Ortiz announces he's back after scoring first-round knockout

LAS VEGAS: It may have been waved off too soon but that mattered not to Vergil Ortiz Jr. who roared his way to 20 wins (20 KOs) after a flurry of punches sealed a first-round finish over Fredrick Lawson atop a Golden Boy Promotions show at the off-strip Virgin Hotels resort in Las Vegas.

Ortiz told ProBox TV earlier this week that, though he has recovered from his past illnesses and has returned to full health, he won't feel like he's back until he's in the ring with a win.

And so, when we saw him backstage and asked him about those words, he looked us in the eyes, smiled, and said: "I'm back."

Perhaps he's not the only one.

Golden Boy Promotions have held a memorable fight week in Las Vegas — the new hometown for its founder Oscar de la Hoya, who showed off his $27 million mansion in Henderson to ProBox TV this week, and told us of his grand plans to enhance the boxing landscape in this city.

Expect him to bring club shows to Vegas — something the city has lacked, despite the monstrous success of the big events last year like Benavidez-Plant, Tank-Garcia, Haney-Lomachenko, Spence-Crawford, Canelo-Charlo, and Benavidez-Andrade.

Expect him to deliver big events to the city's iconic venues like the T-Mobile Arena which is home to the Stanley Cup-winning Golden Knights, the $2.3 billion hi-tech arena The Sphere, and the $1.9 billion home to the Raiders; the Allegiant Stadium.

Garcia could headline a show at The Sphere, he told us. Munguia against Canelo could land at the Allegiant Stadium, he added.

The big months and years ahead, he said, started with Ortiz, who ushered the new year with a bang, sealing a quick-fire win.

Ortiz threw jabs, rights, whipping shots to the body, and had barely warmed up before referee Tony Weeks stepped in to withdraw Lawson from the contest too early. 

Lawson didn't even look like he was in trouble — not like Ohara Davies who was given the chance to get up from a knockdown in which he looked like he was dazed, on wobbly legs, and possibly concussed.

While Davies should have been prevented from taking further punishment, Lawson should have been given the chance to box his way out of trouble.

But, alas, he gets the L on his record.

Watch the highlights right here:

Per Compubox data sent to ProBox TV, Lawson landed just four shots from 35 thrown, while Ortiz landed 24 from 59 after more than a year away from the ring.

When speaking to ProBox TV and other reporters backstage, de la Hoya said he regarded Ortiz as not only the top 154-pounder, but the top boxer.

Ortiz, meanwhile, only had one name in his mouth — Tim Tszyu. He called him a top fighter. "Let's make this happen," he said.

It's unclear if that could be Ortiz's next fight, as de la Hoya may box him in March or April, but considering the fighter told ProBox TV this week he wants to compete three to four times this year, he, perhaps, might be in fights of that magnitude by the fall.

Ortiz vs. Lawson aired on DAZN.