By Jake Donovan
Vergil Ortiz Jr. may not have liked the way he obtained his latest win but certainly loved the preparation heading into the night.
The unbeaten blue-chip prospect enjoyed a homecoming headliner, overcoming a challenging start to break down and stop Antonio Orozco in six rounds Saturday evening at Verizon Theatre in his hometown of Grand Prairie, Texas. By his own admission, it wasn’t the best performance of his one career.
It was, however, the second straight time he felt like he trained to fight rather than train to make weight.
“I didn’t struggle at all in my last fight or (Saturday),” Ortiz Jr. (14-0, 14KOs) told BoxingScene,com after his latest win. “I felt a lot stronger.”
Orozco (28-2-1, 17KOs) came into the night having lost just once before, coming in his lone title bid in dropping a 12-round decision to Jose Carlos Ramirez (now an unbeaten and unified 140-pound titlist) last September. He gave Ortiz the tough fight for which he hoped, holding his own early before succumbing in six rounds—the deepest that the 21-year old has been in his young pro career.
The bout saw both boxers move all the way up to welterweight after having spent the bulk of their respective careers at super lightweight. Ortiz fought at 142 pounds for his last bout—a 3rd round stoppage of Mauricio Herrera in May—and all the way at the 147-pound limit on Saturday.
“It will be for good,” Ortiz Jr. assured BoxingScene,com of the move up the scale. “It was time to move up. I can’t imagine the opportunity that would convince me to ever move back down to 140. This is where I belong.”
With Saturday’s win came the World Boxing Association (WBA) “Gold” title, which is the sanctioning body’s fancy way of classifying its top-rated contender. At the very least, an interim title fight is in Ortiz’s future, if not so much more.
“I will fight at least one more time this year, defend my “Gold” title,” notes Ortiz Jr. “Then, we will see what 2020 has in store. I think it will be a very big year for me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox