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Vergil Ortiz Jr., The Star Comes Home

Vergil Ortiz Jr. was once an unassuming prospect fighting in the first or second bout of the evening on Golden Boy Promotion cards. I first saw him the day before Canelo fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on an undercard bout that Yuriorkis Gamboa get stopped by Robinson Castellanos in the main event. Well, a lot has changed since then as Ortiz is now a star-in-the-making.

Ortiz has won all thirteen of his bouts via knockout, and the press, as well as fans, have taken notice as he has done it with increasingly better opposition. Normally, a synergy between fans and critics, are never met well, look at the reaction by the fans to “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, for example. Though writers have an obligation to explain up-and-coming fighters to the fans, it at times can almost come off as trying too hard, when fighters get major pushes from media outlets based mostly upon obscurity and quality wins, kind-of the ‘know-it-all stereotype that makes most fans blindly dislike a fighter.

Ortiz is the exception in which he has won the fans over with great performances as well as the media wondering what his ceiling could be, with the lingering thought of a generational great being in the talks.

“If I were to describe myself, it would be that I adjust. I use my head more than my muscles. There’s a lot of fighters who go in just throwing bombs, and it doesn’t look good. If you want to look good, you have to use your brain. You have to place your punches right, and that’s who I am.” said Ortiz at a Los Angeles, Ca based media day in preparation for this fight.

Ortiz has it all and with a decorated amateur career. His lone outlier performance being his use of the shoulder roll in a losing effort to Ryan Garcia in the amateurs. Great fighters don’t just come out of nowhere as he is a three-time silver gloves national champion and won the U.S. nationals once under the age of seventeen, making him a four-time national champion.

Yet, Ortiz now has his toughest test to date, Antonio “Relentless” Orozco, a solid 140 lber, who just fought and lost to WBC super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez, Ortiz’s stablemate at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy. Ortiz, who last stopped Mauricio Herrera needs a win over a legit contender, as Herrera is heading down from apex mountain at this point, enter Orozco as Ortiz gets himself ready for launch to the spaceship that is seemingly all, but ready to take off with his name on it.

As a professional, this will be his first time coming home, and though to fans at home, this might not mean a lot, for the young fighter, who has done everything right, this is a dream come true.

“It means a lot to fight in Grand Prairie. I’ve never fought in my hometown before. I fought in the Cowboys stadium, but that’s not the same as my hometown.” said Ortiz.

Not unlike most great fighters, Ortiz’s story isn’t just his own, but it is his father’s as well, Virgil Ortiz Sr., the man whom he shares a name with.

Ortiz Sr. has helped manage his son’s professional career flawlessly so far, always looking out for the best interest of his son.

On top of being a boxing prodigy, Ortiz Jr. is a self-taught musician, who relaxes by a keyboard and guitar, although he has more instruments near his Grand Praire home in Texas, he travels to California with just those two. Ortiz is the classic star, a great story, and flat-out interesting, with only one thing left to see; how does he handle a world-class boxer, a guy looking to negate action?

“I believe that Antonio can handle my power because he’s coming up from 140 to 147, just like I did. We’ve never seen him fight at 147, so he might get bigger. When you’re bigger, you can handle more power than when you were smaller. This guy has been in the ring with some tough opponents, and I don’t see a reason he couldn’t handle my power. I feel like this very well might go the distance, and honestly, I hope it does. I really need the experience because I’m getting close to that world title shot. I’m not looking too ahead, but if this title shot happens, then I need all the experience I can get.”

Though Orozco doesn’t provide the strategic elements more than likely that some analytical minds in boxing are curious to see Ortiz in with, he provides a stern test. This is close to the finish line for Orozco if he loses, and it is a long way back to what he nearly had, the action fighter will be in more than likely the best shape to take everything away from Ortiz in Ortiz’s homecoming. Stylistically, this is a very good match-up made by Golden Boy Promotions’ matchmaker Robert Diaz.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. will face Antonio Orozco on August 10th in Grand Pairie, Texas, which will be broadcast worldwide on DAZN.

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle