Michael McKinson has never faced a fighter with the ability of welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr., his opponent on Saturday in Forth Worth, Texas (DAZN). He has stopped only two of his 22 opponents, meaning he’s not likely to hurt Ortiz.
The 28-year-old Englishman has something going for him, though: He doesn’t know what it is to lose. The confidence that comes with perfection and his tricky southpaw style could provide challenges for Ortiz.
“I’ll pick one thing out that I’ve got different than everyone he has ever faced,” McKinson said. “He’s never faced an undefeated fighter like me. He’s never been in the ring with someone that’s never tasted defeat.
“I’ve never tasted defeat. I don’t know what it’s like to lose. I’m a very proud Englishman coming to the other side of the world, coming to the lion’s den in an attempt to tame the young lion.
“He’s looked vulnerable in certain fights, but he’s not put a foot wrong, and he’s a great young fighter. But I have a different style than most people, a style that can expose most things in certain fighters.
“So I know I’ve got a hard fight ahead of me. I’ve got a big task ahead of me, but I know I’m very mentally capable of pulling it off.”
McKinson pointed out the stark differences between his start in professional boxing and that of Ortiz, who was a hot prospect out of the gate.
The native of Portsmouth did battle in front of 500 people at a cricket ground in his second fight; more than 50,000 watched as Ortiz fought on the Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith card in his second outing.
Yes, Ortiz (18-0, 18 KOs) had had advantages and resulting opportunities that relatively few others enjoy. That’s one reason McKinson hasn’t beaten any notable opponents.
Of course, he expects that to change on Saturday. He has the awkward style he mentioned. That could give anyone difficulty, at least for a while.
“You don’t get to 22-0, winning four international titles along the way for not being a good fighter, he said. “I believe I’m a very good fighter, but I haven’t had the opportunity to prove that I’m world-class. Along the way, I’ve never had the luxury of picking and choosing whom I get to fight next.
“I’ve had to take risks from early on and be on the ‘B’ side from early on to get to where I am right now.”
He couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity before him.
“I’m excited to be in Texas,” he said. “I’m excited to show more of my ability than I’ve been able to show in my previous fights because in my previous fights, I’ve coasted. Points win against good fighters, but I’ve not been in any trouble. I have not had to dig deep. I’ve not had to go somewhere that I’ve never been before and I know I’m going to have to in this fight.
“So I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited for Saturday, and I can’t wait.”
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