Don’t mistake the past 20 months between fights for Brad Solomon thinking about anything other than this next ring opportunity.
Once a highly touted prospect, the 36-year old Louisiana-born welterweight finds himself having to reestablish his industry presence the hard way—standing opposite Vergil Ortiz Jr. (14-0, 14KOs), the leading candidate for 2019 Prospect of the Year and with few giving the old veteran much of a chance to win.
“I know everyone thinks he’s supposed to beat me and that I’m some last minute opponent,” Solomon (28-1, 9KOs) told BoxingScene.com of this weekend’s welterweight fight in Indio, California (Friday, DAZN, 7:30pm ET). “But it’s not like I was just at home not doing anything for the past year-and-a-half. I’ve been training, was preparing for another fight that didn’t happen and then this one came along.
“The timing was real right. It felt real good to get that call, it fell right into place.”
Solomon hasn’t fought since a 10-round win over Paddy Gallagher last April. The bout took part as the opening leg of an eight-man welterweight tournament that never made it past the quarterfinal round due to suggested visa issues and an overall lack of funding.
A fight was due in November, only for that opportunity to fall through and potentially leaving him without a fight for all of 2019. Then came the call to face Ortiz Jr. on relative short notice—but that’s not the way it was viewed on his end.
“God is control of everything,” theorized the spiritual Solomon, who has only fought twice since a split decision loss to Konstantin Ponomarev in their April 2016 battle of unbeaten welterweights. “I just kept training and remained confident that He had something bigger planned.
“I was always ready for a fight like this. I diet right, I train right, so it’s never been a concern to make weight or get down (to welterweight) through extreme measures. It’s always been about going with the ups and down of boxing and staying strong mentally and physically. That’s what keeps me grinding and ready for an opportunity like this.”
Ortiz enters as one of the hottest prospects of the sport and with none of his opponents having ever extended him beyond the sixth round of any given fight. The 21-year old Texan enters on the heels of back-to-back stoppage wins over Mauricio Herrera and Antonio Orozco, two normally durable ring veterans who’ve never previously been stopped.
Solomon has been down three times in his career, but all in winning fights and who enters this fight with arguably the trickiest style with which Ortiz has faced to date.
“I’m sure he’s studied me, just like I know what he’s going to bring (on Friday),” insists Solomon. “He’s in there with a real fighter. I’m not some trash can, he’s gonna have to fight. I’m gonna make him miss all night night. He will have to dig for all 12 rounds because I’m taking him to places he’s never been before.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox