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Bernard Hopkins sends message to Crawford: Let’s make Vergil Ortiz fight

Vergil Ortiz Jr boxing photo

By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions executive Bernard Hopkins is sending a message to WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford that he’s ready to set up a fight with him and #1 WBO Vergil Ortiz Jr. this year or next following the 23-year-old Vergil’s win over Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas last Saturday night.

Ortiz looked like he was on the verge of being knocked out by Kavaliauskas (22-2-1, 18 KOs) in the second round, but he came back to drop him in round 3 and three more times in round 8 to get the knockouts at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

Hopkins saw enough from Ortiz’s victory over ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauska (22-2-1, 18 KOs) to believe that he’s ready to face Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) and dethrone him in 2021 or next if need be.

What Hopkins liked about what he saw from Vergil’s win last Saturday was the maturity that he showed by not panicking in the second round when Kavaliauskas hurt him with a big uppercut and tried to finish him.

Hopkins says that many fighters would have tried to show that they weren’t hurt by fighting back hard, but Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs) showed patience in going to war while he was hurt in round two.

Bernard ready to make Crawford vs. Ortiz Jr

“Let’s make one of the biggest if not the biggest fight this year or early next year,” said Hopkins to Little Giant Boxing on wanting to set up a mega-fight between Vergil Ortiz Jr and Crawford.

“Crawford is nobody to underestimate. He’s a true veteran of the game, but everybody has a day when the generation that is behind you will shine,” said Hopkins in letting boxing fans know that Crawford is getting older at 34 and will be overtaken eventually by the young lions. “It’s shining right now at dark in Texas.

Crawford reacts to Vergil Ortiz’s performance

“Told y’all he can punch,” said Crawford on Twitter about Kavaliauskas after he hurt Vergil Ortiz Jr in the second round.

“Backing up with them hands down. He tired. They love throwing my name around. I love y’all too. Congratulations on the win, Vergil Ortiz,” said Crawford.

There’s no chance of Crawford fighting Vergil in 2021, as the World Boxing Organization has already ordered Terence to defend against his mandatory Shawn Porter next.

As long as Crawford comes out of the fight with Porter still the WBO welterweight champion, we should see him take on Vergil in 2022. Crawford should take the fight with Ortiz Jr as soon as possible because he’s only going to get better.

Moreover, Crawford is turning 34 in September, and it’s not going to help him if he waits until he’s 35 or 36 before he eventually faces Vergil.

Time is on Ortiz’s side because in two years, he’ll still be young at 25, and it’ll be tough for Crawford to be taking a fight being on the wrong side of 30.

Vergil Jr didn’t panic when hurt

“He’s on his way to greatest because what I seen today was not only making adjustments but also overcoming without being too hyped or eager to get back to show people that he’s not hurt,” said Hopkins in talking about the poise Vergil Jr showed after getting hurt by Kavaliauskas in the second round.

“I see a lot of you guys or a lot of guys that have been into boxing; once they get hurt or once they feel something that they didn’t actually experience in a long time, they normally want to prove that they’re not hurt.

“What you seen today was a fighter who got hit and didn’t panic but did enough to get another round and then let this come to maturity of a knockout,” Hopkins said about Ortiz Jr. not panicking after getting hurt by ‘Mean Machine in the second round.

“I look at all these things being in the ring for 30 years as a professional and understanding that normally when you’re drowning, what kills you is not that you’re drowning.

Vergil Ortiz Jr boxing photo

“It’s your reaction to the moment that you feel that you’re going to drown. You seen a man [Vergil Ortiz Jr] survive for a few seconds and then win.

“Most people try to survive and win, even though they’re not in the condition to win. Today, I seen maturity,” said Hopkins on Vergil’s performance against Kavaliauskas.

“The win, of course, is great because I’m able to say this now, but I seen maturity from a fighter that understood what he had to do in that condition. This is special,” said Hopkins.


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