Earlier this year, Vergil Ortiz Jr. was in a battle against a potentially toxic and deadly disease. Now that he’s healed and ready to return to the ring after an absence of nearly a year, the potential welterweight star will face off against Michael McKinson to see if Ortiz is finally ready for a world title shot. Here’s everything you need to know about Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Michael McKinson, including the odds, their records and a prediction on who will win.
In March, when Ortiz was training for a showdown vs. McKinson, his team discovered that he was losing weight too quickly and that he was having trouble balancing. Doctors diagnosed him with rhabdomyolysis, a condition sometimes faced by elite athletes where muscle fibers die and then get released into the bloodstream. It can cause kidney failure and, in rare cases, death.
Only a few days before the Ortiz-McKinson fight, Ortiz had to pull out. But now, five months later, Ortiz says he’s healthy and ready to blast through McKinson.
“We were [originally] supposed to fight in January, so I was getting ready before that. We were basically in full camp mode right before that,” Ortiz said. “When I train, I’m like 110%. My body was going as hard as I could possibly go. Unfortunately, we didn’t find [a January date]; we set a new date in March. And I think with just all those months of just back-to-back with non-stop training, my body just couldn’t take it anymore.
“This time we had no fall-throughs with the schedule, and this time my body feels great.”
Ortiz has been on a rocket ride so far in his career, and at this point, it seems clear he’s good enough to 1) be a world titlist and 2) potentially find himself on the pound for pound list someday soon. But McKinson is undefeated, and he’s a crafty southpaw who will look to baffle the 24-year-old Ortiz.
“I’ll pick one thing out that I’ve got different than everyone he has ever faced. He’s never faced an undefeated fighter like me. He’s never been in the ring with someone that’s never tasted defeat. I’ve never tasted defeat. I don’t know what it’s like to lose,” McKinson said. “I’m a very proud Englishman coming to the other side of the world, coming to the lion’s den in an attempt to tame the young lion. He’s looked vulnerable in certain fights. But he’s not put a foot wrong, and he’s a great young fighter. But I have a different style than most people, a style that can expose most things in certain fighters.”
Here’s more info on the Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Michael McKinson showdown that U.S. viewers can watch on DAZN beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Michael McKinson odds
Ortiz is a huge betting favorite, so you can feel free to skip his money line of -2000 (bet $2,000 to win $100). The good news for McKinson’s fans is that he continues to become a wider underdog, meaning his payout will be that much bigger if he scores the upset. As of this writing, he’s a +900 underdog (win $900 on a $100 wager), up from +700 when the odds were first posted. If you like Ortiz to win by KO, it’s still -334, so unless you’re in a parlay, I’d probably avoid that as well. Since McKinson could be competitive for the first half of the fight, you could go with Ortiz to win by KO/TKO in rounds 7-12 at +137. Here’s what I wouldn’t do: bet on McKinson to win by stoppage at +3300 (maybe if it was +5000, I’d consider it).
If you were looking for a fun parlay for this weekend’s action of boxing (and this is only for entertainment purposes), I might take Ortiz to stop McKinson at -334, Maurice Hooker to beat Blair Cobbs at -250 and for the Marlen Esparza vs. Eva Guzman fight to go the distance at -450. That would give you a $122 profit on a $100 wager. Even that might not be worth it.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Michael McKinson records
Ortiz’s record of 18-0 with 18 KOs is flawless, and even though his competition has been even better lately (including victories vs. Maurice Hooker and Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas), he’s still scoring impressive stoppages. For what it’s worth, Ortiz has never faced an undefeated fighter before, and McKinson has not been knocked down as a pro.
McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) has four more pro fights than Ortiz, but he has not faced the level of competition Ortiz has (remember, Hooker was a junior welterweight world titlist and Kavaliauskas is considered a dangerous puncher and a B-level fighter). Still, even if his resume is filled with mostly unknowns, the combined record of McKinson’s last eight opponents is 109-8-3.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Michael McKinson prediction
Though he hasn’t fought in a year, I expect Ortiz to be sharp and ready to continue his quick ascent in the 147-pound division. He can be forgiven if he takes a little bit of time to figure out McKinson, because Ortiz’s opponent is such a crafty boxer. But eventually Ortiz will catch up to McKinson and extend his knockout streak. Say, Ortiz by stoppage in the seventh round.