Vergil Ortiz Jr. Cried Before His Last Fight, Believing His Career Was Over

Vergil Ortiz Jr. Cried Before His Last Fight, Believing His Career Was Over

Vergil Ortiz Jr. says he cried, thinking his career was over, before passing out before his last fight against Michael McKinson. Ortiz Jr. (19-0, 19 KOs) states that he wasn’t ill with rhabdomyolysis. He was severely dehydrated from draining down to 147, trying to make weight.

(Photo Credit: Cris Esqueda / Golden Boy Promotion)

Now, a year and a half later, the 25-year-old Ortiz Jr. will be fighting at 154 this Saturday, January 6th, against Fredrick “General Okunka” Lawson (30-3, 22 KOs) at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The event will be shown on DAZN.

Vergil Jr. had been very active with his career through 2019, but things fell apart for him beginning in 2020, with him fighting just once a year though 2022. In 2023, Ortiz didn’t fight at all.

Despite moving up in weight by seven pounds, Ortiz still looks drained, but hopefully, he won’t pass out or need to cancel. If he has problems this time, he’ll probably need to move up to 160.

Ortiz has a beatable opponent in 34-year-old Lawson, so he should win even if he’s drained on Saturday night. Where he could have problems if he takes on one of the champions next and he’s not at his best.

“Right before I passed out before my last fight, I broke down crying, because I thought my career was over. It was a really tough time,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. to Fight Hub TV when asked if it ever crossed his mind that he might have to retire due to his health issues.

“I tried to distract myself. I went to some concerts. I’m not over it. I still have two more days, 48 hours. Until I fight again, step in that ring, and win in dominating fashion, then I’ll go over it.”

It’s good that Ortiz Jr. is finally back, but he’s not out of the woods yet. For someone as young as him to be repeatedly breaking down with health issues, you have to believe he’ll continue to have problems as he nears 30, especially if he’s looking as drained as he was today.

He looks like he’s still having problems making weight, which means he needs to move up to 160 or 168.

“People thought it was Rhabdo, but I was dehydrated severely,” said Ortiz about the last time he was ill. It was really bad [trying to cut down to 147]. If I can’t do it no more, I can’t do it no more.

“I fought ‘Mean Machine’ in August of 2021, and then I fought McKinson in 2022 in the same month. It was too long. After the McKinson fight, I was expecting to fight Stanionis that same year, and that was going to be my last 147 fight.

“So, we already knew this was going to be my last one. We pushed it too long, but that’s not my fault, though. We were ready. I feel great. I’m comfortable here [at 154]. I have a lot of energy, and I’m ready to go.

“I feel the same. Nothing has really changed, and that’s a good thing. It feels familiar to when I was at my best. I’m at my best right now. People overlook me now, and a lot of fighters do too, and I hope they do, and I hope they find out that’s not the case.

“I’m a prideful person. I have a lot of pride in what I do. So for someone who sits behind a computer to tell me that I’m done, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Ortiz.

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