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In a fight dubbed "Battle in Biloxi" Slovenian welterweight Jan Zaveck was forced to give up his IBF title to twenty-seven year old Andre Berto when his corner men ruled him unfit to continue. After the fifth round of the fight, Zaveck walked over to his corner with a giant cut on his right eye and another open above his left.  He was visibly upset with the decision to quit, however his team did the right thing. Zaveck's eyes were starting to look like squashed grapes. Now, title-less and recovering from his injuries, he has only one thing on his mind; a rematch.

For Berto, this win was essential. The two-time National Golden Gloves winner had long been a boxing media darling in America until a unanimous decision lost him his WBC title to Victor Ortiz, the man who right now is preparing to fight Floyd Mayweather. The Berto-Ortiz fight was thrilling and for many a fight of the year candidate. Berto doesn't take any consolation in this. Since the fight, his popularity has been at an all-time low, and he is seen as a flawed fighter. He had something to prove against Zaveck.

The unknown man Jan Zaveck
Zaveck suffers from a similar problem with the boxing media, except rather than a loss in popularity, he has never had it to begin with. He doesn't have much acclaim in the USA or UK at all. Despite holding the IBF Welterweight title since December 2009, before this fight was announced his name was never heard of by many followers of the sport. He was a champion who had to get by without any of the glory, and this upset him. It has always been a dream of his to be mentioned up there with the best of his division, as he says in his callout video:
“All respect to Pacman, Mayweather, Cotto, Berto. But gentlemen, I am also here.”
He is intensely proud of his Slovenian nationality and his role as the Slovenian boxing ambassador. It is not a country known for its boxing success, and in fact Jan Zaveck is the only Slovenian to ever hold a boxing world title. The five foot seven fighter sees it as his personal mission to raise the stakes of Slovenian boxing, and make it a nation that produces quality fighters and lucrative matches. To achieve this, Zaveck was thinking big. He said:
“Facing the best fighters in the USA was my long-time challenge.”
The clock is ticking and Zaveck is on the wrong side of thirty. Time is running out for him to face the top guys in his division. This is why the Berto fight was so important for Zaveck; he doesn't get to have a dress rehearsal. He has every right to argue that he did not fluff his lines but was just unlucky. The fact is, he was looking good in the fight until the cuts and there was every chance he could have retained his title. As Zaveck said:

"I was saving energy for the second half of the fight. If this injury hadn't happened, it would have been a very good match."
Will Zaveck get a rematch? 
Zaveck's motives for a rematch are easy for anyone to understand. The likeliness of him getting one is a different story. The only case I can see in Zaveck's favour is what he himself said:

“First I need to heal, then I hope Andre keeps his word to me”

Unfortunately, all roads for Andre Berto lead away from Zaveck. Most importantly, Berto has his own boxing motives and goals. The Jan Zaveck fight was just an “in” for the Miami born fighter; he needed to beat a quality opponent to re-establish his titlist credibility. Zaveck was absolutely perfect for this. Not only did beating the Slovenian get Berto his credibility back, but it gave him a shiny belt to go with it. Now that he has this, he has already forgotten Zaveck. He wants to go after Victor Ortiz. ESPN reported Berto saying:

"I'm focused. I'm ready. I'm hungry. Victor Ortiz, we definitely want to do it again."

What next for Zaveck if a rematch doesn’t happen?
For Zaveck, this is upsetting news. It means he could potentially join that unfortunate list of champions who faded into obscurity after losing their belts. There is always the possibility that at thirty five years old he will not have the heart to face the rocky back journey to another title shot. The Berto fight could defeat him in more ways than one.

On the other hand, there are still options for him. Physically he seems ok, as despite the age gap between him and Berto he showed no signs of slowing down. With a bit of recovery time he could be back in action quite soon providing the opponents are there. His promoters would need to land him someone worthwhile though. I would suggest Viacheslav Senchnko, the Donetsk born WBA world champion. It is a fight Zaveck could definitely win and as an added bonus, Senchenko prefers to fight in Europe.

My feeling is that Zaveck will not get his rematch with Berto. If the promise was even made, it would have been in the heat of the moment. Although a man should be accountable for the promises he makes, Berto won't feel he has made a contract here. I do not, however, think Zaveck will retire. The man has a lot of courage, and with this fight he has gained a lot of respect from boxing fans all over the world. He would be foolish to give in now, right when he is more popular than he has ever been. And Jan Zaveck is no fool. Expect to see more from him soon.