Ortiz: Golden Boy's shine isn't what it was

Vergil Ortiz recognises that the appeal Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins bring to Golden Boy Promotions may be starting to wane.

Golden Boy have gone from being the world’s most powerful promotional outfit – in the era when De La Hoya and Hopkins remained among the world’s leading active fighters and were supported by Golden Boy partners Marco Antonio Barrera and Shane Mosley – to secondary to Matchroom on DAZN.

With Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions also more influential in 2023, Golden Boy have become increasingly reliant on the 25-year-old Ortiz continuing to succeed.

On Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio he fights Eimantas Stanionis, and asked whether De La Hoya and Hopkins resonate with younger generations of fighters as they do with him, Ortiz responded: “I definitely see where you’re coming from. Growing up I watched [Manny] Pacquiao; [Miguel] Cotto; [Oscar] De La Hoya; Sergio Martinez. Even [Floyd] Mayweather; Shane Mosley; Kermit Cintron. It was that era right there – those are the fighters I was familiar with. 

“So of course I’m going to feel excited just working with one of those guys – one of the people I used to watch on HBO. HBO was the biggest boxing programme at the time. 

“All those fighters like that – Oscar has retired since then [in 2008] – I see what you’re talking about. How these newer fighters don’t – understand? – who they’re working with, is how I want to put it. That’s just how it is. They just don’t understand the magnitude, I guess.They don’t know how good these guys were.

“When I first met Oscar I think it was for a press conference for [Saul] Canelo [Alvarez]-[Liam] Smith in Arlington, Texas, at the Cowboys Stadium [in 2016], and I was happy to meet him. Bernard Hopkins wasn’t there. 

“I think I first met Bernard [who retired in 2016] when I made my pro debut, in Indio California [also in 2016, against Julio Rodas], and of course I was happy to meet him. Just being in that scenery – it was almost not real, because it was living legends right in front of me. Just there. Just, conversation and working – depending on what they’re doing. It’s quite an experience to be a part of that world. I remember them as great fighters.”

Ryan Garcia, whose relationship with De La Hoya is increasingly tense – Golden Boy recently filed a lawsuit against Garcia and his attorney and adviser Guadalupe Valencia to attempt to enforce their contract with him after Garcia's legal team sent Golden Boy a letter alleging violations of their promotional agreement – at 24 may be one such fighter.

Asked about his personal relationship with De La Hoya, Ortiz responded: “We haven’t talked in a while. We don’t text or call each other every day – it’s not a bad relationship. It’s just, I’m doing my thing and he does his thing. 

“I just talk to my manager [Rick Mirigian], and talk to my dad who also talks to my manager. My job is just to train. I don’t really deal with all the promoting and all that stuff. Unless we need to do some promoting – they need to come to the gym and do some photography – other than that I just do my job in the gym. 

“My miles; conditioning; recovery. That’s my job right there.”