Josesito Lopez and Andre Berto share a history with Victor Ortiz

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In the Six Degrees of the 147-Pound Division, you could trace any contender’s lineage back to someone like Sugar Ray Leonard if you wanted to, but you only need one step to put Andre Berto and Josesito Lopez together: Victor Ortiz.

Josesito Lopez and Victor Ortiz

Josesito Lopez takes a shot at Victor Ortiz during their 2012 fight at Los Angeles' Staples Center.

Sandwiched around Vicious Victor’s rumble with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Ortiz fought Berto in 2011 and Lopez in 2012, making him a potential measuring stick for each fighter as they prepare to square off March 13 on Premier Boxing Champions’ first Spike TV card, airing from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.

Berto took on Ortiz in what became an instant classic when they met up in April 2011 at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Ortiz knocked Berto down in the first round, and Berto came right back to put Ortiz on the mat in the second. Then, in the explosive sixth, Berto knocked down Ortiz a second time.

Smelling blood in the water, Berto came right at Ortiz after the count, but Ortiz managed to hang on until catching Berto with a left that put him down for his second trip to the canvas.

The bout earned The Ring's Fight of the Year honors, though Berto lost a unanimous decision.

“We learn from every fight,” Lopez said. “His loss against Ortiz means nothing for me facing Berto. Styles make fights. I expect a tough fight with Berto.”

Lopez, the underdog coming into the fight, found himself behind on all three judges’ cards coming into the ninth round. But he erased the deficit in one shot: a nasty left hook that caught Ortiz squarely on the jaw.

So squarely, Lopez broke Ortiz’s jaw with the shot. He couldn’t answer the bell for the 10th round, and Lopez walked away the victor.

Just like Lopez, though, Berto isn’t placing a lot of stock in that fight in regard to the upcoming bout.

“It was a fight that I believe Ortiz tried to take lightly, and Lopez came to fight. You can’t take anyone lightly, and he got caught with a shot,” Berto said. “I believed, and most everyone believed, Ortiz was winning the fight until he got stopped, and he got caught with a shot. It is what it is.”

(And, if you’re playing Six Degrees of Sugar Ray: Berto and Lopez both fought Ortiz, who fought Mayweather, who beat Oscar De La Hoya, who faced Hector Camacho, who was Leonard’s last fight before retirement.)

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