Vergil Ortiz Jr. Still Perfect, Dispatches Brad Solomon in Five Rounds
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Welterweight sensation Vergil Ortiz Jr. (15-0, 15 KO) added to his perfect KO streak by stopping veteran Brad Solomon (28-2, 9 KO) in the fifth round on Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Ortiz’s stellar run this year—now 4-0 in 2019—left him with high expectations heading into the weekend and the 21-year-old Texan surpassed them against Solomon, who was crafty enough to force Ortiz to pull out all the stops to secure the finish and earn himself a belt, one manufactured by the WBA, but nonetheless a major championship strap.
“[Solomon] was difficult to figure out,” Ortiz said, standing next to his trainer Robert Garcia in the ring after the fight. “He really made me use my brain. I took my time in there… I had to utilize my jab. Most importantly, I had to figure out my range.”
At its onset, Ortiz took a handle of the fight, continually walking Solomon into the corner, behind a lead left hand. Shotgun jabs to the head followed by rattling off left hooks to the body—most of them blocked, but the force thrummed through Solomon’s gloves all the same.
Solomon showed initiative in the second round, keen on going to his young opponent’s belly. Ortiz returned more piston jabs upstairs for his trouble. But halfway into the period it was a snapping follow-up right hand that caught Solomon’s attention. It was to that point the best punch of the bout and made Solomon shuffle away from Ortiz, sidestepping along the ropes. Noticing his man’s high guard, Ortiz attempted to swat down Solomon’s defenses—a rendition of that Ukrainian unblock perfected by Vasyl Lomachenko.
The action unfolded along the ropes again in the third frame. Ortiz mined for more openings and opportunities to deliver punishment. Attacking from fine angles, he took a leap to his right, outside of Solomon’s left foot, commanding lead foot dominance, and banged a left uppercut toward the skull of his opponent. It was the old D’amato shift. Solomon leaned into Ortiz and the younger fighter adapted acutely moving backwards before planting his foot down for uppercuts.
Early in the fourth round, Ortiz ducked under a wild left hand that left Solomon stumbling away from the center of the ring. After digging a little to the body, Ortiz mixed up his jab. Having already established it upstairs, he jabbed to the body and chest, then feinting in that direction only to throw a javelin straight right hand to Solomon’s face. The misdirection paid dividends at the 1:03 mark where a fierce jab sat Solomon down (the first official knockdown of the fight, Ortiz in the post-fight interview suggested he accidentally tripped his opponent).
Moments after Solomon made it to his feet, another volley prompted Solomon to gesture for a low blow. Ortiz didn’t buy it and neither did referee Raul Caiz Sr.
Again Solomon was overzealous returning from the break, dealing out overhand rights to start the fifth round. Mirroring arcing blows came back his way from Ortiz. And Solomon was soon being driven from corner to corner. Stagnation setting into, cement hardening in his shoes. More power jabs rushed into his line of sight, and a right cross zipped by his chin. Soon a right cross-counter slanted over Solomon’s lead hand and shook him up again. Three more grazing punches made the veteran take a knee, floored for the second time of the night and his 30-fight career.
Time still remaining in that fateful Round 5, Solomon was out of ammo. Backed into another corner, mouth agape, knees trembling, two more left hooks was all it took. One slammed against his gloves, and before the second could even land, Solomon hunkered down on a knee. Bowing out. It’s important to recognize the difference between that and a “quit job”—that’s something else. When a fighter goes unconscious, for example, it’s the case of the human body unable to sustain anymore damage—physically. No quitting involved. Here, similarly but incorporeally, Solomon’s spirit was sapped.
Another win for Ortiz, there has been a reoccurring theme. His finishing ability, dispatching respectable foes who had never before been put away inside the distance. First, Mauricio Herrera could only handle this virtuoso for three rounds. Then former world champion Antonio Orozco was stamped out in six—this after going a hard 12 with unified beltholder Jose Ramirez last year.
Now, knocking out Solomon, Ortiz has a WBA title. A growing number of men do given the organization’s maniacal proliferation of championships: his “gold” belt being the WBA’s de-facto interim title to regular champion Alexander Besputin… who is in turn second in line to “super” champion Manny Pacquiao. In short, that’s why these trinkets should be ignored.
