Victor Ortiz Outshines Andre Berto in Upset

by Peter Owen Nelson
 Photo: Will Hart

In the locker room after defeating Andre Berto for the WBC title, Victor Ortiz's manager Rolando Arellano informed his fighter, draped in his new green belt, "Victor, this belt goes back to Andre. It is symbolic. Yours will get made and will arrive in a few weeks."

Ortiz (29-2-2) stopped smiling for the second time since he put on the belt in the ring of the MGM Theater in Mashantucket, CT.

"That's bullshit. I was going to sleep with this belt tonight," said Ortiz after a thrilling unanimous decision win (115-110, 114-112, and 114-111) that included four knockdowns split between the boxer-punchers.

After some haggling with a WBC representative, it was agreed Ortiz could hold onto the belt for the night.

The first time Ortiz stopped smiling in the locker room it was to cry, as he embraced his foster mother and father, who had arrived from Garden City, Kansas, to see their son fight as a professional for the first time. Ortiz, who spent parts of his childhood homeless and eventually adopted his own brother to get him out of foster homes, announced to the room of friends and coaches through his tears, "These two are my mother and father. They raised me." Ortiz's mother, Sharon Ford, then said, "We always told Victor that when he fought for a world title we would be there. Here we are."

Ortiz had been a 4-1 underdog, and ever polite he told the collected media at his press conference, "I want to apologize if I ruined anyone's plans." (Berto was taken to the hospital and could not attend the conference.)

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