Bryan Armen Graham
Monday March 19th, 2012

Victor Ortiz (left), who ran the L.A. Marathon on Sunday in a personal-best time, fights a return bout with Andre Berto (right) on June 23. (AP)

Victor Ortiz returned to action Sunday for the first time since September's knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather -- but it wasn't in the prize ring.

The former WBC welterweight champion completed the Los Angeles Marathon in a personal-best three hours, 27 minutes, finishing among the top third of an estimated 30,000 starters.

"It was such great fun running with all these world class marathoners," Ortiz said. "I know that made me run better than ever. In many ways it couldn't be any more different that boxing. I mean nobody is punching you in the nose, the gut, the kidneys and on the chin and up the side of your head.

"But in other ways doing this very much relates to boxing. Conditioning the lungs, the legs and building endurance. That's why all fighters do road work. But 26-plus miles is something else."

The Ventura, Calif., native is scheduled to face Andre Berto on June 23 in a rematch of last year's crowd-pleasing title fight, a split-decision win for Ortiz. That triumph vaulted Ortiz into a pay-per-view showdown with Mayweather in September, when he lost his title on a fourth-round knockout.

"I won't say going 12 three-minute championship rounds is easy," Ortiz said. "Anything but. But Berto must know how prepared I'll be when he hears I ran this well three months before our fight. I'm very happy."

Ortiz's manager, Rolando Arellano, also participated but injured his knee and said he'll require surgery.

"Victor would have finished even faster if he didn't lay back with me during the early miles," Arellano said. "When I insisted go get it and don't worry about me, he took off like he had rockets in his shoes."

Arellano did finish the race eventually.

"Rolando is a bulldog," Ortiz said. "He finished the marathon hurt knee and all ... in eight hours."

-- Bryan Armen Graham

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