Judge boxers for who they beat, not what they win for doing it. Ortiz, younger than college seniors around the country, is doing that principle justice.
Machado rebounds with KO victory
Former champion Alberto Machado (22-2, 18 KO) knocked out Luis Porozo (14-2, 7 KO) with a series of crunching body blows, eventually crushing the Olympian from Ecuador in the second round.
Machado, 29, of Puerto Rico, was actually down immediately following the opening bell. It was a trip. But Porozo was dealing out heavy leather, charging in slapping the taller man with winging left hooks. It was chippy action in both directions, some holding and grappling along the way. Porozo separated and would leap in with wide, curled punches. Machado hung back, trying to time his man with piercing straight lefts.
In the second inning, Porozo forced the action: sitting on looping, wild right hands: nearly falling off-balance. Composed, Machado found a lull in his opponent’s offense, systematically walked him into a corner, and planted a left hand to the solar plexus for the first knockdown of the fight.
Machado stalked Porozo when the bout continued. Soon another left hand strayed to the Ecuadorian’s guts for another knockdown. Up again, Porozo was no longer eager to engage: plodding away, taking a second to peek up at the fight clock. Machado stepped into more body shots and then landed a whizzing left hand to Porozo’s dome and he was quickly counted out.
“It’s a shot we’ve been working on in camp,” Machado said through a translator. “We knew he was the kind of fighter who would open up and that’s where found the opportunity to land that shot to the body.”
Machado, who dropped his 130-pound championship to Andrew Cancio in dramatic fashion this year, is back in the win column for the first time since October 2018. Now, having jumped up in weight, the Puerto Rican puncher likes the way 135 pounds suits him.
“It’s this new division I feel stronger than ever before,” Machado said. “I think I did well, he’s a good fighter, he’s an Olympian, but I did good because of the adjustments that I made.”
Ortiz vs. Solomon Fight Preview
By: Robert Aaron Contreras
It is never easy to decipher what Golden Boy Promotions is up to.
This weekend, on Dec. 13, De la Hoya and Co. put their premier prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. (14-0, 14 KO) up against a tricky veteran in Brad Solomon (28-1, 9 KO), to be aired by DAZN. It is either a case of inexplicable matchmaking, setting up their young puncher to meet his stylistic foil, or perhaps the case of an aging welterweight in perfect position to finally be stopped inside the distance which would do wonders for a surging tyro like Ortiz.
Ortiz is is one of Golden Boy’s remaining commodities. Still just 21, the Texas-born welterweight could be helping bolster shows headlined by more established company men like Canelo or Jaime Munguia. But considering the tension brewing between Oscar de la Hoya and Canelo Alvarez, and given Ryan Garcia’s mixed reception, talent is being spread thin to fill the schedule, leaving no choice but to again push Ortiz to the top of the bill. This weekend represents his second headliner in a row.
In August, Ortiz destroyed former world champion Antonio Orozco, scoring three knockdowns, and punched in a vicious sixth-round knockout. The KO bought one name to mind, that of Jose Ramirez, who went 12 strenuous rounds with Orozco and was unable to close the show. In fact Orozco had never been stopped until he met Ortiz, who barely old enough to drink conceivably one up’d a unified beltholder. In all it was Ortiz’s third win of the year.
Earlier in 2019, Ortiz backed up both Canelo and Munguia, competing on their undercards. He was successful in orchestrating knockouts each time. The knockouts have been rolling in for Ortiz ever since turning professional. Yet to go to the cards since his amateur days. He sparked Jesus Vargas in February. Valdez, of Mexico, had only been stopped once before in almost 30 fights. Months later, Ortiz’s opponent was better known, one Mauricio Herrera, who had previously never come unstuck in his lauded career. Ortiz changed that with a right cross from hell that ended Herrera’s night in the third round. This one of the division’s most avoided boxers for having outboxed Danny Garcia, Jose Benavidez Jr. and others, slumped in under nine minutes by a kid.
