As Vergil Ortiz Jr continues to climb in the stacked Welterweight division he’ll need bigger and bigger tests. Baring that in mind I’ve had a look through the rankings and found five fighters that he could realistically fight next that would also help progress him in his career.
The first fighter I thought of is Ray Robinson a fighter that has established himself as a gatekeeper to the division with his two draws versus top prospects Josh Kelly and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. He also gave Yordenis Ugas a tough fight and I rate Ugas as a top 5 welterweight due to in my eyes him beating Shawn Porter. Robinson is a relatively slick fighter who has shown that he can make it an awkwards nights work for prospects due to his style. This would be a good test for Ortiz too see how he deals with someone that isn’t willing to just stand in front of him and exchange blows. If he could KO or at least beat him convincingly then he would prove hes ready for one of the top guys at Welterweight.
The second fighter on this list is Omar Figueroa Jr. He comes in with an impressive record of 28-1-1 with his only loss coming to Ugas in what was a very one sided fight. Figueroa is a former champion at Lightweight but after struggling with the weight has moved all the way up to Welterweight. He would be a good name on Ortiz’s resume and is proven to be able to take a shot so could potentially take Ortiz late and test his stamina. If Ortiz could stop him that would make a statement to the division and again show hes ready for someone in the top 10.
The third fighter I thought of is Luis Collazo a veteran of the sport who has been competing at the highest level for over 15 years. While Vergil would be heavily favored in this fight Collazo could show him some veteran tricks and would also be a good name on Vergil’s resume. When a new prospect comes into the division its normally a good sign if they start adding all of the older guys to their resume as it gives them experience and also transfers the popularity from the old fighters to the new.
My fourth pick is Egidijus Kavaliauskas a two time Olympian who recently challenged Terence Crawford and performed well even though he eventually lost. I think this would be a significant step up for Ortiz but its one that hes capable of winning and at some point every prospect has to gamble. Kavaliauskas is a good fighter but hes shown when hes put under consistent accurate pressure he can be stopped and Ortiz fits that bill perfectly. Beating a recent opponent of one of the pound for pound best fighters in the world is a good look and could potentially set up an Ortiz Jr – Terence Crawford fight.
The fifth pick is a bit of a different one as no one in the USA will know who Sebastian Formella is. The reason I’ve picked Formella is firstly because he’s a decent fighter but not a top 10 or even top 15 guy in the division. Secondly is that he has the IBO Welterweight title and while no one really acknowledges it as a real title it would still be Ortiz’s first major belt and could entice some fringe contenders to fight him. I think Ortiz wouldn’t struggle too much with Formella and while he may go into the late rounds this could be used as a sort of stay busy fight before fighting the other names on this list (Apart from Collazo who I also think Ortiz deals with comfortably.)
Those are my picks for who Vergil Ortiz Jr’s next opponent should be and while I could name a dozen fighters I want him to fight I tried to stay realistic as wishful thinking is painful for us boxing fans. I personally see him winning a world title in two or three years and I’m excited too see who he fights next.