Showtime gets Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto

Former welterweight titleholders Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto, whose first thrilling slugfest in April was one of the best fights of the year, will do it again.

The fight, which has been in discussion for the past few weeks, will take place at a site to be determined either Jan. 28 or Feb. 11, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

The rematch being made is not much of a surprise -- it's the most lucrative fight available for both men. However, what is a major stunner is that the fight will be televised on Showtime, rather than rival HBO, which aired the first bout and has invested millions into the careers of Berto and Ortiz, putting on all of their notable fights over the past several years.

Showtime bought the fight for $2.25 million, according to a source involved in the match, which was considerably more than HBO's initial offer of $1.75 million and just $100,000 more than HBO's final offer of $2.15 million, the same amount it paid for the first bout.

Lou DiBella, Berto's promoter, would not confirm the figures, but acknowledged that Showtime had bought the fight and was the highest bidder.

"Showtime's offer was the highest in the marketplace," DiBella told ESPN.com on Thursday night. "It's good to know that they're in the game and that a fight of this quality had interest from both networks. Competition in the marketplace is a good thing. As Andre Berto's promoter, I am very grateful for the loyalty and investment HBO made in Berto over the years, and I know Andre is also."

Many assumed that the fight would go to HBO, so it going to Showtime signals a major change in the landscape of the boxing business and represents a big splash for Stephen Espinoza, who made this the first fight he bought on his watch as the new executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports.

Espinoza -- the former attorney for Golden Boy Promotions, Ortiz's promoter -- was hired by Showtime on Nov. 14 to replace Ken Hershman, who left Showtime to take over as president of HBO Sports, a job he won't begin until Jan. 9.

Ortiz and Berto shifting networks could signal a big shakeup in where boxing's top talent fights, with boxers from the stables of Golden Boy and powerful adviser Al Haymon, who handles Berto and has numerous fighters with Golden Boy, moving to Showtime.

There has also been talk of other fighters moving from HBO to Showtime, including junior middleweight contender James Kirkland, a Golden Boy fighter, and junior middleweight Paul Williams, who is advised by Haymon.

Wherever Berto and Ortiz meet again, it figures to be another exciting fight between two of the sport's young stars.

"The first fight was one of the best, most crowd-pleasing fights of the year and it's the best thing for boxing fans that it's going to happen again in 2012," DiBella said. "This fight represents a good start to the year for Showtime, although I believe HBO made a good faith offer to get the fight."

In their first memorable battle, Ortiz and Berto slugged it out April 16 at the Foxwoods resort in Mashantucket, Conn. They both were knocked down twice -- including both of them hitting the canvas in the wild sixth round. Ortiz ultimately won a unanimous decision to take Berto's version of the 147-pound title.

On Sept. 3, Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) returned to stop Jan Zaveck in the fifth round to win another slice of the welterweight title while Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) lost the belt he had claimed from Berto on Sept. 17 when Floyd Mayweather Jr. knocked him out in the fourth round.

Saddled with a mandatory defense against Randall Bailey that neither HBO nor Showtime were interested in buying -- and wanting to avenge his lone professional loss -- Berto vacated his title earlier this month, paving the way for the rematch with Ortiz.

"This is something the people want and I want as well," Berto told ESPN.com on Thursday night. "I gave up a world title for this to happen. You know how serious this is for me. I've been with HBO my whole career but Showtime stepped up to the plate money-wise to have it. Surprised HBO didn't, but this is a business. So I am just looking forward (to) bringing the people the best fight possible to jump off the 2012 year with a bang."

Dan Rafael is the senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.