Technically Ortiz was an adult, just 18, when Golden Boy Promotions picked him up—opting for De la Hoya over Top Rank who also had immense interest. His talent would soon match the hype surrounding his remarkable ammy record of 140-20. Ortiz linked up with Robert Garcia by 2018. And his first fight training out of Oxnard was on national TV, where he took apart former titlist Jose Carlos Salgado.
For Ortiz’s prodigious ways, a fight with Solomon may seem like a step backwards from a tested warrior like Orozco. After all the American Solomon is unranked and relatively inactive, fighting just twice since the Spring of 2016. However a close examination of his record reveals the fruits to bear for Ortiz if he can impose real punishment onto his older opponent.
Solomon, 36, is probably best known for his appearance on the star-studded undercard in support of Manny Pacquiao’s third engagement with Tim Bradley, battling the touted Konstantin Ponomarev. The welterweight out of Georgia had climbed his way out of the regional ranks, defeating a handful of names that do not look so bad in hindsight: divisional spoiler Ray Robinson, network drudge Freddy Hernandez, former title contender Demetrius Hopkins, and PBC’s resident brawler Adrian Granados.
Never knocked out, the only loss to Solomon’s name came that night to Ponomarev, by split-decision. He racked up a few rounds early on. And while he was severely outworked down the stretch, he utilized a brand of awkward positioning to stick his man with some hard shots.
Most recently, Solomon took part in the Sulaiman World Invitational welterweight tournament. In the opening round he got off the canvas against Belfast popularizer Paddy Gallagher to win on points. Too bad that was 19 months ago because while Solomon waited for the tourney to continue, the operation ultimately collapsed. Closer to 40 than 30 now, Solomon’s time has passed. His duty to the sport is of a stern test to its hottest up-and-comer.
Championship castaways and championship hopefuls fill undercard
Squash matches are nothing strange for boxers and Alberto Machado (21-2, 17 KO) is taking advantage of the concept. Coming off two disastrous losses, dropping his championship belt in the process, the Puerto Rican sharpshooter is taking on former Olympian Luis Porozo (14-1, 7 KO) in desperate need of a win.
Machado could use a pick-me-up after two beatings from Andrew Cancio. He entered their first fight having twice defended his super featherweight strap and was a huge favorite to spin a third. Listed as high as -2000 to retain his title, Machado found out Cancio had his own plans and punched holes into the defending champion’s midsection en route to a fourth-round knockout. The two did it again and the results only got worse for Machado, this time losing in the third period. He’s wise not to waste anymore time on the sidelines, embarking on his third fight of the year.
The weekend also represents Porozo’s third bout of 2019. First, in May, he picked up a routine win over a palooka with a record of 8-3. Those were the kind of nobodies he ran up his perfect record against. So when Porozo next found himself fighting against a live body on ShoBox in American Giovanni Mioletti, he was seen outworked, visibly gassed, and despite his Olympic background, refused to employ a jab. Mioletti earned a clear decision victory.
Further down the card, undefeated Canadian-transplant Erik Bazinyan (18-0, 7 KO) is back in action. His name was in the news a few months ago when the WBO positioned him to fight in a title eliminator for a shot at super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. But it never materialized as a shoulder injury kept him from the ring. So to shake the ring rust off, Bazinyan as a tuneup with Mexican veteran Saul Roman (45-13, 37 KO).
Younger by over a decade, the 24-year-old Bazinyan entered the pro ranks off a remarkable amateur record, supposedly losing just once in 109 fights in headgear. He is a proud Armenian by birth before migrating to Canada and fighting through Montreal’s regional circuit. In May, Bazinyan got his first opportunity under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, when he faced another Mexican boxer, Alan Campa, and while he took a major welt on his head for his trouble he was ultimately awarded a wide unanimous decision victory.
Roman took this fight on days notice. He picked up two knockouts this year against the lowest reaches of the talent pool—for example his last opponent had a record of 1-12. He is a serviceman of nearly 60 fights, plying his trade since the turn of the millennia—turning pro at welterweight, too boot. All told it is not likely Roman hears the final bell.
