Vergil Ortiz Jr: “I was 70 percent” for Maurice Hooker fight

Vergil Ortiz Jr says he was only “70 percent” for his fight last Saturday against Maurice Hooker, and he still had more than enough to stop him in the seventh round in his break-out performance on DAZN at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Little did fans know, Ortiz (17-0, 17 KOs) had suffered a left arm injury a week before the fight with Hooker, and he had a bout with COVID 19 last February, according to Chris Mannix of DAZN.

With all those problems, the 22-year-old Vergil was still able to deal with former WBO light welterweight champion Hooker (27-2-3, 18 KOs) in beating him by a seventh-round knockout in front of a large crowd.

It would have been interesting to see what Vergil could have done had he been 100% for the fight rather than just 70% because he looked great on offense for a fighter that wasn’t firing on all eight cylinders.

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Golden Boy Promotions gave Ortiz Jr a step up in class from the fighters that they’d been matching him against, and he showed that he’s ready to join the elite level at 147.

Vergil showed no signs of having been ill or injured in dropping Hooker in the sixth and seventh rounds. Hooker took a knee in the seventh round, pointing to his right arm to indicate that it had been injured.

The injury may have saved Hooker from being knocked out by Ortiz Jr in the clinical sense, as he was getting battered by him from the fifth round.

“Just spoke with Vergil Ortiz Jr. He revealed that he tested positive for COVID in February and suffered from horrible symptoms and nearly pulled out,” said Ryan O’Hara of The Ring @OHaraSports.

“Added that there’s no point in a rematch. “To be honest, I was at 70 percent tonight. And look at what I did,” said Vergil Ortiz.

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There’s no word yet from Golden Boy Promotions about who they plan on matching Vergil against next. I guess you can forget about Ortiz fighting Crawford because the Top Rank promoted fighter has zero interest in fighting him.

It would be excellent if Golden Boy could get one of the aging PBC welterweights to step up and give Vergil some rounds.

Options for Vergil Ortiz’s next fight:

  • Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman
  • Shawn Porter
  • Jaron Ennis
  • Danny Garcia
  • Mikey Garcia
  • David Avanesyan
  • Conor Benn
  • Amir Khan
  • Kell Brook

The fight, which had been competitive through the first four rounds, had gotten way out of hand in the last two rounds.

Hooker wasn’t going to make it through the seventh round even if he hadn’t suffered the arm injury, but it’s good that he didn’t have to deal with the indignity of being stopped in that manner.

At least now, Hooker can blame his defeat on his arm injury rather than admitting that he was outgunned by the young, stronger, and more talented Vergil.

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Ortiz made a clear statement with his victory over the 31-year-old Hooker that he’s ready to face WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford next. However, Crawford, who was at ringside, dismissed the idea of facing Vergil, telling the media that he needs to earn the fight with him and that he’s “not ready” to fight him.

Crawford didn’t say when he believes Vergil will be ready, which suggests that he’ll need to take the mandatory approach to force the reluctant champion to face him in a year or two if he’s still champion by then.

It might be good for the division if Crawford is replaced as the WBO champion because he’s not also not interested in facing IBF/WBC champion Errol Spence Jr. When you have a champion that has no interest in fighting the top guys, it hurts boxing.

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