For the uninitiated who tuned in to see Vergil Ortiz Jr. ply his trade against Samuel Vargas in an empty Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, it took little time to see why Ortiz is considered the top prospect in boxing. Ortiz battered the gutsy Vargas before the referee was forced to step in and call a merciful halt to the bout just before the conclusion of the seventh round.
Wearing trunks sporting the name of Travell Mazion, who died in a car crash earlier this week at the age of 24, Ortiz (16-0, 16 KOs) looked to dial in his left hand, popping stiff jabs and cracking left hooks to open up a heavy straight right hand that parted the gloves of Vargas. The crisp attack left Vargas off-balance, ineffective and bloodied.
Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) , a rugged veteran, tried to pressure in the second round, attempting to push Ortiz to the ropes and work the body. But moving past the jab of Ortiz remained a puzzle Vargas was incapable of figuring out.
Ortiz remained committed to his powerful jab, snapping Vargas' head back round after round, patiently waiting for Vargas missteps to allow openings for blistering right hands. One such opening came in Round 4, with Ortiz blitzing Vargas with overhand rights and crisp left hooks, buckling Vargas' legs as punch after punch landed clean to the head. Vargas managed to clinch before ending the round trading shots in a fire fight. Vargas managed his best round of the fight in Round 5, pressuring Ortiz and landing his own combinations on the prospect.
A Vargas comeback was not in the books, however, and Ortiz poured on the damage in Round 7. Ortiz pummeled Vargas, sending blood flying from his mouth with every shot. With Vargas all but out, he resorted to tackling Ortiz to the canvas. Vargas tried to fight on. He demanded Ortiz hit him, an order Ortiz was more than happy to fill, landing shot after shot until referee Jack Reiss stepped in to sop the fight seconds before the seventh round came to a close. The official time of the stoppage was 2:58 of Round 7.
After the fight, Ortiz graded his performance "a solid B+," and called for a fight with some of the toughest welterweights in the game.
"I would like to fight someone like Danny Garcia or [Keith] Thurman," Ortiz said. "I believe those are very good fighters that I can beat. Let's make the fights happen. I don't think 100 percent that I'll win those fights, but that's the point of boxing. I'm not here to take the easy fights. I'm content with being in the hardest division in boxing. That's how I know when I win a world title, I earned it."