Vergil Ortiz Jr and his family have sacrificed more than most can comprehend to arrive at this pivotal stage of his career. 

Despite his undefeated record and 100 percent knockout rate, Ortiz (20-0, 20 KOs) has walked anything but a straight line to arrive at his matchup with former unified junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu, which will appear on the undercard of the Terence Crawford-Israil Madrimov 154lbs title fight on August 3 in Los Angeles.

Ortiz has switched trainers multiple times, from Joel Diaz to Robert Garcia, then Manny Robles and finally back to Garcia again. He missed out on multiple fights due to health scares related to rhabdomyolysis (a condition in which overexertion leads to muscle breakdown and potentially toxic effects on the circulation system and kidneys). Ortiz also had had multiple bouts with COVID-19, which may have been related to, or exacerbated by, his issues with rhabdomyolysis.

After having fought only three times since 2022, Ortiz, 26, will finally get a chance to put his struggles behind him against Tszyu.

But, according to his father, Ortiz can only move forward. There is no making up for lost time.  

“My son has lost his youth – he can never get that back,” Vergil Ortiz Sr. told BoxingScene. “He didn’t get to be a kid, and his health… so my son has given up stuff you can never get back.”

Yet Ortiz Sr. recognizes that sacrifice is the necessary foundation of nearly any career built by an elite fighter.

“All these guys that are great, they all have to give something up for them to be where they are at,” Ortiz Sr. said. “I don’t mean something small, [but] something that you can never get back.”

The elder Ortiz reflected on some of his own sacrifices, explaining that the extensive time spent with Vergil Jr. as part of his boxing career – long stretches in training and away at tournaments – may have strained his relationship with his other children.

“We have given up a lot,” Ortiz Sr. said. “We really have.”

But the hope is that these sacrifices have led to this moment, the payoff being a bout with Tszyu – which is already being touted as a potential fight of the year – and a career-best win.

In any case, the father is firmly in his son’s corner.

“I’m always proud of my son,” said Ortiz Sr. “Since he was a little boy, everything that he ever did. My son has had it very hard since he was a kid.

“Someone like him deserves everything he gets and more.”

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