Vergil Ortiz Jr. has become familiar with the recurring theme following each win these days.
The unbeaten welterweight contender from Grand Prairie, Texas rose to the occasion over the weekend, scoring five knockdowns en route to an eighth-round knockout of Lithuania’s Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-2-1, 18KOs) this past Saturday at Ford Center at The Star in nearby Frisco. Ortiz accepted the fight while awaiting a bigger opportunity in the lucrative 147-pound division, namely a crack at reigning WBO titlist Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (37-0, 28KOs).
“Yes,” Ortiz emphatically exclaimed regarding his willingness to take that fight next, though noting the business side. "There's so much shit going on in boxing right now, I don't even know what I have to do anymore.”
For now, the 23-year-old will have to wait a little longer and likely until at least the first quarter of 2022. Crawford is currently in talks with former two-time welterweight titlist ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter for a WBO-ordered title defense. The bout will likely take place later this year, leaving Ortiz (18-0, 18KOs) to take at least one more developmental fight while waiting out his title shot. The win over Kavaliauskas was the latest step up for the rising contender, who stopped local rival and former 140-pound titlist Maurice Hooker this past March in Fort Worth. After that fight, Ortiz was just as eager to challenge Crawford—Hooker’s stablemate and who was ringside—as is the case in the present day.
Whether or not the fights materialize in a timely fashion won't discourage the fast-rising young star from pursuing the division's elite.
“I'm here whenever. I'm ready to fight whenever,” insists Ortiz. “It doesn't matter if it’s Crawford, if it’s [WBC/IBF welterweight titlist Errol] Spence, or [eight-division titlist Manny] Pacquiao. You name it, I'll fight anyone."
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox