Titles aren’t that important. Being on an HBO PPV fight is. Andre Berto vacated his IBF welterweight belt so he can get a rematch against the only fighter that’s beaten him, Victor Ortiz.
Back in April, Ortiz beat Berto in a great fight, taking the WBC welterweight belt before losing it to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September. Berto got back a belt, the IBF version, after beating Dejan Zavec in an unimpressive bout that was stopped by Zaveck’s corner due to a severe cut.
Now, the IBF’s mandatory challenger is Randall Bailey, past his 37th birthday, who still has some power, but not crowd drawing power, which what HBO cares about. Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto have both enjoyed HBO money for quite a while now, and since HBO really wants an Ortiz – Berto II, that is what they’ll get. The fact is there is no American TV money to make Berto-Bailey so it couldn’t be made. We are trying to make the Ortiz rematch.
According to Lou DiBella, Berto’s promoter, HBO are planning for a January 28 fight, a week before the Superbowl. Berto seems to have been thinking about Ortiz for over six months now – Knowing who I am, and how I was brought up, and my passion for the game, that’s the route I need to go. It’s just me. I’m the type of kid that if I got in a schoolyard fight, I’m gonna see that guy and we will have to fight every day until I beat him. I know we’re going to have to scrap again.
Though Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer and Lou DiBella aren’t getting along that well, the financial prospects of this fight are just too good to give up. My guy (Berto) is coming off a title win, Ortiz is coming off a knockout loss and their first fight was terrific, so we just need to make a fair deal. It took two to make a fight of the year candidate. So I have no problem with equal footing for this fight, but I won’t be dictated to by Richard or by HBO. I’m sure when Richard and I get past the fact that we are quibbling, we can get a deal done.