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24th July 2020
By: Michael Frank
Rising welterweight star Vergil Ortiz Jr. will look to remain undefeated when he faces Canadian-Colombian veteran Samuel Vargas on Friday, July 24th in Golden Boy’s first fight card since the Coronavirus pandemic. DAZN will broadcast the loaded event that will take place at the spectator-free Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in Indio, California. Vergil is currently the WBA Gold Welterweight champion, a secondary title recognized by the World Boxing Association, and he’s just getting started.
Blue chip prospect Ortiz Jr. will headline the card after negotiations stalled with Ryan Garcia’s camp. The co-feature contest between legitimate prospect Hector Tanajara and crafty southpaw Mercito Gesta has officially been cancelled due to Gesta coming down with food poisoning. Instead, an 8-round middleweight bout between Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) and Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs) has been bumped to the co-feature. Additionally, an intriguing women’s junior flyweight WBA interim title fight between Seniesa Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) and former kick boxer Miranda Adkins (5-0) is on the card.
Ortiz will look to stay sharp and dominant while defending his title for the second time in his young career. The 22-year-old out of Dallas, Texas was voted the 2019 Prospect of the Year by The Ring magazine. He is off to a blistering start as a professional at 15-0, knocking out all 15 opponents. Brutal early round knockouts have become the norm for the 5’10” southpaw.
The fast start to his professional career was highlighted by six first-round knockouts within his first eight fights. He then used relentless pressure to score a vicious 3rd round KO against well-traveled Mauricio Herrera. It was the first time Herrera had been stopped in regulation. Impressively, Antonio Orozco is the only opponent to make it out of the 5th round so far against Ortiz.
Samuel Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs) will look to revamp his career and be the first to beat Ortiz, but has had difficulty winning a big fight in the past. His resume includes losses to Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, Errol Spence Jr. and Luis Collazo. However, Vargas should not be overlooked, as he won the WBA-NABA welterweight title in 2016 and retained the belt in 4 more fights.
The Canadian-Columbian lasted the full 12 rounds against Khan and scored a 3rd round knockdown. His only two defeats via TKO were against welterweight studs Spence Jr. and Garcia, two fights he took on short notice. The durable veteran isn’t scared to go toe-to-toe and is arguably the toughest opponent to this date for Ortiz.
A monumental step in Vergil’s career was switching to well-renowned trainer Robert Garcia. He began training at the reputable Boxing Academy in Riverside, California. He splits his training camp between California and Texas. While in Dallas, he trains with Hector Beltran. At this point in his career, he has the attention of top trainers, fellow boxers and fans. He has already sparred with some impressive names like Mikey Garcia, Jose Ramirez, Lucas Matthyse, Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios.
Everyone should go watch film on this tenacious superstar in the making. His knockouts are savage, his speed is incredible, and he’s only getting stronger. He knows when he’s landed a knockout punch, often raising his hands in celebration immediately. He has consistent defense, parrying punches with his arms and turning that defense into offense. We haven’t seen him get past the 6th round, so it’s hard to tell if he has the stamina to make it the distance. What we do know is he has the power to knockout anyone he faces.
Expect both fighters to come out swinging in the early rounds. Vargas has the chin and experience to give Ortiz a challenge. It will be interesting to monitor the endurance of both fighters, each coming off the longest time-off of their careers. Vargas has been criticized for not being in shape at points in his career, including looking flabby against IBF and WBC champion Errol Spence Jr.
Ortiz will use relentless pressure and speed to control the tempo. Body shots and stamina will separate the two in this fight. Ortiz recently said that if the fight against Vargas was on the shorter side, he would be able to fight again on the Canelo Alvarez undercard in September. That suggests he’ll be looking for an early round knockout, so fans watching the broadcast on DAZN should expect hay-makers early on. This will be a great test for the highly-touted youngster out of Golden Boy Promotions. He hopes to land a title fight in 2021, potentially against fellow Dallas resident, Spence Jr. But first, he’ll need to take care of business on Friday night, and Boxing Guru fully expects him to do so.
Prediction: 5th round TKO victory for Vergil Ortiz Jr. (Vicious body-shot)
Date: Friday, July 24
Time: 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT
Main event: 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT (approximate)
Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) vs. Mercito Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs), 10-round Lightweight **CANCELLED
Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) vs. Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs), 8-round Middleweight
Seniesa Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) vs. Miranda Adkins (5-0), 8-round Women’s Junior Flyweight
Hector Valdez vs. Josue Morales, 6-round Featherweight
Evan Sanchez vs. Issouf Kinda, 6-round Welterweight