Vergil Ortiz maintained his stunning knockout streak on Saturday night, stopping Michael McKinson in nine rounds in Fort Worth. Texas. The win put Ortiz on the verge of a major fight at 147lbs, but who will the outstanding fighter face next?
The Nebraska native was in attendance as Ortiz wore down McKinson. But will he be in the ring with Ortiz next? Negotiations between Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. are currently ongoing. If that deal can’t be finalised, Ortiz is arguably the next best available contender.
- Will Maxi Hughes fight for a lightweight title after Devin Haney vs. George Kambosos Jr.?
- Tyson Fury? Oleksandr Usyk? Anthony Joshua? Who could Joe Joyce fight next?
- Tyson Fury issues ultimatum to Anthony Joshua to accept heavyweight title fight
- Cris Cyborg: 'It would an honor for me' to fight Katie Taylor
Ortiz would be conceding a ton of experience to Crawford, but the time to test himself is now, and assignments don’t get much more challenging than Crawford.
Not only is Spence vs. Ortiz an incredible fight for the state of Texas, it’s a fight that would quench the thirst of fight fans everywhere. The priority for Spence appears to be a unification clash with Crawford, but we know how frustrating that could be. Ortiz is worthy of a world title shot, and Spence granting him one would make for a great spectacle.
Suppose Ortiz has earned acclaim as the best emerging fighter at 147lbs, then it’s likely that Jaron Ennis will have plenty to say about it. The Philadelphia native has gone about his business quietly as he closes in on a massive fight of his own. Still, if a world title fight can’t be secured, a bragging rights battle with Ortiz early in their careers would surely deliver superb action.
With Ortiz and Ennis emerging as America’s brightest welterweight, Conor Benn is the man making a significant impact on the other side of the Atlantic. The British star has recently enjoyed a stellar run, obliterating several veteran names. Ortiz would represent a significant step up for Benn, but the profile of both men would ensure a big fight as they wait patiently for their world title shots.
Once considered the future of the 147lbs in the aftermath of the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao era, Keith Thurman’s rise was impressive. A July 2019 loss to Pacquaio should've been the platform to regroup, but Thurman took nearly three years to make his return. Nevertheless, the Florida man still believes he can operate at the highest level, and a win over Ortiz could prove that he’s right.