Vergil Ortiz Jr. wants Keith Thurman in 2020
By Aragon Garcia: Unbeaten WBA Gold welterweight champion Vergil Ortiz Jr. (15-0, 15 KOs) says he wants to take on former WBA/WBC 147-lb champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in 2020, as he feels that’s a fight that would be a good “step up” up for him in the new year. The big question is will Thurman agree to fight the young knockout artist Ortiz Jr?
The hard punching Ortiz is ready to use the 31-year-old recently beaten Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) as a springboard to take his career to the next level. Ranked #3 WBO, #9 WBC at 147, Ortiz Jr. is in a position to fight for a world title in 2020. Thurman lost his last fight in July of this year in a 12 round split decision to Manny Pacquiao on Fox Sports pay-per-view.
According to his father/trainer Vergil Ortiz Sr., the top welterweights can face him now while he’s young or they can wait a couple of years until he’s in his prime. Ortiz Sr. it would be better off for the elite level welterweights like Manny Pacquiao to face Vergil Jr. now rather than later.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. to fight 4 times in 2020
The 21-year-old Ortiz will be fighting in March, and his promoters at Golden Boy want him to fight 4 times next year. They’re using the same frequent fighting plan that was employed to turn middleweight Gennadiy Golovkin into star at 160.
“We’re going to march him up the rankings,” Golden Boy president Eric Gomez said to ESPN.com. “He needs a little bit more experience, He can knock you out with any punch. The kid is that good.”
The Texas native Ortiz Jr. looked great in his last fight in stopping Brad Solomon (28-2, 9 KOs) by a 5th round knockout on December 13 in Indio, California. Ortiz knocked Solomon, 36, down three times en route to stopping him in the 5th round.
That was an excellent performance by the young Ortiz Jr. in showing that he’s for real at 147, and with the kind of fire power that will give anyone problems. Before the Solomon fight, Ortiz mowed down the following fighters:
- Antonio Orozco
- Mauricio Herrera
- Jesus A Valdez Barrayan
- Roberto Ortiz
- Juan Carlos Salgado
Ortiz Jr. wants Thurman in 2020
“Right now, I think a good step up fight would be Keith Thurman,” said Ortiz Jr. “I think we both have what it takes, and we’re both explosive fighters. We could make a very entertaining fight, and I think it’s the fight to make,” said Ortiz.
Going from fighting Brad Solomon to facing Thurman would be a considerable step up in class for Ortiz Jr., but he feels he’s up to it. It was only last year that Thurman was considered the #1 welterweight in the division. Unfortunately for Thurman, the year of inactivity in 2018, and his performances against Josesito Lopez and Pacquiao has caused ‘One Time’ to lose his #1 ranking at 147.
“2020 is a comeback year for your boy. I’m coming back stronger than ever,” said Thurman on social media.
— Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithfthurmanjr) December 25, 2019
Thurman has been out of the ring for 5 months, and he’s put on some weight. Additionally, it’s not a good sign that Thurman STILL doesn’t have a fight scheduled. If he keeps going at this pace, he might not be back inside the ring until next summer, which isn’t a good deal for him.
Ortiz has the punching power and the youth to give Thurman massive problems, and maybe even stop him.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. can compete against any of the top welterweights
“He can rank up there any of them,” said Ortiz Sr. to All Access Elite Boxing when asked where Ortiz Jr ranks among top 147-lb fighters. “Honestly, none of those names scare me,” said Ortiz Sr. when asked about Virgil Jr. measuring up against the following fighters:
- Manny Pacquiao
- Danny Garcia
- Sergey Lipinets
- Egidijus Kavaliauskas
“I try to be honest with myself, and I try to be honest with my son,” said Ortiz Sr. “My son has a chance with all of those guys. He’d give everyone of those guys a run for their money. I’m not saying he beats everyone of those guys right now, but I think he beats about 70% of those guys you just named.
“Easily more than half. The reason I say more than half is because I know what my son has,” said Ortiz Sr. “I guarantee my son has more power than most of those guys. My son might not be as experienced as them. But again, my son has a deel amateur background. What those guys were doing at my son’s age, they weren’t doing what my son was doing at 21. My son is light years ahead of his time for his age,” Ortiz Sr. continued.
Ortiz’s dad is being too conservative in his estimation of how he would do against the top welterweights in the division. Of the four that Ortiz Sr. listed, Vergil beats them all. The only fighters at welterweight that would give Ortiz Jr. problems are these fighters:
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Terence Crawford
- Shawn Porter
Vergil targeting fighters above him
“He can adjust very well. He’s been with every kind of style in the ring sparring,” said Ortiz Sr on Vergil Jr. “I know sparring and fighting are two different things, but he still has the experience. So I feel he’s up there with all of them.
“So the thing is he’s only had 15 fights, he’s young, so a lot of those guys up there, they have a lot to lose if they fight someone like him. And so he’d be the only one to gain, but as I said before, if you fight someone with just 15 fights, my son is going to blow them out.
So the only way is to fight guys [that are above Ortiz Jr.],” said Ortiz Sr. “Remember, you want to climb up, and not fight guys that are besides you and lower than you. You’re job is to go up, and that’s what it is,” said Ortiz Sr.
Fighting the lower level guys won’t won’t help Vergil Ortiz’s career, and his dad knows that. He needs to be fighting the lions at 147, and if they won’t fight him, then he’ll have to go the mandatory route. The worst thing that could happen though is if Ortiz wins the World Boxing Association secondary welterweight title from Alexander Besputin, because his career could languish that belt. The only title means anything with the WBA is the upper one held by Pacquiao.
Ortiz Sr. unsure if top 147-pounders will face Virgil in 2020
“Honestly, I don’t know. From my side, it would be a go,” said Ortiz Sr. when asked if he sees Vergil Jr. getting a title shot against Manny Pacquiao or a fight against another big name in 2020. “But from their side because of the whole politics, and because a lot of those guys are with PBC, because I couldn’t speak on it. I honestly don’t know.
“Maybe they might feel this is their time to take advantage of it in a fight a young lion, and try to beat him while he’s young, like they did with Canelo and Mayweather,” said Ortiz Sr. in speculating whether Vergil Jr. will get a big name in 2020. “Or they might roll the dice and not go against him, because no money to find out in a year or two that they should have taken him earlier. So it depends,” said Ortiz Sr.
It’s safe to say that Thurman, Pacquiao, Spence and Porter won’t fight Ortiz Jr. in 2020. Further, you can add Danny Garcia and Mikey Garcia to that list.