Vergil Ortiz Jr. is proving he’s a real contender…
The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer dominated and ultimately stopped Samuel Vargas in the seventh round in the main event of a DAZN card on Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
With the victory, Ortiz (16-0, 16 KO) has taken another step toward becoming a welterweight contender. He demonstrated a complete skill set and proved he’s more than just a one-dimensional slugger.
“I hit him to the body a lot. I don’t know how he didn’t go down. He was hurt the entire time — I asked him,” Ortiz said. “I knew it was time to take him out. If it went to eight rounds, he would have been hurt worse.”
From the beginning, Ortiz took control of the fight behind his powerful left jab, bloodying Vargas’ nose. Ortiz began to layer his attack with quick right hands over the top that stunned Vargas in the third.
Then in the fourth, Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) was hurt by a series of quick punches that seemed to come in all directions as Ortiz appeared to look for an early finish. Vargas survived the attack, but the punishment he absorbed was such that referee Jack Reiss called the ringside physician to look over him at the end of the third.
Vargas did his best to stay active in the next couple of rounds, throwing shots on the inside, but most of his punches were blocked by the tight guard of Ortiz.
In the seventh round, Vargas was stung by another steady, two-fisted barrage from Ortiz. If it wasn’t right hands, it was left hooks or right uppercuts that seemed to hurt Vargas. They came at a more rapid pace as the round went on.
All the while, Ortiz’s laser-like jab had been snapping back Vargas’ head throughout the night.
As Vargas took a steady pounding, Reiss mercifully waved things off 2 minutes, 58 seconds into the seventh.
It was a big win for Ortiz. Vargas is an experienced pro fighter who previously had been stopped only twice, by unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. and two-division titlist Danny Garcia.
Ortiz said he would grade his performance against Vargas a B-plus.
“He brought it out of me — hardest opponent to date,” Ortiz said. “My hands took a beating punching him the whole time, so when they’re healed, I’ll be back.”
Ortiz said he’d like a step up in competition, naming Garcia and former welterweight titlist Keith Thurman as opponents he’d like to fight next.
“They’re good opponents I can beat,” Ortiz said. “I want to take risks. I’m not here to take easy fights. I’m in the hardest division in boxing, so when I win a title, it will mean a lot more.”