CONOR BENN has tipped “animal” Vergil Ortiz to surpass Errol Spence and Terence Crawford as welterweight king.
Unified WBC and IBF champion Spence, 30, and WBO king Crawford, 32, have been touted for a super-fight to decide the division’s best.
But 22-year-old Ortiz – who has won all 16 of his fights by knockout – has been backed to dethrone the pair by 2022.
Benn told talkSPORT: “The welterweight who I think is gonna be at the top when I’m at the top is a fighter called Vergil Ortiz.
“He’s an animal. I reckon he’ll be running things by the time I get to world level.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all [if he surpassed Spence or Crawford] in the next two years.”
Mexican-American Ortiz is yet to challenge for a world title, but has made a name with wins over the likes of Samuel Vargas, Mauricio Herrera and Antonio Orozco.
Unbeaten Benn, 23, hopes to achieve the same with a step up in opposition, as he plots a return to the ring by the end of the year.
He said: “Hopefully mid-to-end of October. Though I wouldn’t shy away from a fight in September.
“As you can see from my social media pages I’ve been grafting during lockdown.
“I think it’s about that time [for a step up], obviously you never stop learning, but it’s just one of them things.
“It just feels right, not just my decision, it’s mine and my team, it’s a mutual decision that we’re gonna [step up].
“You know, you’ve gotta take a gamble at some stage of your career.”