NEW YORK, NY (April 4, 2011) – Last Thursday’s media conference call featured World Boxing Council (“WBC”) Welterweight Champion Andre Berto and WBC #5 rated title challenger “Vicious” Victor Ortiz in advance of their “East-West Showdown” event on April 16 from the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods, airing live on HBO World Championship Boxing. Also on the call were Berto’s promoter Lou DiBella, the promoter of the event, and trainer Tony Morgan, as well as Ortiz’s promoter Richard Schaefer and adviser Rolando Arellano.
WBC Welterweight World Champion, Andre Berto: “I caught the end of his conference call. It seems they were gassing him up at camp. April 16th is going to be a reality check for him. They’ve been lying to him at training camp thinking this is going to be an easy fight. The ring is a really cold place to find out that. Like he said, the fight won’t go the distance, only it’s going to come out on our side.”
“I feel I’ll always get a little criticism. A lot of people believe in my skills and potential. I’m fighting Victor Ortiz. I’m going in with a guy with a lot of speed and power. He’s going to bring some action and try to prove himself. At the end of the day I don’t listen to criticism. You need balls to step in the ring against anybody. I’m comfortable in myself and my true fans believe.”
“Victor Ortiz is a big guy, physically bigger than I am. He’s a competitive fighter, one I’m looking forward to fighting. I don’t listen to what others say, I’m staying focused on the fight.”
“Luis Collazo is a tough veteran. I’m my end I wasn’t in shape like I was supposed tp. That’s a mistake fighters on the rise go on and don’t take (fights) as seriously as some. It almost cost me the fight. I made that fight tough. Luis Collazo is tough, give him credit.”
“I saw different pieces of it (Ortiz vs. Peterson). Victor Ortiz is a good kid and can fight. He is limited in a lot of areas. He’s trying to box but needs to be set on his feet to throw punches. He’s a tough kid. Lamont Peterson, later in the fight, hit him with a lot of tough shots. If I had hit him like that, he probably would go to sleep. He definitely comes to fight.”
“Skills pay the bills. I can out-power him; I can out-skill him. Any way it goes. What showed in the Maidana fight, maybe he feels that he has a lot more to prove and he’s willing to die to prove it. I have a heart of a lion – where it comes from, how I’m built. There’s no question about my heart. I have to question his on everything from one situation, when he had to endure controversy – he didn’t like to crack back. At the end of the day, you can’t teach what beats in the chest. You either have it – heart – or you don’t.”
“I’m not sure. All of my focus is on fight night. I don’t see past this fight. All my energy and training I’ve put into this fight in a couple of weeks. “
“I’m feeling sharp. It’s always different going in against a southpaw. It’s been going well and now I’m hurting southpaws anytime, almost second nature. There should be no problem at all.
“I try to stay sharp in there — he needs to stay in shape as well, he knows I can take him out with one punch — not get lazy and make every move a smart move.”
“I’ve been sparring big guys my whole life, 160-165, some 170. I don’t think he’s stringer than guys I’ve been in there with. Juan Urango was the hardest puncher at 140. I’m looking forward (to fighting Ortiz) to see what all the hype’s about.”
“He has a lot of different weaknesses. He’s been a puncher trying to box. I don’t think he has it all done, yet. April 16th I’ll use all my skills to expose him.”
“A lot of guys predicting ask him how he’s going to handle my power. Let’s see how he handles real power. I got caught early in my career – my hand just hit the canvas – and I got aggressive. I didn’t quit, I got aggressive.”
“I think he’s a tough kid. It’s hard to say because I haven’t been in the ring with him. I can answer that after the fight. How do you figure his competition (is high level)? I fought Collazo, Urango and (Carlos) Quintana who beat Paul Williams. They say the fighters I’ve fought are a lower level of competition. I won’t get credit that I deserve (after the Ortiz fight). I just keep knocking guys out. Talk doesn’t make a difference. Every time I step in with ‘em I’ll make it look like that (easy).”
“I don’t care. The last 27 opponents were guys who were going to knock me out, take me into deep water and drown me, I was too young, I make mistakes. Maybe Victor Ortiz took a class that tricks you into thinking something else. If he does, fine; it’ll be a better fight but shorter fight.”
“It’s the name of the game, I love it. Victor Ortiz can say what he wants. The macho Mexican thing, or his team hyping him up. April 16th he knows he’ll be in with the truth. Once I beat him he’ll see his friends disappear. A lot of kids have to go through that.”
