Andre Berto to fight Jan Zaveck
Former welterweight titlist Andre Berto, who suffered his first defeat on April 16, will return to challenge titleholder Jan Zaveck of Slovenia on Sept. 3 in an HBO main event, Berto promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com on Thursday.
DiBella said he had a deal with Berto, 27, and had also made a deal with Zaveck's team for him to come to the United States to fight for the first time.
In one of the most action-packed fights of the year, Berto lost his version of the 147-pound title by unanimous decision to Victor Ortiz -- who parlayed the win into a big-money pay-per-view fight against Floyd Mayweather on Sept. 17 -- in a tremendous action fight that saw both men get knocked down twice.
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Zaveck (31-1, 18 KOs), 35, who has fought all but one of his fights in either Slovenia or Germany, will be making the fourth defense of the belt he won in South Africa, a third-round knockout of Isaac Hlatshwayo in December 2009.
"I was watching tapes of Zaveck and he's better than I thought he would be," DiBella said. "I still think my guy wins, but Zaveck is a quality fighter."
Interestingly, HBO rejected a Zaveck-Berto fight last year when it would have been a unification bout. Instead, Berto (27-1, 21 KOs) fought Ortiz and lost, and now the network has approved Zaveck-Berto, DiBella said.
DiBella said he was just beginning to work on finding a site for the bout.
DiBella said that knockout artist Randall Bailey (41-7, 36 KOs) -- the mandatory challenger for the Zaveck-Berto winner, who stepped aside to allow the fight to take place -- will fight on the untelevised undercard. DiBella, who also promotes Bailey, said the Zaveck-Berto winner would next face him if he wins his undercard bout.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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