In an article by USA Today's Bob Velin, Andre Berto says he's confident in his new fitness methods and is looking to only make exciting fights from now on. Berto rematches Victor Ortiz on February 11, live on Showtime from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"Before, we just did it the old school way — we didn't take vitamins, protein shakes, none of that stuff. We just did hard work," Berto said. "But everybody knows, if you're a world-class athlete, you have to train and take care of your body like you are a world class athlete, and we're trying to take all the right precautions now."
Berto (28-1, 22 KO) added the infamous Victor Conte to his team last summer, after losing to Ortiz but ahead of his September 3 win over Jan Zaveck, and found out shortly after adding Conte that he was anemic, which of course would have a big effect on training and overall stamina and fitness levels. Berto's stamina was always questioned, and that was as valid a reason as any to explain that flaw, from what always appeared to be a guy in immaculate condition.
At 28, Berto has a lot of road ahead of him in his career, and following two very exciting bouts in 2011, there's a very good chance he turns around his reputation -- criticized for years as a coddled HBO "star," Berto is gaining some traction as a go-to action fighter, and he says that's what he wants to be known as from now on:
"Right now I'm at a place where I just want to make good fights," he said. "I've made good money in the sport. I've won two titles, and this fight is one that I wanted and definitely one the people wanted. It's going to be an exciting fight. That's the only thing I'm worried about."
Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO), meanwhile, is coming off of his KO-4 loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr, which was one of 2011's most controversial and talked-about fights. At the end of the day (!!!), Victor Ortiz came out of all of that a much bigger star than he went in, and though he didn't land the rematch he desired with Floyd, he's got the rematch that likely amounts to another great fight with Berto.
[ Related: Johnny Tapia Interviews with Ortiz and Berto ]
For both men, the February 11 fight is risky. A win puts them right in line for a bigger fight, just like last year. A loss sends them back to the drawing board. And given where they're both at right now, it's hard to tell who has more to lose. In a perfect world, we'll see a better version of each man than we saw last April, and maybe even a better fight.