Vergil Ortiz Jr. was days away from his next fight.
On Tuesday, the 23-year-old was forced to withdraw from his scheduled return with an illness.
The welterweight contender’s next test was going to come against Michael McKinson on March 19 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, as the headline bout of a Golden Boy Promotions card on DAZN.
The young knockout artists took to social media to explain his withdrawal - and also issued an apology to McKinson and the boxing public.
"First and foremost, I am very sorry and disappointed to not be fighting this Saturday. Camp was going great. I was doing very good in sparring and training in general. But for the last 2 weeks I didn't feel like myself. I just felt like my body was deteriorating and I didn't know why and it was frustrating," Ortiz explained in a statement.
"Being the fighter that I am, I tried toughing it out, but when it's your own body fighting against you there's little you can do. Luckily my dad was also able to tell I wasn't right and took me to the doctor. We ran some tests and the doctor concluded that I had Rhabdomyolysis.
"I was hospitalized yesterday and had to stay overnight. It could've been a lot worse and I'm thankful that we caught it [in] time. I am very sorry if I let you guys down. Believe me if there was a hair of a chance of me fighting, I would be.
"And of course sorry to Michael McKinson. I'm sure you trained your ass off, We're just fighting trying to provide for our family. I hope you still get the chance [to] fight."
Ortiz is expected to make a full recovery, with his next fight being targeted to take place in the coming months.
In 2021, Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) put away former world champion Maurice Hooker and former world title challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2021.
Once Ortiz is medically cleared to return, he wants to prove his readiness for a world title opportunity.
“We’re getting really close to a world title shot. I don’t know who yet, but I would say we’re knocking on the door already,” Ortiz told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “It’s not a matter of who. I just want somebody with a belt. I will fight any of the champions. I would love to fight at the very least three times this year, assuming everything goes right. I want to stay busy.”
“I just do what I’m told to do,” added Ortiz. “They put them in front of me and I take them out. I just want to fight the best.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.