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Vergil Ortiz Jr vs. Maurice Hooker moving to March 20th

Vergil Ortiz Jr

By Chris Williams: Vergil Ortiz Jr vs. Maurice Hooker fight is moved up a week earlier to March 20th in their headline clash on DAZN; according to Mike Coppinger the two welterweights were planning on fighting on March 27th, but it’s being moved up a week.

Former WBO light-welterweight champion Hooker (27-1, 3 18 KOs) will be fighting for the first time at the full 147-lb weight for the welterweight division.

In Hooker’s previous fight at welterweight, he fought at 144 lbs in defeating Uriel Perez by a first-round knockout last December.

Vergil Ortiz looking to continue KO streak

#2 WBO, #5 WBC Ortiz Jr (16-0, 16 KOs) will be looking to continue his knockout streak by picking up his 17th consecutive stoppage victory.

This is a fight that will give boxing fans a glimpse of how good the 22-year-old Ortiz Jr is, as Hooker, 31, has a lot of experience and a big punch to go with it.

Vergil Ortiz Jr

Hooker, 5’11”, has the kind of power and size to give Ortiz Jr trouble if he’s able to land anything flush. It was only recently that Hooker suffered his first career defeat in losing to WBC 140-lb champion Jose Ramrez by a sixth-round knockout in July 2019 in Arlington, Texas.

Ramirez wore Hooker down with his nonstop pressure and pummeled him on the ropes until the contest was stopped. Hooker made a tactical error against Ramirez by frequently backing up against the ropes, and trying to brawl with him in that position.

It didn’t work well for him because it allowed Ramirez to have a stationary target to land his huge shots. The fighters that have given Ramirez problems, Jose Zepeda and Viktor Postol, stayed in the center of the ring and made it hard for Jose to land his shots.

Ortiz Jr recently beat Samuel Vargas by a sixth-round knockout in a step-up fight last year in July in Indio, California. Unfortunately, that was the only fight for Ortiz Jr in 2020, as the pandemic got in the way of his activity.

In 2019, Ortiz Jr had fought four times, and he was looking forward to seeing a lot of action in 2020. The COVID pandemic prevented Ortiz Jr to fight as often as he’d been doing in the past.

Is Ortiz the next star for Golden Boy?

Golden Boy Promotions believes Ortiz Jr is a future star for them. It’s interesting that Ortiz is the same age as stablemate Ryan Garcia, but he doesn’t get anywhere near the same amount of attention.

King Ryan is proof that the fighters who do the most talking in boxing are the ones that the fans notice. It doesn’t mean that Ryan has more talent than Oriz Jr or some of the other young fighters in the sport. He’s louder, and he’s doing a lot of talking on social media and giving tons of interviews.

Vergil Ortiz Jr

Ortiz is going to need to make more of an impact on social media if he wants to win over fans.

Thus far, he’s not getting matched up against the right type of opposition to increase his popularity. that would change overnight if Golden Boy put him in with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford and if he beat him.

“He’s having a hard time now, I’m surprised he got this one,” said Bernard Hopkins to ESNEWS about it being difficult to get Vergil Ortiz Jr fights now. Fortunately, Golden Boy was able to get Hooker.

“He can beat all of them except for Crawford,”  said Hopkins when told that Ortiz Jr wants to fight Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, and Crawford. “That’s the scary part [Vergil Ortiz is only 22-years-old].”

It’s surprising that Hopkins is picking against his own Golden Boy fighter in a future match against Crawford. Chris Williams is giving Ortiz an excellent chance of beating Crawford right now, even at this early stage of his career.

Crawford on Ortiz Jr’s target list

By the time Ortiz is finally given a title shot, Crawford will likely be 35 or 36. That’s going to be hard on Crawford to be taking on a young lion like Ortiz at that ripe age.

Ortiz Jr will be 24 or 25 by then, just hitting his prime, and Crawford in his mid-30s, older, slower, and not the guy he is today.

Vergil Ortiz Jr

Once the speed goes, Crawford is going to be highly vulnerable against any good welterweight contender, and he’s already looking beatable. Without the speed, Crawford will be at the mercy of Ortiz’s punches.

But it’s unlikely that Top Rank will let Ortiz anywhere near Crawford at this point because the money wouldn’t be there, and there would be too much risk for the Nebraska native.

You’d have to suspect that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will finally set up the fight between Crawford and Errol Spence Jr by either late 2021 or sometime in 2022.

If Crawford loses that fight, Vergil Ortiz Jr will be coming after Spence for the titles. That’ll be interesting because Ortiz used to watch Spence train, as they trained out of the same place in Texas.

 

“Sources: Ortiz-Hooker now moving a week earlier to March 20. That gives DAZN strong back-to-back shows with Estrada-Chocolatito on March 13.

“Tremendous action bout and a real test for Ortiz, who has 16 KOs in 16 fights. Hooker’s first bout as a full-fledged welterweight after a title run at 140,” said @MikeCoppinger.

Vergil needs a good win over Hooker

It’s important that Vergil Ortiz Jr not only beats Hooker, but he shines in the process like he’s been doing recently.

It’s one thing for Ortiz to obliterate guys like Samuel Vargas and Brad Solomon, but it’s going to be a big deal if he can do that to Hooker.

Vergil Ortiz Jr

If Ortiz can beat Hooker in a more impressive fashion than Jose Ramirez did two years ago, that would tell you that he’s the real deal. 

Ortiz is ranked #2 with the World Boxing Organization, and he’s close to being in a position to challenge WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford.

If #1 WBO Shawn Porter passes up the opportunity calling for his mandatory title shot, Ortiz Jr is in a position to step up and take that spot from the reluctant Porter to face the aging Crawford.

 

 




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