SAN DIEGO, Calif., December 12, 2019 – While the big-name welterweights squabble about who’s number one and who’s ducking other top opponents, Vergil Ortiz Jr. of Grand Prairie, Texas quietly goes about his business.
The 21-year-old undefeated prospect with a 100 percent knockout rate (14-0, 14 KOs) hands his fans an early Christmas present on Friday, December 13 with his fourth and final appearance in the ring for 2019. Ortiz Jr. faces Brad Solomon of Lafayette, Louisiana (28-1, 9 KOs) for the WBA Gold welterweight title.
DAZN USA airs the entire card live from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Friday, December 13, starting at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT with undercard bouts, and the main events starting at 10:30 pm ET/7:30 pm PT.
As Ortiz Jr.’s fans have come to expect, he delivered a thrilling performance against the toughest opponent of his flourishing career in August. Ortiz Jr. went six rounds for the first time, stopping former title challenger Antonio Orozco of San Diego who had never previously been stopped. But Ortiz Jr. gave himself a poor grade for his performance, saying he would make improvements and learn from the experience.
“I can’t go as hard as I want to go, because if I hurt my sparring partner, I don’t want to finish them off and have them not want to spar me,” said Ortiz Jr. I still had that mentality going into the fight (with Orozco).” Trainer Robert Garcia was nowhere near as hard on Ortiz Jr.
Oritz Jr. continues to face tough veteran talents who can take him some rounds, such as Solomon. Solomon has only fought twice since a close split decision loss to undefeated Konstantin Ponomarev in 2016. Like Orozco, the 36-year-old Solomon has never been stopped and will give Ortiz Jr. some solid rounds.
“I’ve seen Brad Solomon’s record,” said Oritz Jr. ”I’ve seen that he’s beaten Adrian Granados and Ray Robinson, so you have to be pretty skilled to beat people like them. I don’t know how this fight ends, but you can all expect a great fight.”
“Vergil Ortiz Jr. is a great young prospect,” Solomon said. “It’s going to be a good matchup. I’ve been out of the ring for about a year, so I have to come back and beat this young fighter. I have to show everyone in the welterweight division that I’m still here.”
Spence Jr. in Ortiz Jr.’s gunsights
Ortiz Jr. says he’s set his sights on a dream fight with Errol Spence Jr., but at super welterweight. “Maybe in three years. I don’t see myself having an advantage at all. We both grew up in the same gym (in Texas). This would be a fight for the fans back home. It’s not about, ‘I think I can beat him.’ It’s just a big fight for the community,” explained Ortiz. Jr.
Imagine how good he’ll be with that seasoning a year or two from now. We can’t blame you if you start dreaming about an all-Texas showdown with Errol Spence Jr. and putting it on your list for Sweet Science Santa. Ortiz Jr. is truly that good.
At Thursday’s weigh-in, Ortiz Jr. hit the scale one pound over the 147-pound limit. He later reported via Twitter he made weight in 15 minutes, saying “Guys, just so we’re clear, the scale back home said I was half a pound under. By the time I did all the pre weigh-in stuff and finally checked my weight, we saw I was over a pound and I didn’t have time to lose it before the weigh in so I had to weigh. It took me 15 minutes to lose. That pound was easy, so please don’t think I was being unprofessional,” said Ortiz Jr.
Undercard cheat sheet: Machado moving up, Rocha and Perez clash
Former super featherweight champion Alberto “Explosivo” Machado of Puerto Rico (21-2, 17 KOs) moves up to lightweight in the co-main event. Machado returns to the scene of his two recent WBA Super Featherweight Title losses to Andrew “El Chango” Cancio earlier in the year. Machado starts his new quest for a title in a 10-round bout against Luis Porozo of Ecuador (14-1, 7 KOs). Porozo is coming off his first defeat by unanimous decision. “I’m very happy and excited to feel and bring my explosive power knockout back,” said Machado.
Super middleweight Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan (3-0. 3 KOs) will fight for the vacant WBA Continental Americas title against veteran Vaughn “Da Animal” Alexander of St. Louis (15-3, 9 KOs). The 23-year-old Melikuziev trains in Indio with Joel Diaz and appears in his first pro bout in his adopted home town. Alexander, brother of Devon Alexander, recently resumed his career after spending a decade incarcerated and is a formidable challenge to Melikuziev, having never been stopped.
Erik Bazinyan (23-0, 17 KOs) of Quebec, Canada will defend his NABA Super Middleweight World Title in a 10-round fight against Mexican veteran Saul Roman (45-13, 37 KO). Bazinyan, born in Armenia, wants to place himself in title contention in 2020 and he’ll need to look good in this fight to keep on track. He was floated as a possible WBO challenger for Billy Joe Saunders, but a shoulder injury derailed the plan.
Alexis Rocha (14-0, 9 KOs) of Santa Ana, Calif. will defend his WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Title in a 10-round bout against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-1, 11 KOs) of Newark, New Jersey. Rocha is a popular fan favorite in Southern California.
Luis Feliciano of Milwaukee (13-0, 8 KOs) training in Southern California defends his NABF Super Lightweight Title against Herbert “Ace” Acevedo (16-2-1, 6 KOs) of Garden City, Kansas in a 10-round fight.
Undefeated super welterweight Serhii Bohachuk of Ukraine(16-0, 16 KOs) hopes to maintain his perfect record and knockout rate against Carlos Galvan of Colombia (17-9-1, 16 KOs). It is Bohachuk’s fifth fight in 2019, after six bouts in 2018. He trains in Big Bear with offense-minder trainer Abel Sanchez. This fight will not last its scheduled eight rounds.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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