By Jack Tiernan: WBO International welterweight champion Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs) will be facing #4 WBO Michael McKinson (21-0, 2 KOs) in the main event on DAZN on March 19th at a still to be determined venue.
This isn’t the fight that Vergil wants. He wants to challenge for a world title against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford. Still, he’s stuck defending his WBO International title against a British fighter that most American boxing fans will have never heard of before.
Ortiz will be a massive favorite in this fight, given his experience, power, and youth. This is a step down in competition from Ortiz from his last two fights against Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Maurice Hooker.
While McKinson is only four years older than Ortiz, he looks physically in his mid-30s and doesn’t have the youth or talent to compete in a traditional fight.
This fight could prove hard on fans’ eyes because McKinson is a runner, and he’s not going to change his style of fighting going up against the heavy-handed 23-year-old American Vergil.
McKinson, 27, is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, and he’s known for having a slick fighting style.
In terms of power, he’s rated low, and that means he’s going to be on his bike much if not all of this fight because he cannot afford to stand and trade with a power puncher like Ortiz.
McKinson will make life-changing money
Hopefully, the money that McKinson gets for this fight is enough for him to retire on because he’s not likely to be given another opportunity like this if he loses.
McKinson is more of a domestic level fighter who the World Boxing Organization gave a high ranking without beating anyone notable. McKinson’s best wins have come against these fighters:
- Przemyslaw Runowski
- Chris Kongo
- Luis Alberto Veron
Those guys aren’t high-level fighters, and they don’t compare to the talented opposition that Ortiz has been consistently fighting in the last four years.
“Unbelievable, on this schedule, this is the fight that makes me the most happiest because you get a kid like Michael McKinson, who was with MTK, boxed on MTK’s smaller shows, always as ‘the opponent,’ always in the away corner, always having to take fights that people felt that he shouldn’t have to take,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing.
“He [McKinson] stepped up on our show and boxed Chris Kongo, another guy that many people really didn’t want to fight, beat him, came on and beat [Przemyslaw] Runowski at Fight Camp, signed with us.
“Let’s have it right. The opportunity [to fight Vergil Ortiz Jr.] is everything, but the payday is something that will secure Michael McKinson’s future, and that is what the sport of boxing is all about.
“You talk about Kash Farooq. It’s a short career, and to see Michael McKinson go from where he was and what he had to go through to the biggest of stages and a huge payday,” said Hearn.
It would be interesting to know how much McKinson is getting paid for this main event fight as the ‘opponent’ for the A-side talent Ortiz Jr. It must be substantial for Hearn to talk about it changing McKinson’s life.
As long as McKinson is competitive and puts in a valiant effort, he’s got a chance to come again and get other big paydays.
Having watched several of McKinson’s fights, it’s difficult to predict a favorable outcome for him against Ortiz.
What we’ll likely see is McKinson on his bike, running around, frustrating Ortiz with his unwillingness to fight and angering the crowd, who won’t be pleased with seeing that style of fighting in the main event.
Hearn says McKinson can become an overnight sensation
“This is an opportunity to become an overnight sensation and beat Vergil Ortiz,” said Hearn on McKinson, having a chance to become a huge name overnight on March 19th.
“Don’t get me wrong. Vergil Ortiz, I rate so highly, but Michael McKinson has a style that is difficult for anyone, and if he can get in a rhythm, he can cause major problems to Ortiz,” said Hearn.
“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be brutal, but he has the opportunity, and I’m so pleased to deliver it for him. It’s going to be a massive night for him and Britsh boxing.
“March 19th out there, it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be really tough for him, but he’s up for it. This is the opportunity that he’s after, and good luck to him. Go and shock the world, son,” said Hearn about McKinson.