Sunday Convo: Is Tim Tszyu vs Vergil Ortiz Jr a 'modern day classic'?

On Saturday night, Vergil Ortiz Jr. (20-0, 20 KOs) scored a first-round knockout over Fredrick Lawson (30-4, 22 KOs) on DAZN, which came with a controversial stoppage by referee Tony Weeks. Lawson seemed to be using his high guard to defend against Ortiz’s punches, but Weeks told Beto Duran after the fight that he saw Lawson’s eyes roll back twice, which prompted him to stop the fight. Lawson was upset at the stoppage, but in the end, Ortiz’s hand was raised in victory.

During the post-fight interview, Duran asked Ortiz who he wanted to fight next. “I’m ready for anyone. It felt like I’m back to doing what I usually do,” said Ortiz. “This is my calling; this is what I was made to do, and I want to continue doing this. There’s a lot of fighters that I want to fight, but Tim Tszyu, with all due respect, I want him next. He’s a hell of a fighter, and it would be an honor to take him next.”

Just like that, we were quickly reminded of who Ortiz is: a stone-cold fighter up for all the biggest challenges. Although the fight was at a catchweight of 156 pounds, he feels ready for all the big names in the junior middleweight division. Oscar De La Hoya even said his fighter Ortiz would travel to Australia to face Tszyu if necessary.

The WBO champion didn’t take long to respond to the post-fight callout. Tszyu posted on X, “Yo Vergil Ortiz, welcome to the “54 Club. I’m always keen for a modern-day classic.” Then, under their official X account, No Limit Boxing, which promotes Tszyu, posted, “When the (King crown emoji) Tim Tszyu speaks, you listen. George Rose is expecting your call, Oscar De La Hoya.” From the posts made by Tszyu and his team, it looks like this fight is something that they are interested in and maybe even have discussed in recent months.

Would the fans be excited about a Tim Tszyu vs. Vergil Ortiz Jr. matchup?

It’s tough to say if the fans would be excited about a potential Tszyu vs Ortiz matchup, as Ortiz didn’t last long enough to capture the imagination of the fans at that weight class. The anticipation was more about Ortiz making it to fight night than anything else. With Jermell Charlo’s status being unknown, Tszyu is left without a big name to fight in the division unless he moves up to middleweight to challenge one of the champions. A potential fight between Tszyu and Ortiz can be nothing less than explosive as both fighters come forward and do not back down or are intimidated by their opponents. It’s an action fight for the hardcore fans, and if made, it would not disappoint.

Are there any hurdles to move past to make the fight happen?

Tszyu spent his last few fights on Showtime, and with them being out of boxing, there appears to be an opportunity for Tszyu to make fights with other promotional companies. There is a good possibility that DAZN could make a deal with FOX Sports in Australia to stream the fight for the U.S. market if the fight is made. Also, De La Hoya seems motivated to make more of the matchups the fans want to see, so that doesn’t seem like an issue. The only hurdle I can see, which isn’t one, is that Tszyu intends to return for a fight in March here in the States. That can likely still happen, pushing the potential Ortiz matchup to May or June.

Tszyu vs. Ortiz is the fight that we didn’t know we all wanted but now that we all need. Could it be “a modern-day classic,” like Tszyu posted on X last night? Let’s see how all of this plays out, and if the fight is signed, it will be a date on the calendar that will be circled a few times.