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Vergil Ortiz Jr gunning for top welterweights, feels he’s ready

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The young 147-pounder is hoping to move into bigger fights soon.

Vergil Ortiz Jr v Antonio Orozco Photo By Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Golden Boy welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr — currently the house favorite — is scheduled to return to action on July 24, where he’ll face Samuel Vargas in another matchup pitting the 22-year-old rising star against a veteran fighter, his fourth straight such contest.

Ortiz (15-0, 15 KO) has proven quite capable at this level, thrashing Mauricio Herrera, Antonio Orozco, and Brad Solomon in his last three outings. Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KO) doesn’t really figure to be a bigger test than this guys, and while Ortiz says he respects Vargas and knows he’s a guy who can take a shot, he also is getting itchy to step up the competition.

He’s already said he would like to fight WBO titleholder Terence Crawford, and tells Sky Sports that he’s up for fights with any of the top 147-pounders:

“I don’t necessarily have a hit list, because I want to fight everyone, I really do. The top five, six welterweights, there’s Danny Garcia, there’s Ugas, who is definitely a great fighter that everyone tends to overlook. ... But there’s Crawford as well and there’s Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Porter. I literally want to fight all those guys.”

Ortiz does mention that he doesn’t think he’ll get a chance to fight WBA titleholder Manny Pacquiao, feeling that Pacquiao at 41 will likely be out of the sport before that could realistically come up, but otherwise he’s gunning for the top dogs, and surely if a Pacquiao offer came in, Ortiz would be up for it. If he’s willing to fight the younger, less famous guys, surely he’d be willing to fight Manny, too.

But all of it is a challenge. The Crawford fight is probably the most likely, because it’s a case of Top Rank and Golden Boy both having nobody very good for their guy to fight. The PBC squad — Spence, Pacquiao, Thurman, Porter, Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, to a lesser extent Ugas (in terms of marketing, not talent) — have one another.

At any rate, it’s good to see Ortiz expressing this sort of ambition. At his age it’s bold, but he’s also done all he can do with the sort of opponents Golden Boy can easily get for him, or at least that’ll be the case if he gets through Vargas as expected. At some point he has to get a better fight; even young, it’s not like he’ll be able to hone his skills much fighting at the same level for too long.