Crafty veteran Mauricio Herrera had never been stopped in his pro career, but that streak ended tonight against powerful and skilled prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr, who blasted him out early in the third round of their co-feature bout on the Canelo-Jacobs card.
Ortiz (13-0, 13 KO) shook Herrera (24-9, 7 KO) in the first round, and dropped him hard right before the bell to end the second. Herrera got up and said he wanted to fight on, but there just was not enough time to recover between rounds.
And not only that, but the 21-year-old Ortiz, a Dallas native, went for the finish as soon as the next rounded started — not recklessly, but with precision and skill. He hurt Herrera again on a couple of punches before knocking him out standing with a clean right hand. Referee Russell Mora saw the situation, jumped in, and stopped the fight immediately.
For Ortiz, it was a chance to be happy about what is a big, impressive win for where he is in his pro career.
“I’m actually pretty proud of this fight. I’m usually not satisfied, but I wanna tell y’all, I’m very satisfied with my performance tonight,” Ortiz said after the win.
Asked if he’d stay at 147 or go back to 140, he said, “I wanna go back to 140 and get that world title.” He had called out WBO titleholder Maurice Hooker earlier this week, and that could be a doable fight by the end of 2019. Both are Dallas natives, which could make for a nice local attraction along with just being a good fight.
Whatever he does next, Ortiz is clearly a young star who needs to be on your radar if he wasn’t already.