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Vergil Ortiz: I’m here to be at the top

Vergil Ortiz takes on Antonio Orozco this weekend.

Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

As Golden Boy prospect Vergil Ortiz gets set to take on veteran Antonio Orozco this weekend in a step-up fight, Ortiz talks a little about the fight and his outlook on his career. Check out some excerpts below...

Ortiz on why he beats Orozco:

“I’m a very disciplined fighter, I work hard everyday. I’m smart, I can adjust when I need to. I mean, you know what, I just feel like I have to. This is my hometown, I have to show what I can do. I’ve been selling tickets to all my fans ‘hey, I’m a boxer, I been winning’ and all this stuff, and now I can prove it to them.”

On if he thinks he needs a knockout win or if he’s just satisfied to get a win:

“As long as it’s an interesting fight and I don’t make too much mistakes, I don’t do something stupid like put my hand down and get caught for no reason, I’ll be fine with that. But if I do get the knockout, that’s great as well.”

On why he wants to fight someone like Orozco to prove himself:

“I wanted to start taking step-up fights before I even started taking ‘em. Like after my fifth, sixth fight I already went ‘you know what, I want to start building up’ but they — Golden Boy knows what they’re doing. So they were feeding me little by little and now I’m taking the big fights.”

On watching his good friend Jose Ramirez recently unify world titles:

“When he stopped Hooker, when the referee stepped in, man, we were all jumping in the living room. It was crazy. It means a lot.

“It motivates me a lot. Like I’m trying to set an examples for these kids, he’s setting an example for me whether he knows it or not.

“I value [his friendship] a lot, and especially since he was one of my favorite fighters growing up. You know, I looked up to him even then, and when I found out I was gonna be training with him, man, I was excited.”

On where he plans to campaign going forward:

“I’m staying at 147, I’m a welterweight. As far as fighting Jose, I will never fight Jose. You know, he’s my teammate, one of my favorite fighters growing up, a great friend. I’ll never fight him, that’s disrespect right there. And other belts are spoken for right now and as soon as they finish up with the World Series I’m pretty sure they’re gonna meet up with Jose. By the time that happens I won’t be able to make 140 anymore so I’m not gonna waste my time at 140, just go ahead and move up.”

On 147 having a lot of top talent and if he’s looking forward to seeing guys like Errol Spence, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, etc:

“Oh yeah. I’m not here to fight these C, B-class fighters. I wanna be at the top, I wanna be the top guy.

“I never paid attention to a whole lot of boxing at 160 and higher because, you know what, that’s not even around my range...But I do pay close attention to the 35s, 40s, and 147s.”

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