VERGIL ORTIZ JR
First of all, I just want to say thank you to everyone for being here.
I didn’t like my performance. I’m not going to lie, I was not pleased with it at all. It’s probably the worst one I’ve had so far. But, we only get better. It’s just a thing of listening to my corner. But, we’re only going to get better from here, and I feel like I’m ready for a world title shot. So, let’s get it on.
On giving an undefeated opponent his first career loss:
That’s true, but I know that I can do 100 times better.
On taking confidence from succeeding when he isn’t pleased with his performance:
I know I have that dog in me. It’ll come out when I need it to come out. Really, all I had to do was listen, and I just didn’t listen well.
He has a lot of pride. He came from the UK, and he’s not just going to come to the US and sit down.
On what feedback he received from his father between rounds:
He was asking me if I wanted to win. And I’m like, “Yeah!” And he says, “Well, why aren’t you hitting the f—ing body?” And he kept making me promise him that I was going to hit it. Once I kept my promise, that’s when everything started happening.
On why he needed so much encouragement to work the body:
Because I’m hard headed, and I thought this one shot was going to land. And it wasn’t landing.
On whether the cut in round 1 bothered him during the fight:
No, but I did see a little bit of blood. And I was just, like, “Wait, is that mine?” It was a different feeling. It didn’t hurt, but I’m not supposed to get cuts.
On giving himself credit for performance:
I’m not saying I got an “F,” but there’s a lot of room for improvement. I know I’m going to be mad watching this later tonight.
On his aggression after knocking out McKinson’s mouthpiece in round 3:
There were a few instances where I had him hurt to the head. And I think where the main problem came was that I was headhunting. And the guy can move, he’s a very elusive fighter. And he knew I was going for the head because I saw him hurt. I picked it up, and unfortunately I made the wrong decision. I should have been chopping down the tree.
I was very confident. I worked very very hard. I’ve worked my whole life to get where I am. [...] Getting this opportunity was huge. I deserved it. And not many people where I’m from get to fight in the States. And not only fight in the States, but headline a Golden Boy show in America.
It’s a dream come true. My pride is a bit damaged, it’s the first time I’ve tasted defeat. I know I was losing the fight, but all the way through the fight there was never a time that I felt I was going to get stopped. I thought I was going to take him and be the first person to end that knockout streak. I really did.
In round 8, he hit me with a body shot that hit my hip bone, and then the whole side of me, I couldn’t really use this side at the end of the eighth. Came out in the ninth round, he hit me exactly in the same spot. On the hip a little bit. And yeah, I’m devastated, obviously. But, I’m very proud to be here, to represent my country, and I hope I made everyone proud back home.
On whether the fight unfolded as he expected:
I knew he would start fast. I knew he would start very fast, and it was a hell of a pace early on. But, as the fight went on, I could see it going points. I was more and more confident that it would reach the final bell.
He did slow down a little bit and changed his tactics. He was a lot more patient, and if anything, that’s normally right into my hands. But, he picked a hell of a shot. It’s boxing.
[...] And it is what it is. He’s a hell of a fighter. I hope he goes on to win world titles in multiple weight classes. 100%. But, obviously, my pride is a little bit hurt.
On proving something with his performance:
I don’t belong at the level I was fighting at before. Definitely not. I was cruising easy points wins to the point where I didn’t want to fight them guys.
I’ve had it hard my whole career, and people have told me I deserve a big fight, I deserve to be on a big stage. And I never had the fight to prove that I’m world class. I’ve never had that win that people can say, “McKinson’s a world class fighter.”
But, although I lost, I hope a lot of people can see that I do belong at the world class level. I don’t want to go back to domestic level action, that’s too easy for me. Hopefully there’s some more big fights out there. I’ve proven that I don’t mind going into somebody’s backyard, being booed to the ring, there were a lot of boos to the ring, and then there were a lot of cheers coming out of the ring.
So, I’m proud of my performance. I’d like to watch it back to see how it went. But, if I was in hostile coming to the ring and people were cheering me coming out, I must have done okay.
On surprising people exchanging in the pocket with Ortiz:
My dad told me off a couple of times in the corner. The plan was to stay long and stay what I’m good at. But, there’s a few times we were close and I just want to take every opportunity I possibly can. And if I see a shot, I’ll definitely take it.
I made the most of every little opportunity, but the plan was to try and stay long. Try and take it to the late rounds where he’s never been before. [...] I only took him one round further than he’s ever been before. But, I still took him the furthest out of anyone.
On facing a beloved Texas fighter so close to home:
I was heavily booed coming into the ring, but I loved it. I loved it. I soaked up that atmosphere. That’s the type of stuff that I’m built for, and I thrive off of it. Come to people’s backyards. I’ve done it on my rise, I’ve done it on small shows and all that. But, I got to do it on a Golden Boy show, in front of the world, fighting a guy that’s tipped for superstardom.
I’m very, very proud of where I’ve come. Not just my city of Portsmouth, but for my country. Not many people are queueing up to fight Ortiz, and I jumped at the opportunity. When there was talk of Avanesyan and that it might not happen, I went onto Twitter and said, “Just send me the original contract.” I’m a very confident guy, I work very hard, I really did believe I could pull it off tonight. But, Vergil is something else. There’s not all that hype for no reason. Like I said, I hope he goes on to win multiple world titles, because it makes me look good.