“They’re making a mistake if they’re watching the Collazo fight. It was close but I wasn’t prepared mentally or physically. It was the worst I’ll ever look. I’ve had tremendous sparring, non-stop, getting familiar with his style – southpaw angles – mentally getting prepared for those punches.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of credit but there’s been a lot downplayed. The boxing public, in general, just wants an exciting, young fighter against the No. 1 guy instead of a credible opponent. They want to see me fight the Mayweathers and Pacquiao but, until that happens, they say, OK, you were supposed to win. I can’t get upset. At first I didn’t understand but I’ve grown up in front of fans fighting on HBO since my 16th or 17th fight. It’s like watching a student in the ninth grade go to the 12th to see how they tackle the world. I’m focused on April 16th, handle that and then see what happens.”
“It only matters if you win. Victor Ortiz was the new Fernando Vargas, promoted by Golden Boy with a Spanish background. Then he lost. They turned their backs on him. The only thing that matters is he’s coming to fight (Apr. 16).”
“My big fight is April 16th on HBO. I’m fighting a young, hungry lion. I’ve been calling these guys (Mayweather and Pacquiao) out: been there, done that. I can’t keep yelling out there names after each fight. Same thing with Donaire and Martinez, Who do you want to fight, Mayweather or Pacquiao? I’ll keep dominating the guys in front of me. All the barking, as you see, really doesn’t get the business done. If they want to fight you, they’ll fight you.”
World Title Challenger, “Vicious” Victor Ortiz: “I’m doing quite well and prepared. Nothing has been easy at camp. I know where I’m going and what I’m about. I must be champion and I will be champion. Berto has been talked about as the next thing. I don’t agree. April 16th I must and will bring back the belt.”
“Not much has been different. I’ve always made weight easy at 140. When everybody runs from you at 140, you go up to 147, and I shot for the top of the line, Andre Berto.”
“I stepped out of my shell. For me, it’s not to be good or to be great; it’s excellence. It’s my time!”
“It’s normal for me (gaining 16 pounds between the weigh in and fight). More eyes were on me, so people noticed (last fight). I was one of the biggest threats at 140.”
“I want to be the best fighter. I want to be great.”
“Berto was the only one to give me a shot. I didn’t come up to fight at 147. I just want my belt.”
(draw vs. Lamont Peterson) “Total bull s**t. That’s in the past. I’m focused on fighting the best 147 pounder in the world. You can talk about Peterson all you want, call him. I thought it was complete bull.”
“In my heart and mind, I won that. Obviously, during the show I didn’t show any pain to the media or fans, but in the locker room it hit me and I cried. It’s a new day, new camp; out with the old and in with the new WBC Welterweight Champion of the world.”
“I’m going to be crowned, no matter what. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been here a while and finally they’re going to give me a shot. It’s my time! Winning The Ring title definitely is important to me because it shows I’m the best in the world.”
(about Marcos Rene Maidana) “He’s running left and right, dodging me. He sees me in his nightmares. When he gets the courage and comes out of the closet, he can meet me at 147.”
“I just listen to my corner. I always do and had just one slip-up against Maidana. That’s the difference between then and now. If Maidana want to end his career, he should move up to 147.”
“I’m ready for whatever comes my way, not dodging or putting anyone aside.”
“Mike Tyson once said, ‘Everybody has a plan until they get hit.’ He says he has power, so do I; he says he has speed, so do I. I’m not expecting less than the green belt coming home with me.”
“I will do whatever it takes to take that green belt home with me.”
“You say I haven’t fought a puncher. Maidana was considered the toughest puncher at 140 and 147 and he couldn’t put me down. Berto hasn’t been hit by someone like me. He’ll see April 16th.”
“April 16th, see it all. April 16th is the day on HBO.”
“I’m not going to be the gatekeeper (at 140). I’m fighting at 147 and I’ll be the king there. Everybody had their chance at 140.”
“How is he Berto going to deal with my speed and power? I’m going to listen to my corner.”
President of DiBella Entertainment & Berto’s Promoter , Lou DiBella: “We call this ‘East-West-Showdown’ and it’s going to be a terrific fight of different styles between two of the most exciting young fighters. We’re expecting both guys to bring it for an explosive fights, which is what fight fans want to watch. They’re going to get that April 16th at Foxwoods. I want to thank Foxwoods for taking this fight. Tickets are moving fairly quick, considering we got off to a little late start.
“Tickets are $350, $200, $125, and $65 and on sale on line at www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, by calling the MGM Grand at Foxwoods at 1-866-646-0609, or at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods box office. I’d like to thank HBO for televising this great fight that they wanted and we’re giving to them.”
“I think it’s great to have Victor showing up confident and talking about hurting the champ. He won’t’ and he won’t win. It’s good because it’ll make an explosive fight.”
“This is his (Berto’s) most difficult fight. Fight fans wanted it, HBO wanted it. We wanted bigger fights but, if we can’t make those fights, what are we supposed to do? Victor Ortiz has never been less than 156 the night of a fight. He’s probably bigger than Andre. This is not a welterweight going against a 140 pounder. That’s 100-percent BS. Like Berto said, we can’t control what people think.”
“Victor can say what he wants but gaining 16 pounds in 24 hours isn’t normal. He moved up because he had to. He could probably get down to 140 for the right fight just like Andre Berto would to up to 154 for the right fight. He has no intention of fighting again at 140. He’ll weigh 156 in the ring. He is a welterweight.”
“We need to make fights like this. Fans and the media have been receptive. Now you need to give people what they wasn’t and we will April 16th. We always try to make the best fights. The best fighter in the world, Floyd Mayweather, is not available. When was the last time Manny Pacquiao fought a fighter? He’s been protected. Bob Arum will not put him in a fight like that if he’s making money. There’s been an issue trying to make a fight against Cotto. Mosley was going to fight Berto except for the Haiti tragedy. He got an opportunity to fight Pacquiao for much bigger money. Outside of Mayweather, Pacquiao and Berto there’s not as much talent at 147. That’s the same problem Sergio Martinez is encountering at 160.”
CEO of Golden Boy Promotions & Ortiz’s Promoter, Richard Schaefer: “I want to thank Team Berto for taking this fight. There’s no question, no doubt, that it’s the most dangerous fight ever for Berto. I want to thank Al Haymon and HBO for getting this great show. I’ve been on a press tour for Pascal/Hopkins and I’ve heard very positive feedback from the media and fans about this fight. It’s exciting and people have a chance to see it for $65. That’s amazing for a world championship fight at Foxwoods. If not, turn on HBO on April 16th.
“I googled ‘vicious’ and it said ‘able to inflict pain or suffering’ and that’s what he is capable of and will be doing April 16. Those in the media who know Victor will know that he’s hungry again, to prove what he is all about. I know we will have a new world welterweight champion April 16th. He has set his heart on it and will deliver. He is in the middle of training in Oxnard with his team.”
“If you think you know Victor, or have been around him, this is a different Victor Ortiz – the confidence, the speed, the youth. They will all make the difference April 16th live on HBO.”
Berto’s Trainer, Tony Morgan: “I can see why Victor didn’t want to be on the conference call with us. He got hot with Maidana and wanted a way out. I wish the kid luck. I hope he doesn’t get hurt but we have a job to do April 16th.”
“I’ve watched Victor Ortiz and he’s a lot of in and out. His main strength is his right jab, strong left. One-two, pretty complacent. He hits hard and has hurt a lot of people with that one-two. We’ve adjusted. Victor’s not going to handle the speed we’re bringing to the table. He wants to bang and prove he’s not shot and he’s got heart. The last few guys he’s fought couldn’t punch. Lamont Peterson touched him a few times and he started running. If he thinks Maidana is a strong puncher, he doesn’t hit as hard as Andre Berto.”
Ortiz’s adviser, Rolando Arellano: “It’s important to thank Lou DiBella and, more importantly, Andre Berto for giving our team an opportunity of a lifetime for Victor Ortiz. We understand Andre Berto is one of the best out there and respect him more than some of the media. Victor Ortiz has trained like never before. He is taking it to the next level and will bring it all into the ring April 16th.”
“The night of the Lamont Peterson fight, he came in at 156 pounds on the HBO scale, and gaining 16 pounds was an indication to Team Ortiz and Oscar de la Hoya that Victor Ortiz would tackle the challenge at a higher weight class. Instead of taking an easier fight at 147, Victor looked to the biggest and the best challenge and that was Andre Berto. If they stood next to each other, you’d see that Victor is the naturally bigger guy, and younger guy. He will make you believe.”
“East-West Showdown: Berto vs. Ortiz” is presented by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Golden Boy Promotions. The bout will be televised live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing starting at 9:45 PM/ET 6:45 PM/PT. The broadcast kicks off with Amir “King” Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) defending his WBA Super Lightweight World Title against Paul “Dudley” McCloskey (22-0, 12 KOs) from the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England.
Tickets are priced at $350, $200, $125, and $65 and on sale through the MGM Grand at Foxwoods box office. Tickets can be purchased online at www.mgmatfoxwoods.com, by calling the MGM Grand at Foxwoods at 1-866-646-0609, or in person at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods box office.
For information about DiBella Entertainment, including a list of all upcoming bouts, please visit www.dbe1.com, or follow Lou DiBella on twitter, @loudibella.
For information on Golden Boy Promotions, visit www.goldenboypromotions.com, on twitter @GoldenBoyBoxing or Victor Ortiz @VICIOUSOrtiz.
Follow HBO Boxing news at www.hbo.com/boxing and on twitter @hboboxing.