Ronnie Shields: Vergil Ortiz Jr needs to wait a few years for Crawford or Spence

By Rob Smith - 03/23/2021 - Comments

Coach Ronnie Shields says Vergil Ortiz Jr isn’t ready for the big dogs Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford right now after what he saw of him last Saturday with his seventh-round knockout win over his fighter Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker in Fort Worth, Texas.

Shields wants the 22-year-old Vergil (17-0, 17 KOs) to wait a couple of years before he looks to take on WBO welterweight champion Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) or IBF/WBC champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs).

Ortiz doesn’t sound like he’s going to agree to wait, though, as he told the boxing fans at ringside last Saturday night at the Dickies Arena that he wants the Crawford fight, even if he’s not ready.

Vergil is ranked #2 with the World Boxing Organization, and there’s a good chance he’ll leapfrog over #1 WBO Shawn Porter with this win over former WBO 140-lb champion Hooker (27-2-3, 18 KOss0.

If Porter doesn’t activate his WBO mandatory, which it doesn’t appear that he will, the sanctioning body will likely place Ortiz in the #1 spot because he’s ready and willing to take the fight with Crawford.

Crawford has too much experience for Vergil

“I think it was a really good fight. I think if Hooker had a little more power, he could have fended him off a little bit better,” said coach Ronnie Shields to Fino Boxing on Maurice Hooker’s loss to Vergil Ortiz Jr.

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“I don’t think he’s [Vergil Ortiz] a big threat right now [to the top welterweights], but he’s still a young kid, and he still has time to grow,” Shields continued.

“But sooner or later, if he can control his weight, the in the next year or two, he can definitely be a big player at 147.

“I think Terence Crawford has too much experience for him,” said Shields about his belief that Crawford is too much for Vergil Ortiz right now.

“Crawford is a very hard fight, especially when he switched from orthodox to southpaw. You know, you have to prepare for both of those, and he [Crawford] can punch.

He’s not a big puncher, but he’s a very smart guy in the ring. Terence Crawford is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today, and I don’t think they should put Vergil in with him so soon,” said Shields.

It’ll be a tradeoff in a fight between Crawford and Ortiz. You’ve got the talent and the experience of Crawford going up against the natural size, power, and the youth of Ortiz Jr.

Ortiz is clearly the much harder puncher and he’s better suited for the 147-lb division than Crawford, who started his career out at 135 and his thin frame.

Vergil looks sturdier than Crawford and more capable of taking heavy shots.

Given Crawford’s lack of fights against quality opposition during his 13-year pro career, we have no idea how he’ll hold up against a rugged fighter like Ortiz.

The way Vergil looked last Saturday, he might run Crawford over. He was like a human equivalent of an off-road vehicle the way he steamrollered the 31-year-old Hooker.

From Crawford is saying, he won’t agree to fight Vergil, which means unless the WBO makes Ortiz the new mandatory, that fight won’t happen.

The WBO is going to have to do something soon because the 33-year-old Porter seems unlikely to activate his mandatory to force Crawford to fight him.

If Porter is reluctant to use the mandatory path to a fight with Crawford, the WBO will need to put Ortiz into the #1 spot.

In the meantime, it looks like Crawford will be taking an easy title voluntary defense against fringe contender Josesito Lopez, which is a similar type of opponent to his last fight against fading former champion Kell Brook.

That’s an old fighter who left his prime behind 2,000 yesterdays ago. Crawford won’t lose any sleep about fighting another faded guy, particularly with what he said on Monday to AK & Barak show:

“I don’t care anymore. I just wanna keep putting on performances, beat whoever they put in front of me, make money, provide for my family. All the other stuff I don’t care anymore,” said Crawford.

Ortiz had too much power for Hooker

“He just didn’t have the power for this weight [147],” said Shields about Hooker. “He’s [Hooker] definitely not a welterweight. He should try to drop down to 140 and have a better chance there.

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“But you can’t take anything away from Vergil. Vergil fought the fight he was supposed to fight.

“He put on a lot of pressure, body shots, you know? He was moving his hands, and he had a gree game plan, and he followed it to the T, and he got the victory,” said Sheilds in talking about Vergil.


Last Updated on 03/23/2021