Young fighters need rounds. There is absolutely no substitute for in-ring experience. That was the idea Friday night at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. Brad Solomon (28-2, 9 KO), a veteran with a long reach and naught else but a disputed 4-year-old split decision win over Adrian Granados to his name, was supposed to give precocious welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. those rounds on a DAZN televised card. The bout largely went to script, with Solomon providing a slight puzzle before being overwhelmed and stopped by Ortiz (15-0, 15 KO) in the 5th round.
Ortiz opened the bout stalking aggressively, but patiently. Solomon appeared to be trying to figure out the younger man, or was just reticent to let his hands go. In the 2nd round, both men began to open up. For all the talk of Ortiz’s raw power, we often overlook how fast he is, and it was his speed bothering Solomon the most. By mid-round, Ortiz was changing levels and throwing hard hooks upstairs off of a heavy jab to the body. When Solomon tried to escape along the ropes, Ortiz didn’t blindly pursue him, instead using quick lateral shifts to stay out in front. Solomon had occasional success, but nothing he landed appeared to give Ortiz pause.
By the 4th round, Ortiz was using clever foot shifts and hard hooks to trap Solomon in place, shifting his attack between body and head during combinations. With a minute to go in the round, Ortiz landed a thudding jab that sent Solomon to the canvas. Solomon rose, fought back bravely, and survived the round, but it was clear the fight would be over shortly. Ortiz patiently battered Solomon throughout round 5, dropping his increasingly helpless foe with an accumulation of punches with just over a minute remaining. Solomon beat the count, but Ortiz continued the assault, forcing him to a knee again. Referee Raul Caiz Sr. waived the bout off at 2:22 of round 5. It was an entertaining win for Ortiz, but he’s ready for stiffer competition.
On the undercard, Puerto Rican Alberto Machado (22-2, 18 KO) exorcised some demons and got back to the win column, notching a 2nd round knockout of Luis Porozo (14-2, 7 KO) in his lightweight debut. Machado has claimed that his back to back losses to Andrew Cancio earlier this year were the result of struggles making the 130 pound limit. Perhaps.
Both fighters appeared tentative throughout the 1st round, but things heated up nicely to open the 2nd, as Porozo hurt Machado at the beginning of the round. Machado appeared momentarily panicked, but was able to compose himself as Porozo attacked with looping telegraphed shots. With a minute remaining in the round, Machado spiked a left hook into the Ecuadorian’s ribcage and Porozo went to a knee. Porozo barely beat the count, only to be dropped with another body shot some 20 seconds later. Porozo again rose, but Machado poured on the punch volume and with just seconds remaining feinted a left cross but threw another left hook/uppercut to Porozo’s diaphragm. This time, he would not beat referee Thomas Taylor’s count.
It was a nice get back win for Machado, but the holes in his game that Cancio exposed may never be sealed. And he appeared out of sorts at times when Porozo landed cleanly. Machado is 29 and has been a professional for seven years. If he’s going to make moves, they need to be soon.
(Photo via Lina Baker/SeeYouRingside Photography 2019)