By: Hans Themistode
Michael McKinson knew he was a heavy underdog heading into his showdown against Vergil Ortiz Jr. However, the relatively unknown welterweight contender was anxious to prove that he belonged.
Despite his unwavering self-belief, McKinson will be forced to wait a bit longer to prove himself. According to multiple reports, Ortiz Jr. has withdrawn from their March 19th showdown due to a non-Covid-19 related illness.
With the pair scheduled to face off in just a few more days, the entire card is in serious jeopardy. As of now, it’s unclear whether the co-main event between Blair Cobb and Alexis Rocha will be elevated as opposed to scrapping things entirely.
For Ortiz Jr., following the most productive year of his young star-studded career, the 23-year-old began knocking on the door for a world title shot. In 2021, Ortiz Jr. battled adversity in back-to-back showdowns against Maurice Hooker and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Ultimately, despite being pushed, Ortiz Jr. Continued his knockout streak, stopping both men in the seventh and eighth rounds respectively.
While McKinson knew good and well that most of the boxing world was siding with Ortiz Jr., facing an undefeated power puncher is something he’s gotten used to. In three of his past four ring appearances, McKinson has handed his opponents the first defeat of their careers.
In addition to Ortiz Jr. wanting to test the durability of his man, the heavy-hitting young star was set to enter the ring without Robert Garcia, his former noteworthy trainer. The two amicably parted ways several months ago. Now, the championship hopeful is trained full-time by his father, Vergil Ortiz Sr.