Every once in a while in the boxing world, a bolt of lightning strikes and a new warrior emerges from the ashes.
Vergil Ortiz Jr could very well be the next great warrior to storm the boxing world for many more years.
The Texan native is one of the most exciting and action-packed boxers in the sport today and if I’m being frank and I’m surprised not more people are hyping him up or talking about him facing the best more often.
In today’s breakdown analysis, I’m going to take a deeper look at Ortiz Jr boxing style and why I think he has the potential to be a p4p star.
You watch my video version or continue reading below:
First up a quick look at his background, if we look at Ortiz Jr’s background, he began boxing at five years old when he was introduced to it by his father. From here it looked written in the stars for Ortiz jr to be a success as he became a 7-time national champion and winner of the 2013 Junior Olympics. Finished with an impressive 140-20 record.
With such decoration as an amateur, Ortiz Jr was always going to get attention and would sign with Golden Boy in 2016, who no doubt have a plan on him becoming a big star one day.
It quite simply has been devastation for all his opponents, as he has so far has a 100% KO rate in the first 18 fights. While he was also named The Ring Magazine’s 2019 Prospect of the Year due to his flawless performances.
The competition is only starting to go up, but so far it has not slowed down the rise of Ortiz.
Vergil Ortiz Jr Boxing Style
Vergil Ortiz Jr. is a fighter who definitely naturally prefers to fight in a brawler pressure style. However, due to his extensive amateur career. He also has the ability to change it up and be a more classic boxer-puncher which I will explain later.
One of the first things you will probably notice about him is solid fundamentals, where he fights off a constant high guard defense and pressurizing footwork. His front foot always aimed at the opponent to close off the ring.
In most cases, he likes to fight at a very high pace and take advantage of his speed and power in the early rounds. Which a lot of opponents get overwhelmed by.
It also helps that he has fight-ending power with each of his strikes, which he aims to do as much damage to his opponent.
But now let’s take a look at finer details of his style and what makes him so effective.
No one of the first things you will see Ortiz jr throw is of course his jab. And the man from Texas like to throw this punch with power!
Every jab almost acts as a power shot for him as he will throw power jabs to the head and the body, And you can tell that these take the wind out of you!
You will also see him even doubling up his power jabs to continue pushing back his opponent.
He will also use this to take center ring and take control. While it also gives him the ability to feint often as the opponent doesn’t want to be on the end of one of these jabs.
See this in action below:
You can tell Ortiz’s natural instinct is to apply intense pressure and he really typifies the Mexican style of boxing. He absolutely relentless and aims to suffocate opponents with constant forward movement to distrust and rush their work.
He in that sense does really remind me of Julio Cesar Chavez with the end goal to get up close and break you down on the inside.
Ortiz Jr ring’s generalship must also be applauded and I can only see him improving in this area. Much like Chavez or even Golovkin. Ortiz will always try to maintain the distance from mid-range just in scope to fire and push them back to the corner or ropes with his power jabs and straight combos.
His competitors mostly don’t want to be on the ropes and will try to get out of the way, but Vergil will continue the pressure by sidestepping or using an L step to maintain the pressure.
The pace at which Ortiz does this makes it physically and mentally exhausting for his competitor.
Hitting the target and combinations
Now once Ortiz has you on the ropes, this is his opportunity to use his speed and power with his combinations. You will often see him throw combos with hooks, while he will also try to target the body with the left hook to the liver.
But he is always trying to change up the location and what punches he throws. This, therefore, makes his opponent get caught up or get the hell out of the way.
The other thing area I really like about Ortiz Jr, is you can tell he sees the whole upper body as a target to his arms, gloves, head, and body. It doesn’t matter where he so-called lands the punch, as he has enough confidence in his power to inflict damage.
As Andre Ward states:
The main goal is I want to beat you up and I want to break you down…young fighters today want a clean knockout reel kind of shot. But you gotta understand you might you may fight a guy with a tight defense and you gotta break him down…You don’t always have to hit the target (Clean punches to the head or body) you gotta understand that the whole body is the targetAndre Ward – Seconds Out
It also helps that he throws these combinations with such force that he knows over time his opponent will make a wrong move. Just take the fight with a hook where he punched his arm so hard he had to take a knee.
Another part of Vergil Ortiz’s game when up close is creating angles for himself. If Vergil is struggling to get a clear opening. He will use his footwork shift to the left or right to get a better angle throw punch.
As you can see once he does this his opponent then has no choice but to move or they could face a barrage of shots.
He will also sometimes do this center ring, by first throwing the jab or framing with the lead hand to occupy the guard before quickly changing the angle and throwing a punch.
This definitely adds another dimension to his game, and very often opponents haven’t been able to handle it. See this in action below:
As mentioned, early in this blog, Ortiz has a tremendous knockout rate and it’s no surprise when you combine all that I have talked about together.
You can tell just by looking at his face he has mean intentions with each punch and wants to do damage. This is something that you absolutely need at this level of fighting.
That killer finisher attitude of wanting to take them out.
The way he also does this is by generating power through the movement of his punching. You can tell Ortiz understands how to generate the speed and power through his lower body all the way to his punch and it’s no surprise when you see him knock out some opponents with ease.
Aggressive defense & counters
In terms of his defense, he obviously uses that high guard defense to catch and block shots away.
However, a high guard defense can not just work on its own with your hand-ups and you will be ok. You have to add other movements on top of this to be effective and work for you.
In the case of Ortiz Jr, he will look to slip left and right, constantly moving his upper body with the guard. Or he likes to give his opponent a tempting target. This can sometimes leave opportunities to counter back with a hook or big right hand and is often a trap he is able to draw his competitor into. (see image below)
The high guard defense can also leave you open to the body, so when an opponent targets this, he will simply move back or pivot out of the way while keeping his guard in most cases. (see image above)
The thing I like about his overall defense is although you wouldn’t necessarily consider him a defense boxer, he is very calm when taking shots on gloves. We are yet to see him truly panic and cover up, but due to his constant offense
Areas to improve
If I’m being honest, it’s very hard to see too many weaknesses in his game, personally, he can leave himself open for uppercuts and return hooks when on the inside. But has taken these shots pretty well on his chin to date. And I believe targeting his body would be an area to exploit, but he almost knows opponents try to do this and will counter you.
It will be interesting to see him face better opposition in the future with a similar style and if he is able to cope with someone near or at his level. As sometimes he can rush his work and get caught from time to time. He also throws a lot of power shots and you can’t help but think eventually he could gas out throwing so much.
At the moment there has also been no real need to box on the back foot, as his pressure game is very much playing to his strengths and overall style. But maybe being able to box on the back foot and take his time might be a sensible area when he faces better opposition.
Vergil Ortiz Jr for me is one of the most action-packed, exciting, and fun fighters to watch in the sport today. People can often downplay some natural pressure fighters as just being aggressive and having no boxing IQ.
But Ortiz Jr knows exactly what he is doing, he is coming to take you out, with his pressure, power, and intelligence.
I hope the opposition continues to step up for him in the years to come as there is so much to be excited about.
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