Canelo vs. Jacobs Undercard Results: Diaz and Ortiz Shine with Stoppages
By: William Holmes
The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s middleweight showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs on the DAZN Streaming network.
The main card started at 9pm, and the undercard before the main card featured a shocking 13-1 underdog upset by Anthony “Juice” Young of Pleasantville, New Jersey over former junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali by a third round stoppage.
The first fight of the main card was in the super featherweight division Jonathan Oquendo (30-5) and Lamont Roach Jr. (18-0-1).
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Oquendo was pressing forward early and able to land some shots that forced blood to come from Roach’s nose.
Roach was landing some solid hooks on Oquendo in the second round, but Oquendo was banging to the body and applying heavy pressure. Oquendo was warned in the third round for holding Roach and to keep his head up.
Oquendo had Roach hurt badly in the fourth round with some body shots that forced Roach to hold on for most of the round. However, Roach turned the tide back in his favor in the fifth round by landing some heavy shots, though he landed one at a time instead of throwing combinations.
Oquendo’s activity likely won him the sixth round, and he was the more active fighter in the seventh also though Roach did land some hard counters.
Oquendo lost a point in the eight round for an headbutt which was a little bit questionable. The final two rounds played out like most of the fight, with Oquendo pressing the pace but Roach landing the cleaner shots.
The judges scored it 97-92, 97-92, and 96-93 for Lamont Roach Jr.
The next bout of the night was Freddy Fonseca (26-2-1) and Joseph Diaz (28-1) in the super featherweight division.
Fonseca and Diaz both fought out of a southpaw stance, and this was Fonseca’s first fight in the United States.
Diaz looked strong and healthy at 130 pounds, and landed heavy body and head shots early on. By the third round it was clear that Diaz was clearly the superior fighter, and had landed 50% of his power shots by the fourth round.
Fonseca had a decent fifth round, though was still out struck and out landed by Diaz. Diaz brutalized Fonseca in the sixth round and out landed him 30-4 in punches and scored a late round knockdown when Fonseca was forced to take a knee.
Diaz continued to land power shots at will in the sixth round and forced Fonseca’s corner to step up and stop the fight.
Joseph Diaz wins by TKO at 2:07 of the seventh round.
The co-main event of the night was between Vergil Ortiz (12-0) and Mauricio Herrera (24-8) in the welterweight division.
Herrera looked a little soft going into the ring, but he was a rugged veteran who’s been in the ring with some tough fighters.
Ortiz showed off his power early by being patient and solving the jab of Herrera and hurting him with a left hook at the end of the round. Ortiz remained patient in the second round and badly hurt Herrera at the end of the round and forced a knockdown as the round came to an end. Herrera got back to his feet, but was badly hurt as he returned to his corner.
Ortiz came out blazing in the third round and landed a crushing straight right hand that sent Herrera to the mat and forced the referee to stop the bout.
Vergil Ortiz wins by TKO at 0:29 of the third round.
Vergil Ortiz Ready To Hit New York
By: Sean Crose
With an impressive record of 11-0 with 11 knockouts, Texas native Vergil Ortiz is beginning to make a name for himself in the super lightweight division. The fact that the Golden Boy promoted fighter is now on his way to hit the Big Apple for one of the biggest fight cards of the year serves as an indication as to just how highly Ortiz is starting to be regarded. “It feels great,” he tells me of the upcoming experience. “I’ve never been to New York.” Now, the man isn’t only heading to the city that never sleeps, he’s taking part in the Canelo Alvarez – Rocky Fielding undercard, part of a major night of boxing that will be aired live on the DAZN Streaming Service.
“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Ortiz says of potential opponents, though it’s clear Golden Boy is looking to showcase their fighter’s talents before an east coast audience. “My one hundred percent knockout ratio is really catching people’s eyes,” he admits, adding: “I don’t want to say it should…but I’ve really worked hard for it.” Not that Ortiz has always gone for the knockout. In fact, during his last two bouts Ortiz wasn’t expecting the knockout to happen. “I wasn’t looking for it,” he says of his most recent opponent. “Both of us didn’t see it coming.”
