By Jack Tiernan: Oscar De La Hoya says unbeaten #1 WBO contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. will be fighting for a world title at the end of 2022 after defeating Michael McKinson this Saturday, March 19th.
Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs0 is headlining on DAZN this Saturday night against #4 WBO McKinson (21-0, 2 KOs) at the Usc Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.
The Ortiz-McKinson fight is ignored mainly by U.S boxing fans, perhaps because few of them have heard of the 27-year-old British fighter McKinso. The British boxer has been fighting opposition below the first-tier level during his eight-year professional career before being given this fight against Ortiz.
De La Hoya feels confident that he can put a fight together between WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford and Ortiz in October or November. We’ll soon see if that’s possible.
It’s common knowledge that the 34-year-old Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) wants to fight the winner of the April 16th fight between IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBA champion Yordenis Ugas.
Spence has hinted in the last month that he wants to fight #4 WBC Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in his next fight after Ugas. Spence vs. Thurman would resonate with the U.S boxing world a lot more than a match against Ortiz Jr right now.
That’s not a knock on Ortiz because he’s an excellent fighter, but he doesn’t have the profile, experience, or charisma of ‘One Time’ Thurman.
For Crawford to agree to fight the 23-year-old Ortiz in a voluntary defense, Golden Boy Promotions and De La Hoya would need to make it worthwhile for him.
“Vergil Ortiz right now is on the verge of breaking through. I can have Vergil fighting for a world title within the end of the year,” said De La Hoya to DAZN. “By October, November, he’s ready to face the world champions,” said De La Hoya.
That might be a pipedream for De La Hoya to have Ortiz Jr fighting for a world title at the end of the year, as Crawford will likely never agree to take a hard fight like Vergil voluntarily unless it’s worthwhile for him financially.
On paper, this fight would be the toughest of Crawford’s 14-year professional career if he were to face Ortiz, and it’s coming at a point where he’s reached his mid-30s.
Given the risk involved for Crawford in this fight, he may not agree to take it unless De La Hoya and DAZN offer some crazy money.
Ortiz is coming off back-to-back impressive wins over Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas Maurice Hooker in 2021. Those are well-known fighters in the eyes of hardcore boxing fans, if not the casual ones.
With those impressive fights under Ortiz’s belt, it’s unclear why De La Hoya chose to go in the opposite direction to match him against the obscure fighter McKinson rather than a household name in the 147-lb division for his fight this Saturday.
It would seem like a self-defeating move by Oscar, which is why fans aren’t taking notice of Ortiz’s fight this Saturday.
“He wants to face the top guys in the division like Spence, like Crawford,” said De La Hoya. “He’s one fight away from just breaking through and fighting the very top competition out there in the world.”
“He knows that this fight here with Vergil Ortiz and a Crawford would be massive, would be huge. It’s an even fight,” said De La Hoya.
If Ortiz doesn’t get a title fight in 2022 against Crawford or Spence, it’s not the end of the world. He’s still just 23-years-old and has time on his side.
Moving forward, it would be in Golden Boy’s best interest to match Ortiz against notable opposition to help build his profile rather than putting him in with no-name fighters with a ranking that they’ve not earned.
McKinson’s opposition during his career leaves a lot to be desired, and he doesn’t look deserving of a top 10 spot at this point.
The last seven opponents for McKinson:
Luis Alberto Veron