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Boxing phenom Vergil Ortiz Jr. crushed his toughest test to date and vowed to fight one of America's best boxers

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Insider
Insider
 2021-03-21

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Vergil Ortiz Jr.
  • Vergil Ortiz Jr. advanced his flawless record to 17 knockouts from 17 wins in 17 fights Saturday.
  • Ortiz Jr. twice knocked down Maurice Hooker, won by KO, and then threw down a challenge to Terence Crawford.
  • Watch the fight highlights right here.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories .

Boxing phenom Vergil Ortiz Jr. crushed his toughest test to date Saturday and vowed to fight one of America's best boxers.

The 22-year-old is one of a number of young combat athletes who are regarded so highly they could carry the sport throughout the 2020s.

At the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, Ortiz Jr.'s pummeling of the former world champion Maurice Hooker solidified the youngster's reputation as not just the future of boxing - but perhaps the present, too.

The Golden Boy Promotions fighter stopped Hooker in the seventh round and preserved his 100% knockout ratio. Ortiz Jr.'s record is now 17 knockout wins in 17 fights.

"I felt like I did pretty good," Ortiz Jr. said in a statement sent to Insider after the win. "There's always room for improvement. I could have done a lot of things better.

"Hooker showed me that he is durable. He can definitely take a punch. He was smart. He was trying to throw around my guard. But I just knew what to do."

What Ortiz Jr. knew he had to do was win in style

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Ortiz Jr. and Maurice Hooker face-off.

Ortiz Jr. was the busier boxer in the majority of rounds, consistently out-jabbing Hooker, before dropping him to the floor in rounds six and seven.

While Hooker attempted to keep the fight at a distance, Ortiz Jr. was happy to plow forward, throw heavy shots, and look to get rid of his opponent with his powerful rights and punishing left hooks.

A sixth-round shellacking saw Hooker fall to the canvas but survive until the end of the round. He was unable to get up when he was down again in the seventh, seemingly complaining about an injury - likely a broken hand.

Regardless, a beatdown and a knockout was a foregone conclusion.

By the fight's finish midway through the seventh, Ortiz Jr. had landed 143 of his 392 shot attempts for a 36.5% accuracy rate, with 63 shots landed on Hooker's body, according to Compubox data.

Hooker, by contrast, landed 100 of 465 for a 21.5% accuracy and was unable to really do anything with his jab landing just 16 of his lead shots from 180 attempts (8.9%).

Watch the fight highlights right here:

"The game plan was to slow him down," Ortiz Jr. said.

"I knew he was going to want to box. I knew he wouldn't want to stay inside. I neutralized his plans.

"I did think I would go the distance at some point in the fight … the head shots [didn't seem to be] hurting him. He can take a punch. That's when I started investing into the body [so the knockout would come]."

The youngster now wants to fight WBO champion Crawford

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Ortiz Jr. and Oscar de la Hoya.

Insider spoke to Golden Boy partner Bernard Hopkins, a prominent executive who represents Ortiz Jr. alongside Oscar de la Hoya, about the young fighter and the company's plans should the athlete continue winning.

As Saturday's bout had the lightly-regarded international version of the WBO welterweight title on the line, the winner would be in a strong position to challenge the outright WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford .

Hopkins told us this week that such a match-up would be do-able and that Ortiz Jr. would be ready for Crawford within a year .

The way Ortiz Jr. is speaking, though, he may want that bout sooner.

"This win gives me more confidence," he said. "I believe in myself even more now than ever that I am ready for a world title. I don't care if I'm ready or not for Terence Crawford; I want that fight."

Hooker said: "Vergil is a great fighter. I take my hat off to him. Vergil is young and up-and-coming. But there are levels to this. He's good, but he's not ready for Terence Crawford."

Read the original article on Insider

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