By Charles Brun: Unbeaten, highly ranked welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. and #4 WBO Michael McKinson have agreed to a deal to headline on DAZN for early 2022.
Mike Coppinger is first on the news of the #1 WBC, #1 WBO, #2 WBA, #4 WBO ranked Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs), putting his record on the line against the unbeaten McKinson (21-0, 2 KOs).
If nothing else, McKinson could teach Vergil Jr. some defensive moves that could come in handy later on down the line when he takes on champions Errol Spence Jr., Yordenis Ugas, or Terence Crawford.
McKinson to help Vergil prepare for a title shot
With McKinson being a southpaw, he could help Vergil Ortiz prepare for Crawford and Spence, both of which fight from the left-handed stance. Apart from that, McKinson isn’t going to help Vergil prepare for those guys.
You can argue that Ortiz would be better off taking on David Avanesyan, Conor Benn, Danny Garcia, Josesito Lopez, Abel Ramos, or Rashidi Ellis. Of course, getting fights against any of those guys could prove difficult, if not impossible, for Ortiz.
McKinson is one of those slick fighters that make his opponents look bad by avoiding shots and using his pull-back style escape pressure. He’s very dull to watch, but his style of effective against the domestic and European level opposition he’s been facing his entire career since turning professional in 2014.
Vergil needs a strong performance
You can argue this is a tremendous step down in cases for the 23-year-old Ortiz from the last two opponents he’s faced in Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Maurice Hooker.
Those are world-class level fighters, whereas the light-hitting 26-year-old McKinson is more of a domestic/European level fighter.
It’s a nice play-it-safe type of fight for Vergil, but at this point, he needs to be taking on the kind of opposition that will prepare him to challenge for a world title in 2022 or 2023.
I’m sure that McKinson’s loyal boxing fans feel he deserves to share the ring with Vergil, but if you take a look at Michael’s last three fights against little-known Przemyslaw Runowski, Chris Kongo, and Martin Harkin, he looked weak in those fights.
Interestingly, McKinson was trying to show slick moves and getting nailed repeatedly by overhand rights by these guys, who aren’t a top-tier competition.
It stands to reason if McKinson can get hit by these types of fighters despite having a slick style, he’s going to get laid out quickly by Ortiz Jr. early on unless he decides to carry him so that he can get some badly needed rounds in.
Ortiz needs to focus on defense
It’s unclear why Vergil’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions are dropping him back to this level of opposition. Still, it could be that they were concerned with something they saw in his last two fights against ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas and Hooker.
Ortiz Jr. was hit a lot in those two fights and badly marked up in the face. Against Kavaliauskas last August, Ortiz was staggered and almost knocked out in that fight after getting clipped by a big right hand to the head of the two-time Olympian.
Although Ortiz weathered the storm and eventually stopped ‘Mean Machine’ in the eighth round, it was troubling to see him getting hurt badly at this level.
“Sources: Vergil Ortiz Jr., ESPN’s No. 4 welterweight, and undefeated boxer Michael McKinson have agreed to a deal for a fight that will headline Golden Boy Boxing on DAZN in early 2022,” said Mike Coppinger.