Home Columns Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Michael McKinson – Results & Post-Fight Report

Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Michael McKinson – Results & Post-Fight Report

Ortiz Jr stops McKinson in nine rounds in Texas

Vergil Ortiz Jr embraced with Michael McKinson after their fight in Texas on Saturday Photo Credit: Golden Boy
Vergil Ortiz Jr embraced with Michael McKinson after their fight in Texas on Saturday Photo Credit: Golden Boy

Vergil Ortiz Jr continued his 100% knockout streak and closed in on a welterweight world title shot with a ninth round stoppage of Michael McKinson in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday.

Ortiz Jr (19-0, 19 KOs) found the crucial breakthrough in the eighth round, flooring the previously unbeaten McKinson (22-1, 2 KOs) with a brutal body shot.

Although the Brit survived the round, another body blow in the ninth had him down again and despite bravely beating the count, the Brit’s spirited challenge was came to an end moments later as his father and trainer had the towel in his hand, calling a halt to the contest.

The welterweight pair were both unbeaten heading into the clash at Dickies Arena and met five months after they were first supposed to have fought, with Ortiz Jr withdrawing on fight week through illness.

McKinson beat late-replacement Alex Martin on points and was taking the biggest step-up of his career to date.

Ortiz Jr alongside his promoters Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya after beating McKinson Photo Credit: Golden Boy
Ortiz Jr alongside his promoters Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya after beating McKinson Photo Credit: Golden Boy

The American showed no signs of ring rust despite a year lay-off since his last fight, an eighth round stoppage win over Egidijus Kavaliauskas and looked to assert himself in a dominant opener, as he fired off his array of punches and gave his rival a reminder of his devastating power.

The 24-year-old, however walked back to his corner with blood dripping down the left side of his face after suffering a nasty gash following an accidental head clash.

McKinson, who was expected to give the home favourite problems with his slick, southpaw style had a better second round and managed to limit Ortiz’s success.

The Texan though was in almost full control by the halfway stage, constantly blasting the body to slow McKinson down and switching his attacks upstairs, although the visitor’s chin was standing up to the relentless onslaught.

The visitor was struggling to make a real dent in Ortiz Jr, although he was starting to establish himself by the seventh round and making his opponent miss more frequently than many before had been able to do so, with his elusive movement causing problems.

However, Ortiz Jr’s pressure was unrelenting and it told by the eighth round.

A wicked body dropped McKinson to the canvas for the first time in his career.

The 28-year-old southpaw rose to his feet and circled away from Ortiz Jr, as he made the bell for the end of the round.

Ortiz Jr, who was in unknown territory, past eight rounds for the first time pounced on his foe at the start of the ninth and with McKinson still clearly feeling the effects of the knockdown, another body shot ripped through and dropped him.

His race appeared run and with Ortiz Jr piling on the pressure, McKinson’s father and trainer Michael Ballingall had the towel in his hand and the fight drew to a close, with the Portsmouth man wincing in pain with what appeared to be a hip injury.

The fight served as a WBA world title eliminator with Ortiz Jr the number one contender behind ‘super’ champion, Errol Spence Jr and ‘regular’ titlist, Eimantas Stanionis.

Ortiz Jr was asked post-fight about a fight with WBO holder, Terence Crawford who was watching on from ringside, although a fight with either Spence and Crawford seems unlikely with the pair in negotiations to fight in an eagerly-anticipated undisputed title battle later this year.

“He’s a little tied up right now,” Ortiz Jr told DAZN’s Chris Mannix.

“But if the opportunity comes up, I’ll be more than happy to fight him.”

For McKinson, his stock will have only gone up despite defeat. ‘The Problem’ gave a more than respectable showing on the biggest stage of his career so far, against a world level operator who he took further than he had ever been before in a professional fight.

Esparza sees off Guzman

Marlen Esparza defended her WBC and WBA flyweight world titles with a unanimous decision over the game Eva Guzman.

In an all-action affair, Guzman (19-2-1, 11 KOs) put in a spirited display and had some inspiring moments, although the cleaner and more consistent shots landed from the unified champion.

Esparza (13-1, 1 KO) ran out a comfortable winner, reflected with two scores of 98-92 and another of 99-91.

Cobbs too strong for Hooker

Blair Cobbs got back to winning ways dropping Maurice Hooker three times on route to a well deserved unanimous decision win.

Cobbs, who bounced back from a knockout loss to Alexis Rocha in March, looked the sharper of the two from the outset and had Hooker (27-3-3, 18 KOs) on the canvas in the first round.

An uppercut followed by an overhand right had the hometown man on shaky legs and a follow-up assault dropped him to the seat of his pants.

Cobbs (16-1-1, 10 KOs) upped the ante further in the second round and in his most dominant round, he had Hooker down twice with straight left hands.

Hooker, fighting for the first time since a seventh round knockout defeat to Ortiz in March 2021 was urged to increase his workrate by trainer Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre and by Crawford, however he was unable to significantly trouble ’The Flair’, who boxed his way to victory in the final few rounds after sustaining a nasty cut, following an accidental head clash in the sixth round.

Two scores at 97-90 and another at 96-91 confirmed Cobbs’ victory.

Melikuziev eases past Janjanin

Bektemir Melikuziev continued his career resurgence after easing past the overmatched Slandan Janjanin in three rounds.

Melikuziev (10-1, 8 KOs) proved a level above Janjanin (32-12, 24 KOs) within the first 30 seconds of the contest, flooring the Bosnian with a vicious body shot.

The 2016 Olympic Silver medalist dished out more punishment in the second round, with a pair of hooks dropping the 31-year-old.

The end appeared inevitable and Janjanin bravely rose from the canvas after enduring another brutal shot in the third round, referee Neal Young stepped in.

Melikuziev is now unbeaten in three fights since a sole professional loss to Gabe Rosado.

Remaining Undercard

The aforementioned Alex Martin (18-4, 6 KOs) bounced back from defeat to McKinson last time out, climbing off the canvas to beat veteran operator Hank Lundy (31-11-1, 14 KOs) with a dominant performance in their super lightweight match-up.

The 33-year-old was forced to get off the floor in the opening round, but prevailed on scores of 97-92 (x2) and 98-91.

Elsewhere, Floyd Schofield (11-0, 9 KOs) extended his unbeaten record at lightweight with a fifth round retirement win over Rodrigo Guerrero (26-15-2, 16 KOs).

In the two remaining super lightweight bouts, Rohan Polanco (8-0, 5 KOs) knocked out Dedrick Bell (31-33-1, 17 KOs) in the second round and Carlos Nava (9-0, 6 KOs) stopped Rodolfo Hernandez Montoya (30-11-1, 28 KOs) in the fourth.

Figo Ramirez Gonzalez (2-0, 1 KO) picked up his second professional win with a unanimous decision success over Francisco Bonilla Zambrano (6-14-3, 3 KOs).