at that weight.
But I think that if Ortiz does win this fight, then we'll find out how special he really is. I don't think don't think that Ortiz will be able to withstand the size difference. I think that the size difference will be to great for him.
Berto has also turned into an excellent boxer. Ortiz may come in weighing more than Berto, but he hasn't fought at that weight. There's a difference between weighing that much and fighting at that weight.
I think that Berto out-boxes him, wears him down and knocks him out in the ninth round. I think that Berto stops him late, and I'll say that it will be a TKO in the ninth round.
The votes are in, and by a margin of 9-to-1, the insiders favor Andre Berto defeating Victor Ortiz.