Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz site set
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- On the eve of promoting a world title fight at the Foxwoods Resort Casino, promoter Lou DiBella made a deal Friday to bring another one here.
Welterweight titlist Andre Berto will make his sixth defense against Victor Ortiz at the resort's MGM Grand Arena April 16 (HBO), DiBella told ESPN.com.
DiBella also is promoting middleweight champion Sergio Martinez's fight against junior middleweight titleholder Sergiy Dzinziruk at the venue Saturday (HBO, 10:30 p.m. ET).
"It's a great facility and we're having great success with [Saturday's] show and Berto has fought the bulk of his fights on the East Coast, so it's a natural," DiBella said. "This is one of the best rooms for boxing on the East Coast. About 4,000 seats, not a bad one in there. We're having a great experience working with the property on this [Martinez-Dzinziruk] event and we're happy we're coming back."
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Finding a venue was not easy. DiBella had been looking for a site since making the fight with Golden Boy Promotions, Ortiz's promoter, in late January. He explored deals in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Chicago. He could have placed the fight at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., but did not want to go there, in part because it was the home area of Ortiz. Berto is from Winter Haven, Fla.
DiBella was looking forward to the fight that matches a pair of former ESPN.com prospects of the year.
"I think styles make fights and you can't beat it. These are two guys that throw," DiBella said. "They both have power. For any critic who says it's a 140-pounder versus a 147-pounder, that's bull---- because Ortiz is actually bigger than Berto. It's the kind of fight I like to see. You know both chins are going to get tested. There's a lot of speed in the ring and also a lot of power. People know I like aggression and blood and guys getting knocked out, so this is my kind of fight."
Ortiz (28-2-2, 22 KOs), who is coming off a December draw against Lamont Peterson, is moving up in weight from junior welterweight to challenge Berto (27-0, 21 KOs). Ortiz has been struggling to make 140 pounds. He made weight for the fight with Peterson, but put on about 15 pounds between the weigh-in and the fight the following night.
Ortiz looms as the most significant opponent of Berto's career other than former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo, whom Berto outpointed in a hotly disputed January 2009 title defense. In his last bout, Berto blew out Freddy Hernandez in the first round of a November mismatch.
HBO will televise Berto-Ortiz on "World Championship Boxing," along with same-day taped coverage of junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan's defense in his native England against Paul McCloskey of Northern Ireland.
DiBella said that on the undercard, former light heavyweight titlist Zsolt Erdei (32-0, 17 KOs) of Hungary will face an opponent to be determined in his second fight since signing with DiBella and deciding to campaign in the United States.
In addition, welterweight contender Selcuk Aydin (20-0, 15 KOs) of Turkey is slated to see action in an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined. Aydin is Berto's mandatory challenger, but twice has taken deals to step aside to allow Berto to fight other opponents.
Aydin is hoping to impress enough on the card that he can whet the appetite of HBO executives to buy a fight between him and the main event winner.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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