Mauricio Herrera, a savvy 38-year-old veteran, entered Saturday’s fight without a knockout loss in 32 pro fights, and that was against the likes of Danny Garcia, Jose Benavidez Jr., Sadam Ali, Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov.
A 21-year-old “little kid” ended that streak on Saturday with a brutal overhand right hand.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. recorded one of the best knockouts of 2019 when he landed that memorable right that had Herrera unconscious before he hit the canvas. There was no need for a 10-count, as the referee waved the welterweight bout over 29 seconds into the third round.
Ortiz, one of boxing’s top prospect not being talked about as much as Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia and Shakur Stevenson, will likely gain plenty of attention after that sensational performance in the co-main event to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs at T-Mobile Arena.
Entering the fight, Ortiz said Herrera told people at a local barbershop he wouldn’t be knocked out by a “little kid,” who’s 17 years younger. Both fighters train in Riverside, California.
Ortiz was a 35-1 favorite at MGM sportsbook minutes before the first bell.
In the opening round, Herrera created distance against the bigger Ortiz by using his jab. But Ortiz landed a straight right hand to give Herrera an early taste of his power.
In the final seconds of the second round, Ortiz broke through with an overhand right to stagger Herrera, but before he fell onto the ropes the bell had rung.