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Maurice Hooker: Vergil Ortiz Jr is not ready for Crawford

Terence Crawford Vergil Ortiz Jr

By Chris Williams:  Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker loudly proclaimed that Vergil Ortiz Jr is NOT ready to take on and beat Terence Crawford last Saturday night after sharing the ring with him for seven back and forth rounds in their DAZN streamed fight at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ortiz, 22, was hurt a couple of times in the fight by the clubbing shots from the 5’11” Hooker, who took advantage of his dreadfully poor defense.

With Terence Crawford being a bigger puncher than Hooker, Ortiz Jr will need a lot of work before he’s ready to step up and take that fight. If Vergil’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions let him fight Crawford next, they may be sorry for it.

As Hooker says, Vergil is NOT ready for Terence. He’s not even saying when Ortiz will be ready because he’s so flawed that it’s difficult to predict how much time it’ll take to get him close to the level where Crawford is fighting at.

While the unbeaten Vergil Ortiz (17-0, 17 KOs) did beat the former WBO 140-lb champion by a 7th round knockout after the Hooker was dropped twice in the fight, the victory was largely fueled by a hand injury.

In other words, we don’t know for a fact that Vergil would have beaten Hooker if he wasn’t injured with the hand problem.

Hooker hurt his right hand in the seventh, and that was the sole reason why he lost. Other than that, Hooker was giving Ortiz the fight of his life in a contest that went back forth throughout the contest, with both guys doing well at times.

It was clear to the fan at the end of the fight that Vergil Jr is not ready for Crawford or any of the other elite fighters like Errol Spence Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, or Shawn Porter.

“Vergil is good, but he’s not ready,” said Hooker in letting DAZN know that Ortiz Jr isn’t ready for Terence Crawford. “I know Vergil from Dallas, man.

“He’s not ready. He’s got to keep fighting and keep building himself up,” said Hooker when asked, ‘What does Vergil have to do to be ready?’

“He’s going to be a world champion one day,” said Hooker about Vergil Ortiz.

So there it is. Vergil is NOT ready to step up and fight Crawford right now. Hooker wasn’t just saying that Ortiz isn’t ready out of sour grapes on his part. He’s truthful about it, and you could see that.

Hooker has sparred with Crawford before and knows what he can do against a fighter as raw as Ortiz.

Vergil does have things going for him in terms of his punching power, aggression, and youth.

At 22, Ortiz is much younger than the 33-year-old Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), which means that in four to six years, Vergil is expected to be in the prime of his career, whereas Crawford will be nearing 40 and likely past it.

Still, if Golden Boy acts in an impetuous way by accommodating Vergil’s wishes to take on Crawford right now, he may get ruined by the Nebraska native.

We saw the punishment that Ortiz took from Hooker, who was fighting for the first time at the full 147-pound weight after moving up from the 140-lb division in 2019.

Just looking at Vergil’s beat-up face after the fight, you can only imagine what Crawford would do to him if given the opportunity.

Golden Boys’ top brass needs to sit down, have a cup of coffee and understand that Vergil doesn’t belong inside the ring with Crawford right now. Frankly, Chris Williams doesn’t know when he will be.

Before taking on Crawford, Ortiz needs to prove himself against these type of fighters:

  • Danny Garcia
  • Shawn Porter
  • Jaron Ennis
  • Keith Thurman
  • Egidijus Kavaliauskas
  • Conor Benn
  • David Avanesyan

If Vergil Ortiz Jr shows improvement after running the gauntlet against those types of welterweights, only then should Golden Boy let him fight Crawford. The thing is, it’s likely that Ortiz won’t show enough improvement for him to be competitive with Crawford.

In that case, the best thing for Golden Boy to do is use the Canelo Alvarez approach by waiting Crawford out until he’s old and lost a few steps before fighting him. It worked for Canelo against Gennadiy Golovkin.

“I hurt my man, look at the replay,” Hooker said when asked about his seventh-round stoppage. “My hand popped. I got a knot on my hand. And everybody booing, f*** ya’ll.”




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