Vergil Ortiz Jr kept his unbeaten record and stoppage streak intact, putting a game but over-matched Michael McKinson away early in the ninth round tonight in Fort Worth, Tex.
Ortiz (19-0, 19 KO) just had too much for McKinson (22-1, 2 KO), whose total lack of power pretty well doomed him, even though he showed he can box and take some good shots. He just didn’t have enough to keep Ortiz off of him, and eventually, body shots as much as anything wore McKinson out.
They’re also what stopped the fight. McKinson was dropped pretty hard on a body shot in round eight, and was finished in round nine. He also seemed to maybe have an issue with his leg or knee, and his corner was waving the fight off on the apron.
It was Ortiz’s first fight in a year, and came after some medical issues scrapped this bout in March. On the whole, Ortiz looked sharp and didn’t seem rusty, but as always, he didn’t get overly jazzed about his own performance.
“Honestly, I thought I didn’t really do anything good (in the first seven rounds), I had to adjust big time. I should have listened to my corner from the beginning,” Ortiz said.
“I felt like I figured him out in the first round, but just went away from it. My corner had the game plan laid out, my dad bitched me out for three or four rounds, and I finally listened to him and we got him out of there.”
Ortiz emphatically added that he is ready for a world title shot. Tonight’s fight was a WBA eliminator, and he’s also a top contender with the WBO. He didn’t make any grand call-out to Terence Crawford, who was in attendance, but did say he’s ready for it if the fight can be made.
Ortiz vs McKinson highlights
More results and highlights
Marlen Esparza UD-10 Eva Guzman
Esparza (13-1, 1 KO) retains her WBC and WBA flyweight titles, but give some credit to Guzman (19-2-1, 11 KO), who came in and gave a solid showing and was competitive. The scores were fair at 98-92, 98-92, and 99-91 — BLH also had 98-92 — but Guzman looked like an actual contender in there, Esparza was just better.
It was also, as usual with Esparza, a good fight, no lulls in action. No huge drama, either, but someone was always throwing a punch. Chris Mannix says the target will now be WBO titleholder Tamara Demarco. There’s also Leonela Yudica, who holds the IBF belt, as another possibility. We’ll see what she does, but Marlen’s always a good addition to a Golden Boy card, never bad fights.
Blair Cobbs UD-10 Maurice Hooker
A good win for Cobbs, let’s not take that away from him, he scored three knockdowns in the first two rounds and, though he cruised in the last couple rounds, he earned this win with the best, most “mature” performance of his career. Scores were 96-91, 97-90, and 97-90, all fair. Bad Left Hook had it 97-90 on our unofficial card, too.
But Hooker (27-3-3, 18 KO) did not look remotely like himself in this fight, and there are, like, multiple things with that. He admitted that a recent death in his personal life had an impact on his preparation, and he didn’t look “there” mentally tonight, especially early on, which lost him the fight as much as anything. But he also didn’t look himself physically, his legs weren’t good, and not just being shaky, but he was really slow. His punches were slow, too. He had Blair Cobbs, not exactly known for his extraordinary defensive skills, slipping punches easily.
So give Cobbs (16-1-1, 10 KO) credit for his own good performance, he looked legitimately smarter and sharper than I’ve ever seen him, and I don’t mean to fully overlook that at all, but to act like this was the best Maurice Hooker — he had to have the contract weight bumped to 150 on Friday, for another thing — would be a lie. This was as good as I’ve seen from Cobbs, and as bad as I’ve seen from Hooker.
The main thing is, Cobbs will get another opportunity with this win. Hooker is a good dude who’s had good fights and you hope he bounces back from this outing himself. He bit down and did settle in, and he was trying the whole way, but it just wasn’t there for him tonight.
THREE KNOCKDOWNS IN TWO ROUNDS FOR BLAIR COBBS pic.twitter.com/HYoOzDIVx6— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) August 7, 2022
Bektemir Melikuziev TKO-3 Sladan Janjanin
A fight where we learned nothing new at all about Melikuziev (10-1, 8 KO), but it kept him active and stuff. That’s about all there is to take from this one. Janjanin (32-12, 24 KO) tried and was courageous, but he was dropped in each round before referee Neal Young had seen enough. It was one way traffic as soon as Melikuziev landed a clean body shot in round one, and really, a lot of guys would have been done there. It was a nasty shot, but the Bosnian fighter gave everything he had here. It just wasn’t nearly enough.
Melikuziev, 26, has the one loss to Gabe Rosado, but I think most people feel like it was fluky, too. He got over-confident and caught with a brutal shot from a savvy veteran fighter. There aren’t exactly a ton of guys aching to get in the right with the Uzbek fighter even since then, but he needs better opposition than this. If there were any actual money in Melikuziev vs Rosado 2, maybe Golden Boy would pony up for that, but being honest there isn’t, and Rosado has no reason but money to take it.