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Vergil Ortiz Jr: “I belong with the top dogs”

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr 14-0 (14) returns to action for the fourth time this year when he takes on Brad ‘King’ Solomon 28-1 (9) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California this Friday night.

“I feel like I’ve really shown that I belong with the top dogs. I feel like people are starting to recognise me a lot more. This was my breakout year and I’m going to break out even more next year,” Ortiz Jr said.

“What I know about Brad Solomon, he’s a very experienced fighter, he has double the wins that I have. He’s crafty, he definitely brings something different to the table than my past fighters you know, he’s not going to stay in the ring, he’s going to want to make me miss, going to want to stick and move.

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“We haven’t seen me fight someone like that in the professionals yet so everyone’s going to see how I do against a fighter like that.

“I haven’t had to make those adjustments yet. Some people say that I don’t move my head a lot, but I move my head a lot, especially in sparring. The thing is I haven’t needed to yet, I haven’t needed to do a lot of things in my fights yet because they’ve ended so early.

“There’s going to be a time when I’m going to need to use everything I have and that’s probably going to be one of my greatest fights.

“My work ethic comes from my dad pushing me this entire time. He’s really pushed me to not be satisfied with anything that I do, there’s always room for improvement, you can always work harder. A lot of my success come from my dad.”

Trainer Robert Garcia praised Ortiz Jr for his hard work and commitment in the gym while warning the exciting knockout artist will only continue to improve.

“Vergil is only 21 so he’s a very young fighter but at 21 he already has the strength, the mentality, the experience of a 27-year-old,” Garcia said.

“He’s focused on one thing and that’s to become a world champion and to beat anybody in front of him. He’s one of, if not the hardest working fighter I have in my gym, including all the world champions. He works his ass off.

“That’s the one thing that he was raised to do, since he was a kid with his dad, his dad prepared him for one thing and that’s to be great in boxing.

“Little by little, he’s been growing and now he’s a professional, now he’s ready for any top fighter in the division. It was something his dad brought since they were kids to where they’re at now.

“We don’t want to rush him, we want to go fight by fight, especially right now at welterweight, we have to understand that a lot of the champions are fighting for other promotions and the fights are going to be very hard to negotiate.

“We’re not looking for any type of fight right now, we’re going fight by fight. If the right fight for a title comes maybe at a different weight division maybe we would consider it, but it would have to be against the right champion.

“At welterweight I don’t see any champion fighting Vergil in 2020. There’s no rush. The fans still haven’t seen the best of Vergil Ortiz.”

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