Victor Ortiz (seen here in 2010) has joined the top of the ranks at welterweight after his win over Andre Berto. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Finally, Victor Ortiz looked truly "Vicious."
Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KO) scored the upset win by unanimous decision tonight over Andre Berto, claiming an alphabet soup belt at 147 pounds on scores of 115-110, 114-111 and 114-112. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-111 for Ortiz.
Berto (27-1, 21 KO) went down hard in the opening round, but put Ortiz down late in the second round to even the tally. In the sixth, Ortiz was flattened by a monster right hand and put on the canvas, but bounced back and scored an amazing, awe-inspiring knockdown of his own late in the very same round, which is now the front-runner for Round of the Year.
The fight slowed in the latter stages, as both men tired. But it was Ortiz who constantly applied pressure, brought the fight to Berto, and generally outworked his opponent. Berto looked tired from about the third round on, and seemingly was not ready for the Ortiz that showed up tonight.
And make no mistake, but this was really a new Ortiz. At welterweight -- and 161 pounds on the HBO scales -- he was a bull, pushing Berto around the ring, looking bigger and stronger than the ripped Berto (who was 156 unofficially). His punches carried power, his speed translated to the new weight, and he just looked sturdier and stronger than Berto, who himself was in peak condition.
In other words, and this is coming from a longtime Victor Ortiz doubter, we've got a new dog in the race at welterweight, and that division just got a little bit hotter. My problem with Ortiz, as you know if you've been here a while, has never been talent. And tonight, not only did he take that talent to a new level, but he showed the grit, heart, resolve and serious determination that he seemed to lack in past fights.
What's next is up in the air, but a rematch would surely be welcome by boxing fans. This was a really fun fight, and while Ortiz definitely deserved the win, it seemed like maybe this fight could have gone the exact opposite way at certain points. Berto has better than this in him, but he never truly recovered from that first round knockdown, and that's pure credit to "Vicious" Victor.
Congratulations to Victor Ortiz for his breakout win tonight. It's been a long time coming, but the hype has been equaled by the output.