Vergil Ortiz Jr. is set to headline Golden Boy Promotions’ first show since COVID-19 brought boxing to a halt when he faces Samuel Vargas on Friday, July 24 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., live and exclusively on DAZN.
It was assumed that the spot would go to Ryan Garcia. However, a breakdown in negotiations between Golden Boy and the undefeated 21-year-old led to the change, with Ortiz kicking off the promotion’s return.
“I feel very honored to be the first fighter to headline a Golden Boy card after the pandemic,” Ortiz told DAZN News. “I know a lot of people will be watching, and I’m really excited to put on a performance.”
Ortiz is aware that Garcia was the promotion’s first option to return and saw what took place on social media when GBP’s founder, Oscar De La Hoya, took what many perceived as a swipe at Garcia in a tweet.
Due to Team @KingRyanG decision not to accept a July 4th bout, we will now return in late July with the future of boxing 🥊 @vergilortiz , more exciting details to follow @GoldenBoyBoxing— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) June 15, 2020
“I did my best not to get in the middle of it,” Ortiz said with a sigh. “Whatever happens, that’s between them. But I do hope for the best for Ryan.”
Both are deserving of the opportunity to headline. Garcia’s social media presence and last two fights ending in first-round knockouts against solid opposition have boosted his star power beyond just being an internet celebrity. Meanwhile, Ortiz may lack the online following that Garcia has outside of the ring, but inside the squared circle Ortiz has proven his worth with a perfect record of 15-0 — with every single victory coming by way of knockout.
15 𝙁𝙄𝙂𝙃𝙏𝙎. 15 𝑲𝑵𝑶𝑪𝑲𝑶𝑼𝑻𝑺.— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) July 21, 2020
The future of boxing is already in the ring. @VergilOrtiz is back this Friday. 🥊 pic.twitter.com/eh8Ow1C2lT
Ortiz is uninterested in causing friction between the stable’s two top young talents. For him, there is no competition between himself and Garcia. In fact, the two are friends who have known each other for over a decade.
“I’ve known him since the amateurs back in 2009, “Ortiz said. “We don’t talk every day but we go way back. I’ve always known he was going to be a great boxer and we’re just really good friends.”
Despite whatever friction there may or may not be between Golden Boy and Garcia, Ortiz is happy to see that his childhood friend is getting the spotlight. And it’s even sweeter when both have been pegged as the future of the sport.
“It’s even sweeter considering where we both came from,” Ortiz said. “It’s crazy just to see how differently things can play out for both of us and we kind of arrived at the same place. I mean, it’s kind of similar but there are a lot of differences. I just feel like we’re both destined for greatness.”