Vergil Ortiz Jr. is persistent that he’s more than ready for a world title opportunity.
The standout Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) is ranked as the No. 1 welterweight contender by the WBC, WBA, and WBO.
All of the belts at 147 pounds belong to Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. The two pound-for-pound stars are tracking toward an undisputed fight. Barring a rematch, both fighters have alluded to continuing their careers at 154 pounds as soon as they collect all of the crowns.
The welterweight division has upstarts like Ortiz, Jaron Ennis, and Conor Benn all waiting for a crack at the titles, but it appears unlikely any of them will get the opportunity against Spence or Crawford anytime soon.
When BoxingScene.com asked Ortiz if his only chance to win a 147-pound belt was to fight for a vacant title, the 24-year-old hoped that wouldn’t be the route he would have to take to win his first championship.
“I hope not. I hope that I really do get the chance to fight at least one of them [in Spence or Crawford]. So I hope that’s not the case,” said Ortiz.
When it comes to picking a winner between Spence and Crawford, Ortiz considers it a coin flip.
“I’m not sure [who wins]. It’s honestly a 50/50 fight to me,” said Ortiz. “I feel that they are both good at what they do. We’re just going to have to wait and see. I really don’t know.”
Ortiz had to pull out of a scheduled fight against Michael McKinson in March during fight week due to being diagnosed and hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis.
Ortiz said he’s back to full health, and he’s preparing to face McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) once again on Aug. 6 at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas on DAZN.
Before a bout with McKinson was finalized, Ortiz was hoping to land a more credible opponent in surging Armenian contender David Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17 KOs).
The fight was in play for over a month before the plug was pulled.
“I’m not the one sending the contracts or negotiating and things like that. From what my manager [Rick Mirigian] has told me, we sent [Team Avanesyan] a contract,” said Ortiz. “They negotiated. They agreed. When we sent them the contract they were sitting on it for 4 ½ weeks. We didn’t hear anything. It’s not a knock on David himself because we don’t know if he said no or his manager said no. All I know is that we didn’t hear anything.”
The knockout artist Ortiz is adamant that he’s ready for all comers.
“Honestly, at this point, whoever takes the fight. That’s just the basic answer I am going to give you. Whoever wants to fight me can get it,” said Ortiz. “I want my shot against whoever. It honestly doesn’t matter to me.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.