Monday, October 02, 2023  |


Vergil Ortiz looks forward to shaking off his ring rust against Michael McKinson

Vergil Ortiz Jr.
Fighters Network

It’s hard to keep a lion in the cage, and if it’s a hungry and young lion, it’s much worse.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. was ready to roar back in March 19th but had to withdraw from that date due to illness.

But that was then, and this is now.

“We are ready to go,” said Ortiz (18-0, 18 knockouts), who is already in training for his August 6 showdown with fellow undefeated welterweight contender Michael “The Problem” McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) of Portsmouth, Great Britain in a 12-round welterweight that will take place at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. “I really want to get back into the ring. By the time I fight this August, it will almost be a whole year. I would love to fight at least twice this year and stay even busier next year.”

Hailing from neighboring Grand Prairie, Texas, Ortiz Jr. will be returning to action in a card streamed by DAZN and presented by Golden Boy in association with Matchroom Boxing against the same fighter he was supposed to fight back in March.

“Michael McKinson is ranked by the WBO, he’s undefeated, it would look good on my resume if I defeat him. He’s a good fighter,” said Ortiz during a recent teleconference. “I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to fight [on March 19] especially since we found out I wasn’t able to go on, literally, the week of the fight. It’s not like I wanted to waste a whole training camp and some months before that; that’s not me.”

Ortiz, 24, has recently complained about not getting enough action, but he is now looking forward to fighting more often once he gets past McKinson.
It remains to be seen whether he will feel the effect of the long layoff.

“My time away will not have any impact on me,” he claims. “These last few weeks in sparring I have been doing really well. I feel great, I feel like I have been fighting every week. So, I don’t think my time away will have any impact on my performance at all.”

Ortiz is equally dismissive about the “home edge” narrative of this bout, which will be disputed only a few miles away from his home.
“I don’t feel like I will have a home field advantage at Dickies Arena. Definitely the people will be on my side; but I feel like regardless of where I am at, whenever I land punches the crowd erupts anyway. So I don’t see it as an advantage.”

His one magic weapon, he suggests, is his entourage. He will be having his father and long-time trainer by his side, alongside Hector Beltran who has been with him for over 10 years, but they will also bring in Manny Robles into the fold to make an even stronger team.


“We just made some changes here and there, in terms of my training. Not huge changes, but overall I feel 100% now. We are going to do what to do best,” said Ortiz. “I have learned things from all the different coaches that I have been with. Every coach has their own point of view, they all have different styles. One thing that I have learned from Manny is to be really explosive with my punches. Don’t waste time reacting, don’t think about it. Because if you think about it you get stuck and then you can make mistakes.”

Whatever Robles brings in will have to blend in with what he has already learned from his father, which is what brought him up to this point in his career.

“What me and my dad have is very special,” said Ortiz. “He pushes me to my limits and more, because he knows me, but people see that as he knows what I can do and he brings it out of me. And Hector Beltran has been with us since 2012. He is probably the guy who knows me the most other than my dad. He brings a lot of knowledge and points of view. They both have the same goal, but sometimes in order to reach that goal you may need a different approach or a different point of view, and Hector was also a professional fighter. He brings that to the table, and I am grateful for that.”

A prediction of his upcoming fight is in order to close down the presser, and Ortiz is his usual dismissive self when it comes to analyzing his foe.

“I did see Michael McKinson fight. I didn’t think too much about it. First of all, he fought someone who had a completely different style than I. But we are aware of how he fights, so we have a little more tape to go off of.”

Ortiz is reluctant to discuss his future opponents for the usual reasons, but also because the fear his record instills in his foes makes it harder for him to get them in the ring to face him.

“Honestly, anyone who takes the fight,” when asked about future fights. “That’s the honest answer at this point. Whoever wants to fight me can get it. I want my shot with whomever, it doesn’t matter to me.”