Ortiz is happy to still be trained by Robert Garcia, brother of Mikey, former champion in his own right, and now famous cornerman. “I’m training in California,” says Ortiz of his preparation for the December matchup. “I get all the sparring done up here.” Ortiz makes it clear, however, that he stays in shape even when he’s not preparing for a fight. When it’s time to settle down, he heads west for Garcia’s tutelage. If things keep going at the pace they are, Ortiz and Garcia will be seeing a lot of each other in the upcoming year.
Provided he wins in New York, Ortiz aims to fight “four or five times” in 2019. Although it’s hard not to notice a man with Ortiz’ impressive resume to date, Ortiz is “taking things step by step” in order to secure an impressive future. Appearing on DAZN may well be a promising development. The streaming service, along with other streaming services like ESPN+, may well symbolize the future of boxing. As for the moment, Ortiz keeps life simple, focusing on matters like daily training and playing guitar in his free time.
“I’m playing it pretty much every day,” he says.
Vergil Ortiz KO’s Former Champ Juan Carlos Salgado on ESPN2 Saturday
By: Ken Hissner
Golden Boy Promotions featured 20 year-old hot unbeaten knockout artist Vergil Ortiz, Jr. against former world champion Juan Carlos Salgado at the Belasco Theater, in L.A., CA, Saturday night over ESPN2.
In the Main Event Super lightweight Vergil Ortiz, Jr., 10-0 (10), of Dallas, Texas, knocked out the former IBF & WBA Super Featherweight champion Juan Carlos Salgado, 27-9-1 (16), of Mexico City, MEX, at 1:52 of the third round of a scheduled 10.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Page
In the first round Ortiz rocked Salgado with a left hook to the head. Halfway through the round Ortiz landed a left hook to the solar plexus of Salgado. In the second round Salgado drove Ortiz back several steps landing four unanswered punches. Ortiz was warned for pushing Salgado to the canvas on the back of his neck. Ortiz landed a right hand to the chin driving Salgado to the ropes.
In the third round Ortiz landed half a dozen unanswered punches driving Salgado into the ropes. Both fighters exchanged right hands. Ortiz landed a left hook to the liver and down went Salgado causing referee Raul Caiz to wave it off.
“I do not want to get ahead of myself but I am looking to become a champion,” said Ortiz. At ringside, trainer Joel Diaz, Sr., proclaimed how great of a prospect Ortiz is whom he helped train.
In the co-feature Super Featherweight Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr., 14-0 (5), of San Antonio, TX, defeated Roger “The Kid” Gutierrez, 19-2-1 (16), of Maracaibo, VZ, over 8 rounds.
In the first round coming off his first loss Gutierrez is pressing Tanajara looking for a quick stoppage. Gutierrez was warned for hitting behind the head by referee Wayne Hedgpeth. Tanajara came back landing a left hook south of the border and receiving a warning. In the second round it was much closer with Tanajara giving as much as taking.
In the third round the highly regarded Tanajara started getting more offensive landing a double left hook to the body and head of Gutierrez. Tanajara rocked Gutierrez with a lead right hand to the head with less than a minute left in the round. In the fourth round both fighters exchanged right hands to the head.
Tanajara drove Gutierrez into the corner of the ring with a right hand to the chin.
In the fifth round Gutierrez landed a straight right to the chin of Tanajara. Gutierrez got a warning about using his head in clinches from the referee.
Tanajara worked his way back into the fight the past several rounds. In the sixth round once again Gutierrez looked to the ref for help and got hit with a right hand from Tanajara to the head. The fight seems about even at this point.
In the seventh round Gutierrez is getting spun around and holds Tanajara twice receiving warnings. Tanajara landed a left hook and when he tried it a second time he missed and ended up on the canvas. In the eighth and final round the clinching continued with the fight on the line one would think both would be looking to win the round not wrestle. Gutierrez landed several punches before taking a right to the head from Tanajara. Tanajara landed a right to the head of Gutierrez causing a cut over the left eye. I counted 8 clinches in this the final round.
Scores were 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74. This writer had it 77-75.
