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Vergil Ortiz Jr: I’m taking the fights the other fighters won’t do

Vergil Ortiz Jr boxing photo

By Jeff Aronow: Vergil Ortiz Jr feels he’s the only top fighter in the 147-lb division looking to take the risky fights that others don’t dare to take.

The 23-year-old Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs) scored his 18th consecutive knockout victory last Saturday night in stopping the highly dangerous knockout artist Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the 8th round at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

It was the second consecutive risky fight for Ortiz Jr, but it could come at a cost.

The top fighters and their promoters will have seen Vergil’s two impressive performances against Kavaliauskas and Maurice Hooker and will opt not to want to fight him now.

Why would they want to fight Vergil if they have nothing to gain as far as a world title.

Some fighters like WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford seemed to gain confidence from watching Ortiz Jr get hurt by ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas in the second round.

Vergil Ortiz Jr boxing photo

Crawford watched the fight and said he’ll knock Vergil Jr out, but he’s not saying when he’ll give him a title shot to try and carry out his prediction.

Vergil Jr taking the risky fights

“They’re not taking the fight. I’m taking the fights,” said Vergil Ortiz to Fighthub; on the other top fighters at 147 aren’t taking the risky fights that he is. “I’m getting the valuable experience.

“I definitely agree,” said Vergil Jr. when told that his father Vergil Sr. said, ‘He’s just a puppy, and it going to keep getting better for the next five years.

“I’m definitely getting better. With each and every fight, I’m getting stronger and faster, and I’m getting smarter. I guess I am a puppy right now.

“I think I have at least one more fight, definitely one more fight guarantee,” said Ortiz Jr on him having one more fight in 2021.

Most of the top welterweights don’t take risky fights until they get a world title fight, and in a lot of cases, they’re exposed as hype.

Vergil has done well in taking risky fights with Hooker and Kavaliauskas, but there are far better fighters in the 147-lb division than those two.

If Vergil were willing to fight Jaron Ennis, he would have a chance to show whether he’s for real.

“It’s just if they want to take the fight. Literally, that’s it. That’s the only problem we run into,” said Vergil.

Ortiz’s promoters at Golden Boy promotions will need to be inventive to find an opponent for him to fight before the end of the year.

You can’t expect any of the top five welterweights to give him a chance to beat them and ruin their chances for a world title fight.

Golden Boy has done well in finding Vergil’s last two opponents ‘Mean Machine’ and Maurice Hooker, for him to fight, but it could prove to be difficult to find a suitable opponent for December.

It will help Vergil if he’s open to fighting opposition from the 140, 147, and 154-lb divisions.

Ortiz says Kavaliauskas was his hardest fight

“I feel good. This was definitely the hardest fight of my career,” said Ortiz Jr on his grueling eighth round knockout of Kavaliauskas. “We fought a very good opponent and very respectful too.

“That’s what I like a gentleman of the sport, and we came out with the win. He was durable, and he was pretty smart.

“He was choosing his shots good, and he had a pretty good jab. And he caught me a few times with those jabs, so I got to respect that.

“Underrated? I feel like I got a good jab, but I don’t want to say I have the best jab, but it’s up there.

“Fight, and don’t get hit with stupid shots,” said Vergil Jr. when asked what was going through his mind when he was hurt by Kavaliauskas in the second round.

The fight wouldn’t have been as hard for Vergil Jr if he’d state don the outside and used his jab the way his training team wanted him to do.

Vergil’s decision to try and brawl with Kavaliauskas in the second round led to him being hurt by a big shot from the Latvian fighter.

Vergil talks about being hurt in 2nd round

“When I’m fighting, I’m not necessarily thinking in words, so I really can’t tell you,” Ortiz Jr said on him not being able to verbalize what was going through his mind when he was hurt by ‘Mean Machine.’

“When you’re running, and you turn around, and you’re about to run into a wall, you don’t think, ‘Oh, there’s a wall.’ You just react.

“First, they told me to stick to the game plan,” said Vergil Jr on what his trainer told him after the second round when he’d been hurt. “The game plan was to box on the outside and not to stay in and get hit.

“It was a jab that put him down [in round three],” said Ortiz Jr on knocking Kavaliauskas down in the third.

“I was zoned in at that point; I was in a fight. I didn’t think too much of it because when he got back up, I could see it in his eyes and his face that it dropped him, but it didn’t really hurt him.

“He was still good. So I was, ‘Okay, I’m not going to jump in there.’ I think a younger me would have just went in for the kill, but I’m like, ‘He’s not really that hurt yet, so I’m going to chill,'” said Vergil.

In the third, Vergil Jr knocked ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas down with a jab that didn’t hurt him.

It was smart for Ortiz Jr not to have gone after Kavaliauskas because he probably would have gotten clipped again if he had.

Vergil lost his cool in the second and third rounds by choosing to engage with Kavaliauskas more than he should have.

Ortiz Jr’s training team was telling him to box, but he kept getting lured into a firefight with Mean Machine, which made the fight more dangerous than it should have been.

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