On September 15th 2018, on the undercard of Canelo/GGG II, I got to witness one of the top rising prospects of the junior welterweight division. Vergil Ortiz Jr was taking his first step in competition.
He fought Roberto Ortiz who was supposed to challenge the young twenty year old. Instead, Ortiz made it a quick night by stopping Roberto Ortiz in the second round. It was a sensational win for Ortiz and at the time, a prospect to look out for. It was an impressive performance.
Fast forward to now and Ortiz is now a major player in the welterweight division.
At the young age of twenty-two, Vergil Ortiz, Jr (16-0, 16 KO’s) of Grand Prairie, Texas, has been on a roll since that day on September 15th 2018. The former amateur standout moved up to the welterweight division in 2019 and has had four wins all by stoppage. In his first fight at welterweight, he impressively stopped seasoned veteran Mauricio Herrera in three rounds.
Herrera was known to be a spoiler and only lost to top fighters. All of those losses were by decision. Ortiz was the first fighter to stop Herrera. Ortiz would finish the year off with two more wins. Those wins were stoppages against Antonio Orozco and Brad Solomon. Ortiz would have one fight last year against Samuel Vargas. He stopped his opponent in the seventh round.
Ortiz, who is trained by Robert Garcia, has shown that he has all the tools to succeed. He is a patient fighter that applies good pressure. He also has good technique and skills.
Obviously, he has the power as all his wins are by knockout. In particular, he has a good right hand which he has dropped many of his opponents with. Actually, he has power in both hands as we have seen him drop guys with jabs and uppercuts.
Another attribute that stands out for Ortiz, is that he is a good finisher. He has that mean streak when a fighter is in trouble, he goes for the knockout. This is something the fans like and it makes him exciting to watch.
His dream to becoming a world champion can become a reality real soon if he keeps winning. So far, he seems to be a big threat for the top welterweights but first needs to get past his next opponent this Saturday.
Ortiz will face off with Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KO’s) of Dallas, Texas. The fight will take place at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas and it will be streamed on DAZN. Perfect fitting as both guys are from Texas. Hooker will serve as another test for Ortiz. Hooker is a former super lightweight champion and he has beaten some top fighters already.
In his only defeat, he lost by knockout to Jose Carlos Ramirez in the sixth round. However, Hooker put a good battle in his losing effort. Even though Hooker is moving up to welterweight to challenge Ortiz, it will be Ortiz’s toughest battle thus far. Hooker is a skilled fighter who also has good punching power.
All eyes will be on Ortiz on Saturday. Should Ortiz get passed Hooker and look good, he should be ready to challenge the elite fighters at welterweight. If Ortiz wins by knockout, then the question will be: who would want to face Ortiz?