Super Welterweight Ferdinand Kerobyan, 9-0 (5), of Armenia now in Glendale, CA, stopped Edgar Ivan “El Profe” Garcia, 7-17-1 (2), of Sonora, MEX, at 2:48 of the 2nd round of a scheduled 6 rounds.
In the first round the taller Kerobyan gave a punishing beating to the body for the entire round. In round 2 Garcia got in a couple of punches but Kerobyan took over with more of a body beating until Garcia finally fell to a knee forcing referee Raul Caiz to wave it off. “I want to return to 147,” said Kerobyan. He had a big amateur career in Europe.
Vergil Ortiz: “My Ultimate Goal Is To Be Remembered”
By: Sean Crose
“I have like four or five guitars,” super lightweight Vergil Ortiz tells me. “I got into music when I played Guitar Hero.” It’s not often that a contemporary fighter – perhaps with the exception of woodwind practitioner Keith Thurman – is known for a love of instruments. An interesting thing about Ortiz, however, is that he’s quite open to talking about an area of interest outside of the ring. “I like to play guitar or piano,” he explains. It was being exposed to the piano, in fact, that led to Ortiz discovering an interesting truth about himself. “I realized I kind of have an ear for music.”
Ortiz sees music as an outlet, a chance to be himself, after six full days of training a week. After four to six miles of daily roadwork and other grueling weekly routines (“Every other day we spar”) Ortiz appreciates his spare time. “I like to play my guitar or piano,” he says. Still, the 9-0 Texan knows that his primary focus has to be his ring career. When I ask if he has a wife, girlfriend or children, Ortiz makes it clear that there will be time for such fulfillment in the future. “I’m just focused on boxing right now,” he tells me. “That’ll all come later.”
A native of Grand Prairie, “a pretty big small town” outside of Dallas, the undefeated Ortiz is developing the reputation for having Texas sized power. None of the 20 year old’s fights have gone the distance. All of Ortiz’ opponents, without exception, have succumbed to the fury of the man’s gloved fits. Not that Ortiz is always looking to call it an early night each and every time. “They just come when they come,” he says of the KOs. “If I could go the distance, that would be great.” In order for such a thing to happen, however, Ortiz will have to find the opponent who can withstand his power.
“My dad took me to the gym after school,” Ortiz says of his start in boxing. “They put me in to spar with no training.” The older Ortiz was himself a boxer, though “he never went pro.” The younger Ortiz, who has “two brothers and three sisters,” is carrying the family legacy into the professional ranks, however. And yes, boxing is still a family affair. “My dad’s been my coach, “says Ortiz. Legacy is an important thing to the fighter. “My ultimate goal is to be remembered in boxing,” he claims.
Asked who throughout history he’d have liked to fight, Ortiz gives the honors to the late Arturo Gatti. “For me he was the toughest of the tough,” he says. Other fighters the man admires are Sergio Martinez, the late Salvador Sanchez, and the Golden Boy himself, Oscar De la Hoya. One Vasyl Lomachenko also earns a great deal of the man’s respect. “There’s a reason why he’s undefeated,” Ortiz says of the Ukrainian, stating that right now, the man called Loma “is the best fighter” out there. Like Lomachenko, Ortiz started as an amateur standout.
“It was good,” he says of his apprentice years. “I won seven national titles…most of my losses came when I was little.” It was during one particular tournament that Ortiz caught the eye of a company owned by one of his favorite fighters, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy. In truth, the promotional outfit was also interested in another fighter, but when the two rising stars faced off, it was Ortiz who emerged victorious. “I knocked that guy out in about thirty seconds,” he says. Since signing with the famed company, Ortiz has found himself in places like Vegas and even AT&T Stadium, near his home.
“It was pretty cool,” he says of that particular experience, adding that friends and family were on hand live at the stadium to see him knock out Ernesto Hernandez. In fact, Ortiz is finding himself becoming a known commodity. “I get it a lot,” he says of public recognition, “especially in my hometown.” Good things happen when one has strong backing. “I fought on ESPN five times already,” he claims. As for the immediate future, the burgeoning KO artist plans on being back in the ring soon.
Should he continue on his current path, Ortiz may well be able to add quite a bit more to that guitar collection of his.