If you aren’t familiar with Golden Boy rising super lightweight star Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0, 12 KOs) get ready to know him.
After former middleweight world titleholder David Lemieux, due to move up to the super middleweight division on May 4, suffered a right-hand injury, causing his 12-round bout with John Ryder to be canceled. Thanks to the injury, Ortiz Jr. will have the opportunity of a lifetime as his scheduled 10-round welterweight battle against Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-8, 7 KOs) will now be the co-main event of Canelo vs. Jacobs
“This is a great opportunity for fans all over the world to get to know me,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. “Everyone will be watching this event, so I look forward to showing boxing fans what I’m made of. It’s very hard to look good against Mauricio Herrera. World champions have fought him and have looked bad. If I can look good and be the first to ever stop him, then I’ll be making a big statement.”
Since debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz Jr. has never heard the final bell of a fight, and he hopes to retain his 100% knockout ratio in the toughest fight of his career. The Dallas native will return after defeating Jesus Valdez in January of this year.
Ortiz Jr. will move up to welterweight for this fight only, and he plans to make a statement to the fighters of the 140-pound weight division, where the 21-year-old plans to return after this tough test.
“This will be a big test for Vergil Ortiz Jr.,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This young man has all that it takes to become a dominant world champion, so it’s only fitting that a prospect like him gets the opportunity to be the co-main event of a Canelo fight. At the same time, we know the kind of fighter Mauricio Herrera is. He has a lot of experience and has been in close fights with the best of his division, including what we all know was a win against Danny Garcia. If Ortiz Jr. can look spectacular against Herrera, then he will demonstrate what we already know that he is the real deal.”
Herrera, a former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion, is a longtime veteran of the sport. The 38-year-old of Riverside, Calif. has faced a veritable who’s who of the welterweight and super lightweight division, including fights against Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov, Mike “Mile High” Alvarado, Danny “Swift” Garcia, Johan “El Terrible” Perez, and Jose “Merciless” Benevidez Jr., among others.
“Everyone knows the kind of experience that I bring to the table,” said Mauricio Herrera. “Whether it’s against world champions, contenders or prospects, I bring a tough fight to anyone. Vergil Ortiz might have bitten off more than he can chew for this fight, especially now since we are the co-main event. I’m happy for yet another opportunity, and we look forward to stealing the show.”