Undefeated welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. pulled out of his fight for this Saturday night against Michael McKinson due to a kidney ailment known as rhabdomyolysis.
The Golden Boy promoted Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) was hospitalized on Monday and released on Tuesday, according to ESPN. He had been expected to face #4 WBO McKinson (21-0, 2 KOs) in the main event on DAZN at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.
It’s unclear whether this condition is a result of Ortiz taking weight off too quickly while training to get to 147 for Friday’s weigh-in. Ortiz doesn’t overly huge for the welterweight division, but he obviously has to cut a certain amount to get down to the limit.
The 23-year-old Ortiz was tested on Friday and then was admitted to the hospital on Sunday.
Ortiz will be resting for several weeks and will be drinking a lot of water to clear the protein from his body due to his Rhabdomyolysis condition, which causes muscle tissue to break down. The risk involved with this condition is it could lead to kidney damage.
“He was dropping weight too fast for me. That’s when I knew something was wrong,” said Vergil’s dad, Ortiz Sr to ESPN. “He wasn’t himself. I thought maybe he had something on his mind. … He could have almost died with this stuff.”
As for McKinson, there’s a possibility he could remain on the card if a replacement opponent can be located quickly. That’s probably not an ideal situation for McKinson if he’s put in a position where he’s fighting someone he hasn’t prepared for.
If no replacement opponent can be found, the chief support bout between 32-year-old welterweight prospect Blair Cobbs and Alexis Rocha will be moved to the headliner spot.
That’s not a great fight, considering Cobbs is just a prospect with an unknown further and Rocha the opponent.
Although Cobbs has been talking a storm up this week, he’s unproven and not well known enough for him to be an ideal replacement for the Ortiz vs. McKinson fight.
“We wish Vergil a very quick and speedy recovery,” said Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya about Ortiz. “As fighters, our first instinct is to fight whatever we have and tough it out. We are confident that we will be seeing Vergil in the ring again very soon.”
In 2021, Ortiz defeated former 140-lb champion Maurice Hooker and former world title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas by knockouts.
When Ortiz does come back, we’ll see if Golden Boy is still interested in matching him against McKinson. Boxing fans want to see Vergil take on Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis and Conor Benn.