It is no secret that Michael McKinson enters his fight with Vergil Ortiz Jr. as a considerable underdog.
None of that is lost on the unbeaten British southpaw; in fact, he’s leaning into the role.
“I’m a realist, Vergil’s wins are a lot better than my wins,” McKinson (22-0, 2KOs) noted of the uphill battle he faces on August 6th on DAZN from Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX. “He’s beaten better guys than I have but he’s also shown vulnerabilities. He showed in his last fight, he showed vulnerabilities early on.
“He came back and got the job done in fashion. But he did show flaws. My job is to expose those flaws. I know it’s a big task but I’m very focused and I’m very serious. My job is to expose him to the whole world.”
They were originally due to fight back in March in Los Angeles, with Ortiz withdrawing a few days before the fight with illness. He was replaced on late notice by Alex Martin, who Mckinson easily outboxed over ten rounds.
To McKinson’s credit, he carries the confidence of a man who hasn’t tasted defeat and of the belief that he’s a far superior technician to the crop of talent that Ortiz (18-0, 18KOs) has faced to date. The 27-year-old from Portsmouth, Hampshire has shown deceptive power well beyond his low knockout to win ratio, having scored six combined knockdowns among his current stretch of seven consecutive ten-round decision wins.
The closest he’s come to defeat thus far was in a competitive but clear points win over Chris Kongo last March in Gibraltar.
Ortiz has been a knockout every time out thus far, though showing subtle chinks in the armor in recent fights. The red-hot welterweight contender from Grand Prairie, Texas overcame a brief scare in his last fight, bouncing back from a rough second round to drop Egidijus Kavaliauskas five times en route to an eighth-round knockout last August 14 in Frisco, Texas.
McKinson believes he can force the streaking knockout artist to face a different type of adversity.
“I’m a very smart, very tricky southpaw with lots of problems and lots of tricks up my sleeve,” insists McKinson. “Everybody is already writing me off. Everyone is already thinking, ‘He’s gonna blow through McKinson,’ blah, blah, blah.
“I don’t pay attention to any of that. My job is to silence them.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox