By Brian Webber: Unbeaten, highly ranked 147-lb contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs) won’t be fighting against David Avanesyan as hoped for on August 6th in the main event on DAZN. Instead of Avanesyan, the 24-year-old Vergil Jr. will likely be facing unbeaten #5 WBO Michael McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) in the headliner on DAZN on August 6th.
The 28-year-old McKinson and Ortiz had been scheduled to fight earlier this year on March 19th on DAZN at the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.
Ortiz had to pull out of the contest due to an unexpected illness. McKinson stayed on the card and defeated the serviceable Alex Martin by a lackluster 10-round unanimous decision.
McKinson is clearly a couple of steps backward for Ortiz from his two previous opponents, Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Maurice Hooker. Ideally, it would be more admirable for Golden Boy Promotions to find a better name for Vergil to fight instead of the light-hitting McKinson, who has an arguably built-up record filled with unknown fighters.
If McKinson is the best that Golden Boy could find, you can give them a pass.
It’s a little troubling that the promotional company was planning on matching Ortiz against McKinson earlier this year on March 19th, suggesting that this was a match that they desired for some strange reason.
Are they protecting Ortiz from the better fighters at 147? If so, how do they expect Ortiz ever to win a world title and hold one down if they’re not willing to put him in with good fighters?
If Golden Boy is waiting for the welterweight champions Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford to vacate their belts, it could be a mistake.
Ortiz is not going to do well against Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, and he might not even beat Keith Thurman or Conor Benn.
Ortiz’s manager Rick Mirigian is reporting that the #2 WBC, #7 WBO, and #8 WBA Avanesyan didn’t return the contract offer that was sent to him.
“Golden Boy did everything they wanted, accommodated their every crazy need they asked for, and Vergil [Ortiz Jr] even kicked in some money to help make the fight,” said Vergil’s manager Rick Mirigian to Dan Rafael’s Fight Freaks Unite. They agreed to the deal and then never would send the actual contract back.”
“This guy has been calling Vergil out, saying he can’t avoid him, begging for this shot and talking s*** online, and then has sat on a contract for two weeks,” Mirigian said about the 33-year-old Avanesyan.
It’s unknown what the hang-up was for Avanesyan not to return the contract for the fight with Ortiz Jr. If the fight was deemed to be too risky for the 33-year-old Avanesyan, it makes sense for them not to have taken the match-up.
It would have been an uphill climb for Avanesyan to beat a young talent like Vergil Jr because he hasn’t faced anyone decent since his win over Josh Kelly in February 2021.
In Avanesyan’s two fights since then, he’s beaten Liam Taylor and Oskari Metz in mismatches.