Blue-chip prospect, Vergil Ortiz (14-0, 14 KOs) made his return to the ring Saturday night in his hometown at The Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Ortiz, age 21, was last seen in the ring back in May of this year when he defeated Mauricio Herrera on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs.
That night, Ortiz floored and finished Herrera, a fighter who had never been stopped before in his career.
This time around, Ortiz found himself squaring off against an experienced Antonio Orozco (28-2, 17 KOs) whose only loss came in a title fight against now unified champion, Jose Ramirez.
The atmosphere for Ortiz-Orozco was what you would expect, the moment Ortiz made his way into the ring, the cheers echoed throughout the arena.
But Orozco is no stranger to that.
Right from the start, Ortiz quickly took charge of things and landed monstrous shots on Orozco.
Orozco took the power shots well and showed he wasn’t there just to collect a check. Orozco proved early on that he does possess that veteran experience and heart.
Through the first three rounds, Ortiz’s chin was tested more than any other time in his previous pro bouts.
It started to look like Orozco was the man to ground Ortiz or at least pump the breaks on his momentum, but the hometown hero remained composed while still throwing bombs in each round.
In the sixth, Ortiz was able to start really landing cleanly and dropped Orozco early on. Orozco rose to his feet, but Ortiz had already flipped his switch to go for the finish.
Ortiz swarmed Orozco and secured a second knockdown. The crowd rose to their feet as they sensed what was to come.
Orozco lifted himself off the canvas, but was visibly hurt. Ortiz continued his onslaught of power punches that snapped Orozco’s head back and forth until he was looking up at the bright lights once again on his back and that would seal the deal for Ortiz.
Ortiz, now 14-0 with all 14 bouts secured via knockout, proved he’s the real deal and possibly graduated already from top prospect to real contender.
While the masses were more than impressed with the young phenom, Ortiz, possibly his own worst critic, wasn’t fully pleased with his performance.
“I’m going to be honest. I don’t like the way I did in the fight,” said Ortiz. “I don’t even know how many rounds we went, that’s how into the fight I was, but the first three, four rounds, I could have done way better. I definitely have a long way as a boxer to reach that world champion status. But we’re going to keep making those improvements and we’re going to learn from this fight.”
You can’t take anything away from Orozco, who put on a great performance, despite the KO loss.
Ortiz certainly made a case for himself in a Welterweight division that is stacked with talent.
It’s still early to play matchmaker with the big names at 147, but after tonight, everyone knows who Vergil Ortiz is.