By: Hans Themistode
At the age of 22 with only 16 pro fights under his belt, Vergil Ortiz is largely viewed as a prospect. One with an extremely bright future, but a prospect nevertheless.
Despite that, Ortiz wants to shed his prospect label and jump immediately into title contention. The normally active Dallas native was forced to settle for one ring appearance during the calendar year. A seventh-round stoppage win over fringe contender Samuel Vargas in late July.
For most, the win wasn’t surprising considering he was a 5000-1 favorite on the night. At this point in his career though, Ortiz isn’t interested in facing below-average opposition. While the easy wins may keep his perfect record intact, if it was up to him, he’d be matched up with those at the very top.
“I want Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia or Porter next,” explained Vargas on the Ak and Barak show. “If I could choose that’s who I would want next but if they were to offer me Terence Crawford I would definitely take it.”
Bouts against those at the top of the division is something that many believe isn’t exactly warranted considering his current position in the welterweight landscape. With a return date roughly scheduled for the first half of the new year, Ortiz isn’t expected to face anyone in the division’s top ten. Whomever is chosen to face the hard hitting 22-year-old, Ortiz won’t complain. He simply wants to let everyone know that his name should be mentioned amongst the best that the division has to offer.
“I just feel like I’ve grown as a fighter. I’m only getting stronger and faster as time goes on so I just feel like I’m starting to belong with those names. I know what I’m capable of.”
Although Ortiz gave his list of preferable names to face, one fighter that stuck out to him immediately was pound for pound star and current WBO 147 pound champion Terence Crawford.
For the aforementioned Crawford, he’s coming fresh off his own impressive stoppage win against former belt holder Kell Brook just a few weeks ago. Following his fourth-round dismantling, Crawford received high praise for his performance.
Ortiz though, just so happened to be watching as well. Unlike several who were tuned in, he wasn’t impressed.
“That fight gave me a little confidence boost. He’s not completely untouchable like everyone thinks he is. I can give anyone a tough fight.”