Watching Vergil Ortiz dismantle former junior welterweight champion, Maurice Hooker, 10 days ago was a thing of beauty.
Trust me. It wasn’t easy.
Hooker came into the fight with a chip on his shoulder. He’d heard all the pre-fight chatter that Ortiz was the new “It” boy in the welterweight division. I mean, wasn’t he (Hooker) the ex-champion, even if it was in a slightly lighter division?
“I think it’s a little bit disrespectful because he’s young and doesn’t have experience, but hey, it just makes me go harder.” Hooker told Percy Lovell Crawford of www.zengernews.com
Go harder he did. Hooker cracked the kid with shots. Marked up his face with jabs. Nailed Ortiz with several solid combinations.
The kid persevered, bobbing and weaving and digging shots into the taller Hooker’s belly. The strategy was sound. Ortiz needed to be closer to the gutsy Hooker. But to be there, Ortiz had to eat some counter punches. He did this without blinking.
But could he do it against a few of the welterweight contenders?
Danny Garcia? The former champion lacked fire in his bout against champion Errol Spence Jr. His performance was a curious one. Garcia has always been a controlled fighter, a counter puncher-in-waiting. But against Spence, fighting for the first time surviving a horrific automobile accident, Garcia needed to get off first. He did not. He waited. And waited. And lost by wide-decision. Speaking of loss, has he lost his fire?
How about Mikey Garcia? Hard to say. Spence beat him up two years ago, but last year he looked pretty good defeating Jessie Vargas. It’s doubtful that he’d even risk fighting Ortiz since he’s been trying to hit the boxing lotto for a while now. What’s the lotto?
To fight Manny Pacquiao.
An Ortiz – Shawn Porter fight would be intense. Porter always brings it. He can change styles per challenge. A fight against Ortiz would also be risky, but Porter would likely do it. Why? Because he’s Shawn Porter.
Ortiz challenged WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, after his victory over Hooker. Crawford, who was in Hooker’s corner, was amused.
“He really don’t want me,” Crawford said to Calvin Watkins www.dallasnews.com.
“That’s just the thing to do is call for the fighters that’s at the top right now. But he’s doing his thing and he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Challenging Crawford was audacious. Ortiz is an impetuous 22-year-old. He’s also honest.
“I don’t care if I’m ready or not,” he said. “I want that fight.”
“Crawford is possibly the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world — definitely Top 2 — so if they give me that opportunity, I’m looking at you, Bud, I’m looking at you. If you want to make this happen, I’m more than willing to do it.”
I agree with Ortiz. He’s not ready for Crawford. His defense needs work.
But didn’t most of us say the same thing when Teofimo Lopez landed the Vasyl Lomachenko bout?
Least anyone forgot what happened in that fight, Lopez was victorious.
Could Ortiz do it?
Only one way to find out.
Source: John J. Raspanti