Vergil Ortiz Jr is set to return on March 19 in a DAZN main event from Los Angeles, where he’ll be facing Michael McKinson, a British southpaw who has put together a nice little run of wins in the United Kingdom and now has a shot to really turn some heads, though he’ll be a considerable underdog in the fight.
If Ortiz (18-0, 18 KO) does as expected next month, promoter Oscar De La Hoya has an idea for a “mega-event” in Dallas, which would put two locals in a possible huge fight at AT&T Stadium — though he acknowledges they’ll probably have to force the fight to happen.
“Vergil’s going to be in this position where we have to knock everybody’s door down and force them to fight Vergil. That’s our job as a promoter, to get him the best fights possible,” De La Hoya said. “But the one vision that I do have for Vergil is an Errol Spence vs Vergil Ortiz (fight) in Dallas in a mega-event. The plans are right on track. We are on time to fulfill Vergil’s dreams of becoming world champion. It’s going to be a little complicated because nobody’s going to want to fight him and the more they wait the worst it’s going to be. He’s only getting better.”
Spence (27-0, 21 KO) holds the WBC and IBF titles right now, and has a dangerous fight coming with WBA titleholder Yordenis Ugas on April 16, which will also take place at AT&T Stadium, Spence’s third fight at the home of the Dallas Cowboys. On paper, Ugas (27-4, 12 KO) poses much more of a threat to Spence than McKinson (21-0, 2 KO) does to Ortiz.
Even if both win their upcoming fights, unless Ortiz forces his way into a mandatory position with the WBC, IBF, or WBA — he’s much closer to doing so with the WBO, whose titleholder is Terence Crawford — it’s hard to see Premier Boxing Champions going out of their way to do business with Golden Boy this year.
PBC will have have Keith Thurman in-house for the winner of Spence-Ugas, which could also be a fight that results in a rematch depending on how good it is and/or what happens. They’ve also got the Radzhab Butaev vs Eimantas Stanionis winner sitting in the wings waiting for a possible WBA order to fight the Spence-Ugas winner, and several other welterweights they could go to instead of working with Golden Boy. And if they wanted to work with someone who isn’t currently in-house at PBC, Terence Crawford is simply a bigger fight than Ortiz would be in every way.
So De La Hoya’s right, most likely. To get Ortiz that big fight he wants, be it Spence or Crawford or whomever, they’re going to have to force it. The same thing has happened with Jaron “Boots” Ennis, another rising welterweight start, who has finally gotten an order with the IBF for an eliminator against Custio Clayton, and there’s yet another potential PBC option that isn’t Vergil Ortiz.