Vergil Ortiz Jr. has registered another knockout.
The 24-year-old Mexican-American boxer defeated Michael McKinson via technical decision with a ninth-round stoppage at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, extending his strong start to the year.
“The first seven rounds, I didn’t really do anything good,” Ortiz said in the post-fight interview with DAZN. “I had to adjust big time. I should have listened to my corner from the beginning. But I listened and we got it done.”
Ortiz and McKinson were initially scheduled to fight in March. The fight was postponed when Ortiz was hospitalized because of rhabdomyolysis.
Saturday’s bout, just a few miles away from Ortiz’s hometown of Grand Prairie, was considered a WBA eliminator. Ortiz (19-0, 19 KOs) will certainly maintain his status as the WBO and WBA‘s No. 1 contender in the 147-pound division.
But McKinson (22-1, 2 KOs) proved to be a tricky opponent. He was slippery around the outside of the ring and roughed Ortiz up on the inside as well.
Eventually, all the bodywork Ortiz’s corner asked for at the beginning of the fight manifested itself and paid dividends. In the final 30 seconds of the eighth round, Ortiz dropped the British fighter with a left hook to the body. McKinson went down in similar fashion at the beginning of the ninth round.
After he limped around the ring, his corner jumped to the top of the apron and threw in the towel.
Ortiz said his father, Vergil Ortiz Sr., yelled at him for three rounds for not following the game plan for the fight. The 24-year-old’s stubbornness eventually gave way to sound advice.
“You think you know everything, and you don’t,” Ortiz Jr. said.
A path to a title remains tricky because of the landscape within the welterweight division. Errol Spence and Terence Crawford, who was ringside Saturday, hold all four major belts and are in talks for a potential undisputed title fight. In his post-fight interview with DAZN, Ortiz acknowledged securing a title shot soon will be difficult because of that impending matchup.
But when it comes to taking on anyone else, he’ll fight whomever that opponent is.