Andre Berto has vacated his IBF welterweight title to target a rematch with Victor Ortiz. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
With HBO having no interest in a fight between Andre Berto and Randall Bailey, and the IBF ordering that fight for its title, Berto has decided to vacate the belt and target a rematch with Victor Ortiz instead. From ESPN.com:
"It's a fight that I want more than a world championship," Berto told ESPN.com. "I love my title, but then again, I want to give the fans what they want to see."
... "I think that the rematch will be a tremendous fight. The first one was a fight of the year and it's only right for me just knowing that I got into the game to be in great fights. It's the fight everyone wants to see. We have a short time span in this game, so I every time I step in this ring I want it to be remembered, and I want people to remember me for that."
Promoter Lou DiBella says that Berto "doesn't understand" why the fight with Bailey was turned down, but while Berto may not, we all do, and so does DiBella, who admits there is no U.S. TV money in the fight, and thus there is no fight. HBO has actually put on worse Berto matchups than that one in the past, but it's a new regime in their boxing department now, with Ken Hershman leading the way. Whether this was a Hershman-specific decision or not isn't clear or anything, but considering all of one year ago, HBO was paying for Berto vs Freddy Hernandez, one has to guess he had a hand in saying no.
Many of us do not care about the belts, but keep in mind that fighters do, and that giving up the title was certainly no easy decision for Berto. He gets criticized a lot, and he may not be boxing's most eloquent fighter, but I think this is an admirable move that deserves respect. Either way you look at it, he's targeting a bigger, better fight, and a rematch of the fight that made both he and Victor Ortiz legit in one night. Hopefully it can get done, and rumors have already floated about HBO wanting the bout for January 28. If that is indeed the target date, DiBella and Golden Boy might have an announcement to make sooner than later.