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Berto says sparring with Ward helped him with Ortiz fight

Andre Berto Andre Ward Victor OrtizBy Allan Fox: Andre Berto (31-4, 24 KOs) tuned his career around last Saturday night with a fourth round knockout win over his old nemesis Victor Ortiz (31-6-2, 24 KOs) in their rematch at the DC Armory in Washington, DC.

A loss for Berto in this fight would have removed any chance of him getting a crack at WBC 147lb world champion Danny Garcia, and it might have did his career in. The improvement that Berto made in his skills came from his hard work in sparring with former WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward, who shares the same trainer as him in Virgil Hunter out of Hayward, California.

Berto says the sparring sessions he had with the light heavyweight Ward helped him a lot. Berto also trained with bigger sparring partners to get him ready for the rematch with Ortiz.

“I knew as soon as I landed that,” Berto said to the media bout the right hand uppercut he knocked Ortiz down for the first knockdown of the 4th. “I was catching my sparring partners with that in camp and it was trouble then. Just to see him getting up. I just went for the kill. I wasn’t going to let him off the hook after that. The sun was in my eyes and then the punch came and knocked me off my feet,” Berto said about his 2nd round knockdown. “I knew he was going to have to push for that. I wanted to press him. I wanted to see if he was here to fight for real because I was going to press him every round. Me and Andre [Ward] trained together a lot, and I sparred with him a lot as well. He’s so methodical with everything he does. He’s very sharp, but he continues to let me know, ‘Listen, you’re faster than me, you can crack, and I’m 175 pounds. You’re just so athletic. You have natural ability, more than me. All you got to do is utilize some things.’ Hell, yeah, he landed on me. He didn’t pull no punches. If I’m slacking, he’s going to let me know quick and let me know hard. My sparring partners for the camp were 168, 160 and 175, because we thought he was going to press me out like he did the first time but that wasn’t the case. I was ready for whatever he tried to bring tonight. As soon as I landed it, I knew it would be a problem,” said Berto.

If the sparring with Ward helped Berto turn his career around, then he could be a real problem for WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia if the two of them face each other this year. Right now, Garcia is interested in taking the fight with Berto.

We haven’t seen Garcia show the same kind of interest in fighting some of the other top welterweights. Garcia likely feels he can beat Berto. But if Berto is now better than he ever was before, then he’s going to be a nightmare for Garcia. Berto is still young at 32, and can punch with excellent power and has nice hand speed. It would be impressive if Berto can beat Garcia and then move forward to bigger and better things.


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