Vergil Ortiz Jr: I am in the top 5 of the division

Photo: Lina Baker/Golden Boy

By Miguel Maravilla

Undefeated welterweight Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs), of Grand Prairie, Texas spoke about his next fight against fellow undefeated welterweight Michael “The Problem” McKinson (21-0, 2 KOs) of Great Britain. Ortiz and McKinson will square off Saturday, March 19th, for Ortiz, Jr.’s WBO International welterweight title at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center in Los Angeles live on DAZN.

“It feels awesome putting a card in LA. I have a lot of fans here in LA,” Ortiz said at the press conference.

Ortiz began his preparation a few weeks ago as he has added Manuel Robles to his team to work alongside his father Vergil Ortiz Sr. and his longtime Hector Beltran. Prior to that Vergil had been working with famed trainer Robert Garcia but mutually parted ways from the camp. Ortiz joined Eddie Reynoso’s stable temporarily and then made the move to relocate to Los Angeles for this camp.

“We are at Manny Robles’s gym now. My dad is my head trainer and Hector Beltran is also part of the team. I am getting a lot of help and different point of views. It’s all working together. Everything is working the way it goes getting the sparring and putting in the work,” Vergil Ortiz told®.

Robles is known for his role as trainer working with and guiding Oscar Valdez, Jessie Magdaleno to a world title and not to mention Andy Ruiz Jr. big win over Anthony Joshua to become heavyweight champion.

“Every coach has a point of view. Manny has his own style, we are adding to the mix to make myself better,” Ortiz on the addition of Manny Robles

Coming off an eighth-round stoppage over world title challenger Egis Kavaliauskas last Summer, Ortiz has knocked out all 18 of his opponents. A list that includes former world champion Maurice Hooker, tough veterans Samuel Vargas, Brad Solomon, Antonio Orozco, and Roberto Ortiz. The undefeated Ortiz has yet to go the distance and test the deep waters.

“I think he is going to try taking me the distance and win the UD,” Ortiz said.

McKinson presents the possibility to take Ortiz the distance for the first time in his career as the Englishman presents a flashy style. In his last fight, he won a unanimous decision over Przemyslaw Runowski. This will be McKinson’s first fight in the U.S. as he looks to spoil Ortiz’s plans.

“He is a southpaw that likes to be tricky, try to frustrate you, and get his rhythm. I feel this will be a difficult complicated fight,” Ortiz on McKinson.

With the plan to stay active for his 2022 campaign, Ortiz looks to take on the best in the welterweight division.

“I would love to fight 3 times this year. I would like to fight good opposition; I love proving myself against the best. Hopefully one of those is a world title fight. I am really close I can feel it,” Ortiz on a potential title shot.

A weight class stacked with great talent with WBC/IBF champion Errol Spence Jr., WBA champion Yordanis Ugas, and WBO champion Terance Crawford. Other names in the division include former world champions Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, undefeated fighters Jerron Ennis, Eimantas Stanionis, Connor Benn, and solid veteran David Avanesyan.

“I feel I am in the top 5 in the division. Hands down. You got the champions, Spence, Crawford, Ugas, Thurman is number 4,” Ortiz stated.

Perhaps the biggest fight in the state of Texas will be a potential showdown with fellow DFW (Dallas/FT.Worth) welterweight Errol Spence Jr. at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas a few years from now.

“I remember when he fought his first pro fight in Dallas, he told Jerry Jones. I am going to fill your stadium. Oscar De La Hoya said at Tuesday’s press conference. “I can envision a mega fight with Errol Spence Jr vs. Vergil Ortiz Jr. in Jerry’s World (AT&T Stadium). We are on plan to fulfilling Vergil’s dream of becoming world champion,” De La Hoya added.

To be fighting in February is a good sign that 2022 will be a busy year for Ortiz. First task is to get pass McKinson as Ortiz looks to be victorious to begin his 2022 campaign.

“You can expect a great fight. You know I am always in great fights,” Ortiz concluded.

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla

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  • 1.Spence
    5. Thurman/Ugas Thurman if he can stay healthy enough 4 another fight.

    Thats my rankings of it

    • Crawford over Spence and can’t wait to watch Ennis step up in competition, it’s probably him the future of the division.

  • 2 KO’s in 21 fights, yeah I see what the “The Problem” is… he puts people to sleep and not by his punches.
    Vergil is a good fighter but does take a lot of clean shots, he deserves some pillow fisted opponents every once in a while

  • Agree with him, he is definitely in the top five of the division. I’m a fan of British boxing but McKinson is going to be knocked out pretty quickly I think !

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