Andre Berto’s bout with Victor Ortiz is canceled

They’re falling like flies within Team Berto.

The worst news is that Andre Berto sustained an injury to his left biceps Monday that forced the cancellation of his eagerly anticipated Feb. 11 welterweight bout in Las Vegas against Victor Ortiz.

But Berto’s promoter, Lou DiBella, also was injured Monday with a concussion. DiBella sustained the injury when he slipped in the shower and slammed his head.

“I had no equilibrium,” said DiBella, who spent a night in a New York hospital. “I kept falling and couldn’t get up.”

Surgery is still a question mark for Andre Berto (R), who injured his left biceps Monday.
(AP)

Berto may yet need surgery, though that has not been determined. Promoters are hoping to reschedule the bout, a rematch of one of 2011’s most exciting matches, when Berto recovers.

DiBella said Tuesday he didn’t think Berto’s injury “is a 6-to-8-months kind of a thing,” though he conceded he was awaiting further information from Berto’s doctors.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said, “It looks like he will require surgery,” though Berto got a second opinion Tuesday. Whether the fight will be rescheduled, he said, depends on Berto’s recovery time.

“There are injury provisions in the contract and if he would be ready to go in a reasonable time period, we would see if we could zoom in on a date in an attempt to reschedule it,” Schaefer said. “But if the injury was more extensive than we thought, or if the surgery is more complicated and he’d be out an extended period of time, we’d have to go in a different direction.”

One potential option would be to pit Ortiz against former super lightweight champion Amir Khan. Khan had been pursuing a rematch against Lamont Peterson, but Peterson has apparently agreed with Top Rank on a two-fight deal in which he’d fight a tune-up on a card with Juan Manuel Marquez in March, then meet Marquez in a main event this summer at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Schaefer said, “Khan-Victor would be a great fight, for sure,” but he would not speak specifically of his plans because of concerns about Top Rank CEO Bob Arum attempting to scuttle them.

“I don’t believe in discussing who I’m negotiating or who I’m talking to or who I’m not in the media because, unfortunately, the knucklehead in Las Vegas is trying to screw everything up,” Schaefer said. “You know who I’m talking about [Arum]. I’ll refrain from making any comments until I have signed contracts and something firm to announce.”

Schaefer said he’s talking to his matchmaker, Eric Gomez, about finding spots on other Golden Boy cards for the fighters who were on the Ortiz-Berto undercard.

Hooks and jabs

• It appears almost certain that Timothy Bradley, the World Boxing Organization super lightweight champion, will face Manny Pacquiao on June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas and not at the much talked about outdoor stadium.

• Expect Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s opponent to be announced during his hearing Wednesday in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission. Mayweather must appear in front of the body to explain his involvement in a domestic violence case, to which he pleaded guilty in December to a misdemeanor. Schaefer said he’d tell the commission on Wednesday who Mayweather plans to fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand.

• If I had to bet, I’d still guess that Mayweather still fights Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, though Miguel Cotto can’t be discounted as an opponent.

• HBO Sports is planning a boxing magazine television show that will be hosted by Jim Lampley. It hasn’t been announced but will likely begin in the spring.

• HBO also is going to debut a new feature Saturday before the doubleheader featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. called, “2 Days: Portrait of a Fighter.” It will be a 15-minute profile of ex-lightweight champion Brandon Rios in the two days prior to his Dec. 3 fight against John Murray. The same type of feature will be done on James Kirkland prior to HBO’s Feb. 25 show.

• Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was elected to the WWE Hall of Fame on Monday, putting him in both the boxing hall and the wrestling hall. Congratulations, Mike.

Readers Always Write

Make the top guys fight

I was looking over the Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound Top 10 recently. Do you ever remember a time where there were more top-10 fighters this close in weight? Seven of the 10 could actually fight. I know, I am a dreamer, but how great a world would it be where the top boxers actually fight in the ring? What would fans argue about?

Chris Boisvert
Beverly, Mass.

I would love to see the guys fight each other regularly. I couldn’t agree more. If the top guys fought each other regularly, and fought more often, it would be better for all concerned. They’d make more money, the fans would see better fights and the fighters would become bigger names and could earn more in non-boxing income. TV networks would benefit from increased ratings by having the top guys on more often. Alas, I don’t think the business is going to change that dramatically.

Prove you’re not on PEDs

Doesn’t the fact that Manny Pacquiao jumped two weight classes seem to add some evidence to the theory that he is on some type of performance-enhancing drug? I’m not saying he is, but I think the media should start putting some pressure on him to prove that he isn’t.

Sean Cook
Cincinnati

Sean, do you know how ludicrous that sounds? That’s one of the most inane things I’ve heard in a while. How does he prove a negative – that he’s NOT doing something? He’s passed every post-fight urinalysis that he’s taken. He agreed to take the random blood and urine testing that Floyd Mayweather Jr. requested. People get bigger as they age. Pacquiao debuted as a 16 year old. Mayweather was the same weight when he was 16, but Mayweather was an amateur and Pacquiao was a pro. This has gotten to be ridiculous. Guys go up in weight all the time. Thomas Hearns went from 144 to 191 in his career. Roberto Duran went from 119 to 176. People grow. It happens.

Keep Manny and Floyd active

If you threw Floyd and Manny against five or six stiffs once a month leading up to a big fight, that would generate so much interest in the sport. Even if the guys fighting them were a bunch of tomato cans, it would show the people how dominant these guys really are. It would be like the old WWF dynamic. Have Hulk Hogan dominate a few stiffs on network TV and then have a big PPV for WrestleMania. For guys like Manny and Floyd, sparring is tougher than what these fights would be. It would be just like training: no danger of losing and they could showcase it on TV and make money and get more exposure.

Bo

Bo, I don’t want to see them fight total stiffs because someone could be injured, but I’d like to see them against second-tier, top-10 guys. I think that’s a reasonable compromise. The problem is, Mayweather and Pacquiao make so much that they don’t have to fight more than once or twice a year. It’s a pipe dream to think they’d do otherwise, though it would be fun to see it happen.

Quoteworthy

“[Bob] Arum said he likes to let fights marinate, but in this day and age, the public and the TV executives are demanding exciting, main-event fights. You heard Arum say he wanted to let the [Yuriorkis] Gamboa against [Juanma] Lopez fight marinate, and look what happened: Lopez lost and the fight never happened. We need to get back to putting the best fights on that we can at all times and forget this notion of waiting to see what happens.” – Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.

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Kevin Iole covers boxing and mixed martial arts for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Kevin a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012