Ortiz Jr (17-0, 17 KOs), 23, of Dallas, Texas, has been campaigning for a boxing match with Thurman Jr, calling out the former unified welterweight world champion in his post-fight interview following his win over Samuel Vargas last year.
“Nah I want Keith Thurman in 2021”, he wrote in reply to a fan on social media.
In his most recent fight, The Ring magazine prospect of 2019 knocked Maurice Hooker out cold early in the seventh round.
The 23-year-old first rose to prominence by defeating former WBA interim super-lightweight champion Mauricio Herrera and the durable and experienced Samuel Vargas.
Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs), 32, of Clearwater, Florida, however, has rejected Ortiz Jr’s callout, citing his lack of experience as the main reason.
In a recent interview with FightHype, Thurman explained: “I got my eyes geared towards the biggest fights at 147, I would say that he has to climb the ladder a little bit more, but only because he’s gunning after me.
“I’m not gunning after him. I’ve got my gun barrels aimed at different targets, mainly world champions, because I want to get back to the world champion status.
“I’m glad that he’s got the fire, and the passion, and the grit to call me out.”
Not only has Ortiz Jr knocked out every single one of his opponents, he has also shown a willingness to dig deep and get stuck in, and after seeing what the 23-year-old can do, his fellow American admits he was left very impressed.
“I’ve seen a little bit on the boy, I can’t speak much, because I haven’t seen much, so I’m not going to go deep into anything there,” said the 32-year-old. “But he definitely shows potential, lets his hands go. He seems like he’s a power puncher, seems like he can hurt.
“He seems a little wide still, a little open still, but besides that, it’s a good fight. I remember being a young dog.
“When the young dogs are barking, and they’re hungry, it’s one thing to have a barking dog, but it’s another thing to have a hungry barking dog. Let’s just see what happens with the boy and his career.
“You know with me, if I get the phone call and his name, any name is presented to me, on a list, then that’s the legitimacy of me potentially seeing them in the ring.
“I’ve only seen this kid in the ring due to the callout. But besides that, I haven’t seen much from this kid.”
Like Ortiz Jr, Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) also fancies a crack at Thurman, having knocked out Sergey Lipinets at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
However, the 32-year-old has expressed very little interest in the idea of potentially facing the 24-year-old, who has a 27-0 record in professional boxing.
In fact, he even went so far as to say he has no idea who he is.
“Like I said, if anything is presented to me, then I’ll look at it,” he added. “These young bucks have not been presented yet. I really think they’re still climbing the ladder.
“I think they know they belong with the best fighters in the world. They’re starting to build their name and get their recognition.
“The young man that you just mentioned, he might be on Showtime – I’ve never heard of him.
“Lipinets really never impressed me, though, and I think a lot of people started figuring his style out, I think it was very one-dimensional.
“So if somebody handled him, good, it’s about time, I think Lipinets got through too many people anyways, so it is what it is.”