Vergil Ortiz Jr. can’t help but feel like he’s been here before.
A second straight training camp has concluded this year, this time with the rising welterweight contender set to make his way to the ring this weekend. It didn’t happen last time out for Ortiz (18-0, 18KOs), who is now set for his rescheduled clash with fellow unbeaten welterweight Michael McKinson (22-0, 2KOs). The bout takes place this Saturday on DAZN from Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, near Ortiz’s hometown of Grand Prairie, Texas.
The two were due to collide this past March 19 in Los Angeles, only for Ortiz to withdraw heading into the fight after suffering from an untimely bout with rhabdomyolysis. McKinson went through with his stateside debut, outpointing late replacement Alex Martin over ten rounds.
Ortiz has since fully recovered, though entering the ring following a career-long layoff of 51 weeks. The good news is that the past couple of months were spent perfecting everything he worked on the first time around.
“We pretty much copied and pasted,” Ortiz told BoxingScene.com of this past camp. “We just got to work on everything we did the first time. We're ready for this fight with Michael McKinson.”
There was unfounded concern over whether Ortiz was struggling to make weight, with some reports suggesting a move up in weight was imminent. Nothing was further from the truth, as the 24-year-old knockout artist has every intention of sticking around at welterweight through at least his first title win, however long it takes.
“I feel good, I’m actually drinking a lot of water even this late in camp,” revealed Ortiz, who fights for the first time since an eighth-round knockout of Egidijus Kavaliauskas last August 14 in Frisco, Texas. “Back when I first turned pro, I would cut the water like two weeks before the weigh-in. Now I don’t do it until maybe two days before. I always feel great making weight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox