Welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. (14-0 14 KO) scored three knockdowns en route to a sixth round TKO victory Saturday night over former world title challenger Antonio Orozco (28-2 17 KO) at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, TX.
Orozco, who was the more experienced fighter, was poised on paper to be the toughest test so far in Ortiz’s young career. He had a decent record coming in, with his only defeat being a 12-round unanimous decision loss to WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez.
Ortiz, however, was fresh off of a third round knockout win in May over former world title challenger Mauricio Herrera, who had never previously been stopped in his career. With this win and the 12 other knockouts on his resume, the 21-year-old Ortiz appeared to be one of the most talented prospects in boxing going into his fight with Orozco.
In the opening round of Saturday night’s fight, Ortiz caught Orozco with a left hook to the body and appeared to hurt him with the punch. Orozco survived the round though, and came back nicely in the proceeding rounds.
Throughout the fight, Orozco continued to press forward and walk Ortiz down, throwing and landing to both the head and body. None of these shots appeared to bother Ortiz, who was clearly the more authoritative puncher of the two.
The young prospect seemed content to fight off the back foot, picking his shots and firing off an occasional combination while Orozco was pressing forward and letting his hands go.
In the sixth round, Ortiz wobbled Orozco with a right hand and followed up by throwing a barrage of power shots, sensing that Orozco was hurt and ready to be taken out. Finally, Ortiz landed a left uppercut that sent Orozco down on one knee.
Orozco managed to beat the count, but he was immediately swarmed by Ortiz, who continued to land massive power shots until he put him down a second time with a combination. Again, Orozco beat the count and rose to his feet.
Fighting on unsteady legs, Orozco was put down for a third time off of a left hook. This knockdown prompted referee Mark Calo-oy to stop the fight immediately with 44 seconds to go in the sixth round and thus extending Ortiz’s knockout streak to 14 in a row.
While successful against Orozco, Ortiz was far from satisfied with his performance.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t like the way I did in the fight,” Ortiz said in a post-fight interview with DAZN’s Claudia Trejos. “... I could have done way better. I’ve definitely got a long way as a boxer to reach that world champion status, but we’re gonna make improvements and learn from this fight.”
In the co-main event, bantamweights Joshua Franco (15-1-2 7 KO) and Oscar Negrete (18-2-2 7 KO) fought to a split draw in their third fight against each other. The official scores read: 96-94 (Franco), 96-94 (Negrete), 95-95 (even).
Their first fight in October of 2018 also ended in a draw. But in the rematch, which took place in April of this year, Franco was awarded the split decision victory.
Negrete started off the rubber match strong, stunning Franco in the second round with a right uppercut and forcing him against the ropes. After getting battered by Negrete in the second, Franco began to find his rhythm in the following rounds, landing some clean combinations along the way.
While Franco did recover well and get back into the fight in the middle rounds, Negrete was still coming forward and throwing lots of punches. In the closing rounds, both men continued to trade shots and fight a closely contested fight until the final bell.
Just like their first two fights, neither man was able to really separate themselves from one another, making rounds difficult to score. Franco and Negrete now have two draws against each other, with only one fight going Franco’s way.
In the main card opener, lightweight prospect Hector Tanajara (18-0 5 KO) outboxed and outpointed Ezequiel Aviles (16-4-3 6 KO) over 10 rounds to win a unanimous decision. All three judges score the fight 100-90 in favor of Tanajara.
Tanajara, who is more of a pure boxer, was able to stick and move the entire fight. He stayed behind the jab, and would follow up with the right hand or a combination when necessary. The 22-year-old Tanajara employed this gameplan from bell-to-bell and coasted to an easy decision victory.