Vergil Ortiz tells Paul Wheeler about the moment people realised he was the real deal, and much more
When and why you started boxing:
I started at the age of five. My dad took me to the gym one day to check it out. I didn’t like it at first because they were just hitting the bags. But we went back the next day and they were sparring. That’s when I realised that I liked the idea of fighting someone. It was exciting.
Favourite all-time fighter:
I have two favourites. One is my stablemate, Jose Ramirez. I grew up watching him in the 2012 Olympics. He was a monster then and he still is now – he’s relentless. The other is Salvador Sanchez. When I was young, my dad showed me who he was. He was a badass fighter.
Best fight you’ve seen:
Victor Ortiz vs Andre Berto I. I want to be in a fight with that kind of excitement. It was a great back-and-forth fight. As soon as one of them started getting on top, the other one would come back and score a knockdown.
Personal career highlight:
My fight against Mauricio Herrera [w ko 3 – May 2019]. That’s when people started realising that I’m the real deal. It was also the moment when I realised that perhaps I’m better than I thought I was. It helped with my confidence.
Samuel Vargas definitely came to fight [w ko 7 – July 2020]. Every time I landed a punch, he tried his best to show that it wasn’t effective.
Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My best and worst attribute is the same. I won’t give any context, but it’s that I never stop working hard.
Spar every day, as sparring is where you learn the most.
My favourite meal is enchiladas, and my favourite restaurant is Texas Roadhouse. I love the sweet tea there. The bread is also great, and the steak too.
Last film/TV show you saw:
The last show I watched was on Netflix. It was called Fate: The Winx Saga. It was really good.
Have you ever been starstruck:
I’ve been starstruck once. Well, it was actually twice within a couple of minutes. It was when I went to a press conference to announce that I’d signed with Golden Boy. It was the same press conference where Canelo Alvarez was announcing his fight against Liam Smith. I saw Canelo getting ready for an interview and I thought to myself, ‘Damn, that’s Canelo!’ Then two minutes later, Oscar De La Hoya came up to me and said hi.
Best advice received:
If you’re ever involved in an argument with someone, remember that it’s you two versus the argument and not you two versus each other.