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Berto, Ortiz rekindle classic battle

CARSON, Calif. (AP) – Andre Berto’s first meeting with Victor Ortiz was among the most thrilling fights in recent years, a back-and-forth brawl with multiple knockdowns and dramatic momentum swings over 12 crazy rounds.
And neither fighter has really been the same since.

They’re both hoping to regain their career momentum by recapturing that magic in their rematch Saturday night.

“Berto is coming in 100 miles an hour to take my head off, and it’s the same thing on my end,” Ortiz said. “We’re prepared fully for one another, so it’s definitely (going to be) one of those memorable fights.”

Berto (30-4, 23 KOs) and Ortiz (31-5-2, 23 KOs) will meet in the famed outdoor ring at StubHub Center in front of a national television audience. It’s a fitting stage for a matchup of two crowd-pleasing welterweights with a history of drama and tumult in both their careers and their lives.

Their 2011 fight didn’t lack for drama. Berto, the unbeaten WBC 147-pound champion at the time, was dropped in the first round by Ortiz, who went down in the second round himself.

They knocked each other down in a wild sixth round. Ortiz lost a point late for hitting behind the head, but he still piled up enough rounds to win a narrow but solid decision on all three cards, putting the first blemish on Berto’s record.

“This is a fight that, of course, I’ve always thought to myself that no matter what happens, we’ve got to make it happen again,” Berto said.

Ortiz used the victory to get a lucrative fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who knocked him out in the first of three consecutive losses. He is 2-3 since beating Berto, struggling with injuries along the way.

Ortiz has begun an acting career, but he insists he isn’t back in the ring just for the money. He wants another championship belt.

“I keep getting offers for movies, and I keep turning them down because boxing is where I’m headed,” Ortiz said.