Welterweight Vergil Ortiz Jr, a blue chip prospect and already considered a contender by some (including our rankings), will reportedly return to action in March, with Golden Boy looking to finalize an exact date and opponent, according to ESPN.
The 21-year-old Ortiz is perfect as a pro at 15-0 (15 KO), and the Texas fighter proved in 2019 that it wasn’t just an ability to smash cans, as he took on a trio of veteran opponents and thrashed them all.
After a January win over Jesus Valdez, Ortiz was matched with veteran spoiler Mauricio Herrera for the Canelo-Jacobs card on May 4. Ortiz brutally knocked out Herrera, who had never been stopped, in the third round. He followed that with a sixth round stoppage of Antonio Orozco on Aug. 10 at home in Texas, then a fifth round wipeout of Brad Solomon on Dec. 13.
It may be likely that we see Ortiz in another matchup of that sort, even if there’s really not a lot more to prove. The welterweight division is, as has been made clear a billion times now, ruled by the PBC fighters, including titleholders Errol Spence Jr and Manny Pacquiao, plus top contenders Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, and Yordenis Ugas, among others in that stable. Top Rank has the other titleholder, Terence Crawford.
Ortiz is a Golden Boy fighter and Golden Boy has shown a willingness to let their guys fight across promotional and broadcast lines, even with a DAZN deal, but Ortiz probably will only be sent to do that if there’s a world title on the line, and there are no world titles in his immediate future, at least not for a March return.
If you’re looking at some of the best names potentially available for Ortiz for a March date, you’re getting into the likes of perhaps Anthony Young, who hasn’t fought since a big upset of Sadam Ali on the Canelo-Jacobs card last May, or maybe a guy like Ray Robinson, another veteran who can play spoiler effectively, as we saw in back-to-back draws last year with Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Josh Kelly. Amir Khan is in theory available to anyone and still has a little name value, but I’ll eat my hat if Khan is itching to get in there with a 21-year-old with explosive power.