Vergil Ortiz Jr (19-0, 19 KOs) kept his perfect knockout record intact with a much harder than expected ninth round stoppage victory over previously unbeaten #5 WBO Michael McKinson (22-1, 2 KOs) on Saturday night in a WBA welterweight title eliminator at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
McKinson, 31, suffered some type of leg injury in the ninth, which resulted in him going down without getting hit by Ortiz at the start of the round. Moments later, McKinson’s corner waved the white towel to let the referee Lawrence Cole know that they wanted to pull their man out due to the injury.
It was clear after McKinson got up after falling down without getting hit in the opening seconds of the ninth round that he had a leg injury.
In the eighth round, Vergil Jr, 23, dropped McKinson with a beautiful left hook to the body. McKinson got up and was able to make it out of the round by circling the ring to keep from getting hit again by the slower Ortiz.
Earlier in the contest, Ortiz suffered a cut over his left eye from a clash of heads in the opening round. You can argue that was McKinson’s best round by far in the fight, as he landed a few nice left hands to the head of Ortiz.
From rounds two through seven, Ortiz Jr slowly stalked McKinson around the ring, frequently missing with his best power shots. It was only a rare big shot from Ortiz Jr that connected during that part of the fight.
Nonetheless, McKinson looked like the beaten man going into the eighth round in which he was dropped.
All in all, it’s hard to get excited about Vergil Jr’s performance tonight, as he should have been able to get rid of a fighter like McKinson much earlier.
You can argue that if Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis had been in there tonight, he would have stopped McKinson in the first two rounds.
What we learned from watching Ortiz Jr in his performance against McKinson is that he’s not in the same league as Boots Ennis, Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, Yordenis Ugas, and Keith Thurman.