At only 21 years old, Vergil Ortiz Jr. not only has a budding career going for himself as one of boxing’s most highly touted prospects, but he’s quickly building a propensity for punishing opponents with devastating power. Of his 13 professional bouts, all have ended via knockout.
Coming fresh off of a statement, knockout-of-the-year candidate of veteran contender Mauricio Herrera as the co-featured main event for the Canelo Alvarez versus Daniel Jacobs matchup in May, Ortiz will take yet another step up in competition when he takes on Antonio Orozco (28-1, 17 KOs) in a 10-round main event fight on Aug. 10 in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The matchup will mark the first time Ortiz, a coveted Golden Boy Promotions welterweight prospect who’s on the fast track to becoming an elite star, is fighting in his hometown.
“This is very special to me,” said Ortiz. “He definitely is a tough fighter. He only has one loss, which was against Jose Carlos Ramirez, a world champion. It will be a tough fight.”
The fight will be streamed live on DAZN and feature a full lineup of other up-and-coming contenders such as Hector Tanajara (17-0, 5 KOs) and Joshua Franco (15-1-1, 7 KOs).
Most of Ortiz’s fights are over before he barely even breaks a sweat, and he’s catapulted through the ranks against veteran competition to boot. The last seven opponents he’s beaten have a combined 178 victories — an average of 25 wins each — which is an unusually high level of competition for a young fighter to be matched against at this stage of Ortiz’s career.
A pro since 2016, he’s trained with Robert Garcia in Riverside, Calif., for the last four fights and usually spars against world champions such as Mikey Garcia as he continually sharpens his one-punch power. He’s considered wise beyond his years with his in-ring prowess and is touted along the likes of stablemate Ryan Garcia as well as Teofimo Lopez and Shakur Stevenson as the next generation of up-and-coming boxers.
The young lion’s faceoff against the sturdy Orozco, from San Diego, will mark the third time he’s been in the squared circle in 2019.
“As soon as I heard the name, I didn’t hesitate,” said Orozco, who is 10 years older than his counterpart. “This is a big opportunity to showcase my skills and my Mexican style. Honestly, I’m ready to derail his dreams.”
Ortiz had previously fought at 140 pounds and tested the 147 pound waters against Herrera. For the time being, he’ll be fighting as a welterweight while looking to cement his own main event status en route to a world title shot.
“I have a lot of supporters in Texas, especially in my hometown, and they have been wanting to watch me fight,” said Ortiz, who’s from Dallas with roots in Michoacan, Mexico, and learned to play guitar and piano on his own. “The fans are going to win in this fight.”
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for USA Today and the Guardian.