Vergil Ortiz Jr returns to action on the first Golden Boy Promotions show, since the COVID-19 pandemic put boxing on hold against Samuel Vargas on Friday at Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, on DAZN.
The WBA Gold Welterweight is on the line in a rescheduled clash following the COVID-19 pandemic, as Ortiz (15-0, 15 KOs) makes a second defence against the well travelled and respected Vargas, (31-5-2, 14 KOs) who will act as a good yard stick as to just how good Ortiz is.
The 22-year-old looks like the next great Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy hope, and he has certainly made a perfect start, with all of his opponents so far in his professional career failing to hear the final bell.
The Texas native has stepped up in his last three fights in particular, beginning with a third round knockout of Mauricio Herrera in May 2019, who had been the distance with Danny Garcia, Jose Benavidez and Sadam Ali among others, and was stopped for the first time in his career.
Another man not previously stopped was Antonio Orozco, having gone the distance with Jose Carlos Ramirez for the WBC Super-Lightweight title in September 2018, but the Mexican was dropped three times and stopped in six in his meeting Ortiz.
Ortiz was last in action in December 2019, and yet again inflicted a first stoppage on a fighter not previously halted in Brad Solomon, who he knocked out in five rounds.
He will again look for a statement win this Friday, and he will face a gatekeeper that will further enhance his reputation with a good performance.
Canada-based Colombian, Vargas won’t come to roll over against Ortiz and has lasted the distance with some quality operators and World champions in a ten year professional career.
The 31-year-old has only been stopped twice in five career defeats, and they came against established champions in Errol Spence Jr in April 2015 in four rounds and Danny Garcia in seven in November 2016.
In just under two years, Vargas has had four contests, with two wins against two defeats.
These losses have also come in esteemed company where he hasn’t disgraced himself.
In September 2018, Vargas travelled to Birmingham, where he was dropped by Amir Khan in the second round, only to score a knockdown of his own at the end of the round.
Vargas was down again in the third, but gave Khan a lot to think about before going down eventually on the scorecards.
He bounced back by upsetting the 27-0 Argentine, Gabriel Adrian Pereiro in Toronto in December 2018, before giving former Welterweight world champion Luis Collazo all he could handle in a close split decision loss in March 2019.
Vargas was last seen in June last year, beating the 37-25 Silverio Ortiz by two points on all three cards over eight.
Prediction: Ortiz looks a special talent, and it’s a good piece of matchmaking to put him up against the tough and competitive Vargas. Vargas will come to win, and hasn’t looked out of place in encounters with Amir Khan and Luis Collazo.
I think Ortiz is destined for very good things though, and he can make a real statement by getting Vargas out of the line of fire before the halfway mark.
The co-feature sees another hot prospect in Hector Tanajara (19-0, KO5) taking on Mercito Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs) at Lightweight.
The 23-year-old has gone the ten round distance with three of his last four opponents, and Gesta has previously challenged for World honours, going 12 rounds with Jorge Linares as recently as January 2018. The 32-year-old is 1-2-1 in his last four contests.
There is an appearance on the card for the son of three-weight legend ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, as Shane Mosley Jr (15-3, 9 KOs) takes part in an eight rounder at Middleweight against Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 4 KOs).
Mosley is unbeaten in his last two fights after a wide points loss to Brandon Adams in 2018.
Ramos has lost seven of his last nine starts, and his last fight saw him knocked out in seven against Raul Curiel in October 2019.
The WBC Silver Light-Flyweight title is on the line over ten, two minute rounds as Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) defends her belt against the inexperienced, but unbeaten Maranda Adkins (5-0, 5 KOs).
Estrada was last seen winning the interim version of the WBA title ion the undercard of Canelo Alvarez’s victory over Sergey Kovalev at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas in November, beating Marlen Esparza on a technical decision after nine rounds.
Adkins has yet to go past three rounds in her fledgling career, and makes a massive step up to the ten round distance here.
The card is rounded off by Hector Valdez (12-0, 8 KOs) taking on Josue Morales (11-11-4, 1 KO) in an eight round Super- Bantamweight affair, and Evan Anthony Sanchez (7-0, 6 KOs) meets Issouf Kinda (18-4, 7 KOs) in a Welterweight six rounder.