Golden Boy Promotions is in the business of building future stars, and although they have the likes of Ryan Garcia on its roster, Oscar De La Hoya said Vergil Ortiz Jr. is the company’s best young fighter.
The high praise was music to the ears of the 21-year-old KO artist in Ortiz Jr. (14-0, 14 KOs), who fights for the fourth time this year on Friday against Brad Soloman (28-1, 9 KOs) as the main event in Indio, Calif. The fight will stream on DAZN.
“It made me feel great,” Ortiz Jr. told BoxingScene.com of his boss’ flattering tribute. “It motivated me to work even harder, to prove him right. Not a lot of people get those kind of compliments, and it really does mean a lot.”
Ortiz Jr. looks to cap off his 2019 in resounding fashion by knocking out yet another opponent, much like every one of the fourteen foes he’s faced to date.
He already scored a highlight-reel, third round KO of game veteran Mauricio Herrera as the co-feature of the Canelo Alvarez versus Daniel Jacobs card in May. He followed that up with a sixth-round KO against Antonio Orozco in his hometown of Grand Prairie, Texas in August.
“I didn’t think that I was going to stop Antonio Orozco,” said Ortiz Jr., who trains with Robert Garcia in Riverside, Calif. “I knew he was going to be my toughest opponent to date. I did what I was supposed to do in there. It benefited me to go six rounds, the most I have ever gone so far in my career.”
Ortiz Jr. does credits the super powers in his fists to having good technique.
“If the knockout comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, I’ll get some more rounds in,” said Ortiz Jr. who’s fought just 33 rounds in his three-year career. “That’s what I’ll continue to do, and not stress myself out that I have to knockout every guy I face. Some of the fights where I was supposed to knockout my opponent, it came even harder.
“I know when [my punches] are going to be effective. When to throw them. When not to throw them. I know what works on my opponents, and what doesn’t. I gained confidence in the Orozco fight. I believe in myself a little more now.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].