Welterweight sensation Vergil Ortiz Jr. continued his blistering path to the top of the 147lbs division with a dominant seventh-round dissection of the tough Samuel Vargas in their behind-closed-doors clash at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, on Friday night.

Ortiz (16-0, 16 KOs) was originally supposed to meet Vargas in March before the intervention of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The Californian had to take care of business without trainer Robert Garcia after he returned a positive Covid-19 test earlier on fight week (a second test proved negative). Vergil Ortiz Sr. therefore assumed responsibility in his son’s corner with no fans or media in attendance.

In retaining his WBA Gold title, Ortiz showed little sign of ring rust in the rearranged encounter, belabouring his Canadian foe from the outset. Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) suffered a bloodied nose in the second as a hefty onslaught continued, with the ringside doctor called between the fourth and fifth rounds over fears the Canadian was taking too much punishment.

Vargas responded gutsily in the fifth but thereafter the heavier hands of Ortiz took over, dropping his foe in the seventh but being pulled to the canvas himself in the process. That couldn’t save Vargas who was battered from pillar to post before referee Jack Reiss stepped in just as the round ended.

Ortiz’s endless stream of punishment accounted for Vargas in the seventh.
Photo: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions.

“I didn’t really notice fighting with no fans,” said Ortiz Jr. “I’m so focused on the fight. We usually spar without fans, so didn’t make a difference. I hit Vargas to the body a lot. I don’t know how he didn’t go down. He was hurt the entire time. I asked him, so I know he was hurt. I also knew it was time to take him out in round seven. If it had gone to eight rounds, he would have been hurt worse. When I take rounds off like that, I try to get used to the timing and make them miss some shots.

“I would like to fight Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman. They’re good opponents I can beat. I want to take risks. I’m not here to take easy fights. I’m in the hardest division in boxing, so when I win a title it will mean a lot more.”

A masked Jack Reiss holds Ortiz’s arm aloft after another stoppage.
Photo: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions.

On the undercard, light-flyweight Seniesa ‘Superbad’ Estrada (19-0, 8 KOs) needed just seven seconds to annihilate the 42-year-old Miranda Adkins (5-1, 5 KOs). 

Middleweight Shane Mosley Jr. (16-3, 9 KOs) scored an eight-round unanimous verdict over Jeremy Ramos (11-9, 4 KOs). Scores were 80-72 (twice) and 79-73.

Super-bantam hope Hector Valdez (13-0, 8 KOs) trumped Josue Morales (11-12-4, 1 KO) on the cards. Scores were 80-72 (twice) and 79-73.

Welterweight prospect Evan Sanchez (8-0, 6 KOs) dropped Issouf Kinda (18-5, 7 KOs) in the fourth en route to a points win. Scores were 60-53, 59-54 and 58-55.

Main image: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions.