SAN DIEGO, Calif., August 10, 2019 – Vergil Ortiz Jr. delivered a thrilling performance for his hometown fans in Grand Prairie, Texas. Facing the toughest opponent of his flourishing career, Ortiz Jr. overcame a good start by veteran Antonio Orozco of San Diego to take Orozco out by sixth round knockout. It was the first stoppage loss of Orozco’s career, coming after going the distance with unified junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez.
Ortiz Jr. remains perfect with 14 wins, all by knockout. This was his first fight to go as long as six rounds. Give Orozco (28-2, 17 KOs) and trainer Carlos Barragan Jr. credit for taking on Ortiz Jr. and making the fight the most competitive against the 21-year-old talent so far.
Orozco was good to his promise before the fight, staying close to Ortiz Jr. and backing him up with well-timed counter punches and pounding to the body. Several times in the first few rounds, Orozco had Ortiz Jr. on the ropes and no doubt made him feel the heat.
Orozco is willing to eat shots and can take a punch. But in the sixth round, something clicked in Ortiz Jr.’s head and he turned things up a few notches. He caught Orozco with a big left upper cut one minute into the round, and Orozco went to a knee. Thirty seconds later, Orozco had to take a knee again after a hard shot.
With half the round left, Ortiz Jr. showed he’s got the killer instinct great fighters need to take care of business. Oritz Jr. landed several big left hooks. The tough as nails Orozco weathered the first two, but the third one sent Orozco down on his backside hard, and referee Mark Calo-oy immediately waived off the fight at 2:16 of the round.
It was an action fight fan’s delight. Oritz Jr. landed 115 of 332 total punches (35 percent) to 57 of 323 for Orozco (18 percent), with 91 power punches for the Texan to 48 for Orozco.
Ortiz Jr. humble enough to learn from mistakes
Sporting a touched up face, a sheepish Oritz Jr. said after the fight, “I’m going to be honest. I don’t like what I did in the fight. For the first three or four rounds, I could have done better. We’re going to make improvements and we’re going to learn from this fight.” Ortiz Jr. thanked promoter Oscar De La Hoya and singled out matchmaker Eric Gomez.
“I just feel like I’ve been, I’ve been getting all these knockouts, I say they haven’t been getting to my head,” said Ortiz Jr. “But in the first round, I was too excited. I had to force myself to slow down. I’m going to learn from this, like I said.” Ortiz Jr. said once he settled down and listened to trainer Robert Garcia and returned to the original game plan, the fight came together.
Garcia wasn’t quite as hard on Ortiz Jr. “He looked very strong. I’m very pleased with Orozco’s performance also. What he did today, he deserves credit. He had a great game plan.” But even a great game plan wasn’t enough to slow Ortiz Jr down in the end.
Oritz Jr. needs to face a few more tough veteran talents who can take him some rounds. Imagine how good he’ll be with more 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. Ortiz Jr. is truly that good.
It’s a shame Orozco didn’t move up to the welterweight division sooner. He looked strong in his division debut and had he been in front of anyone but Ortiz Jr., things might have turned out far better for him. We look forward to seeing him back at 147 pounds again soon.
Franco and Negrete dance their way to another draw
Oscar Negrete of Colombia (18-2-2, 7 KOs) tried his best to spoil the Texas party and settle the score in his third fight with bantamweight contender Joshua “The Professor” Franco of San Antonio (15-1-2, 7 KOs). But the pair are so evenly matched both physically and stylistically, neither could get the better of the other despite giving it a great effort. Once again, the pair fought to a split draw for the second time. Scores were 96-94 each, and 95-95.
Negrete rocked Franco with upper cuts at times during the fight, including in the second round, sixth, and final round. Negrete stayed on Franco and put a hurt on the younger man at times, but he stayed on his feet and thanks to the advantage of youth at age 23, recovered nicely. Franco turned the tables and turned up the heat on the veteran, but Negrete fought with more urgency.
Was there a little home cooking involved? Negrete thought so. “Congratulations – they have a greater fighter here in Texas – but we’re in Texas and that indicates the result we had,” said Negrete. “I have to admit he knows how to assimilate my punches. Then he started grabbing onto me, and landing more.”
Franco believed he’d won. “I thought I pulled the fight off and landed the better shots.” How about a fourth fight? Franco said nah, but Negrete said he wouldn’t mind another match in the series.
Hector Tanajara delivers ten round shutout over Ezequiel Aviles
San Antonio native Hector Tanajara (18-0, 5 KOs) went ten solid rounds in a 100-90 shutout over Ezequiel Aviles of Mexico (16-4-3, 6 KOs). “El Finito” made easy work of it, never giving Aviles the slightest chance of getting into the fight. Tanajara isn’t the flashy type of performer. Instead, he stays focused on the job working behind solid fundamentals including a wicked jab. Tanajara landed 85 jabs to just eight for Aviles, and landed double the punches overall 150 of 473 to 65 of 419 for Aviles.
“Robert reminded me every time I came back to the corner, what we worked on in the gym,” said Tanajara. “I started catching him with the upper cut, started switching to the right hand, and everything started landing.” In the fifth round, Tanajara buckled Aviles with an upper cut. “It looked like he was out on his feet, but he’s a tough fighter and he kept fighting,” said Tanajara, who says he’d now like to take on Golden Boy stable mate Ryan Garcia.
Texas fighters make it a clean sweep on undercard
Super welterweight Travell Mazion of Austin (15-0., 12 KOs) returned after a bicep injury to notch a eight round unanimous decision over a determined Jeremy Ramos of Puerto Rico (11-7, 4 KOs). Known as “Black Magic,” he entered the ring to silence in honor of the victims of mass shooting in El Paso and Dayton. Mazion is a flashy fighter who likes to show off in the ring. He could tighten up his defense and do a little less playing around, but there’s no denying he’s fun to watch.
The Rincon brothers from Dallas both looked good, both winning in two rounds. Super welterweight Alex Rincon (7-0, 6 KOs) took it to took it to Joel Guevara of West Virginia (4-6-1, 3 KOs) in short order, winning at 58 seconds of round 2. Brother George needed a few more seconds, stopping Enrique Martin Escobar of Argentina (17-7, 14 KOs) at 2:13 of the round in their super lightweight bout.
Super bantamweight Hector Valdez of Dallas (11-0, 7 KOs) won a six round unanimous decision over Rafael Alexander Delgado of Los Angeles (6-1, 5 KOs) by scores of 59-54 and 58-55 X 2R
Light heavyweight Joshua Juarez of Laredo (9-0, 4 KOs) won by unanimous decision over Emmanuel Sanchez of Michigan (7-14-1, 1 KO) in an eight round bout. Scores were 60-54, 59-55, and 58-56.
Texas teenage cruiserweight Tristan “Sweet T” Kalkrueth (1-0, 1 KO) made his pro debut in style, winning by first round TKO over Kynndale Prather of Kansas. It only took the 6-foot-4 tall, 17-year-old, three-time USA Boxing champion 42 seconds to get the job done. He celebrated with a highflying backflip. “I saw he was opened up, and the left hook was there,” said Kalkrueth.
In other action, super lightweight Marcelino Nicolas Lopez of Argentina (36-2, 21 KOS) closed his fight in five rounds against Daniel Echeverria of of Mexico (21-9, 18 KOs).
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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