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Vergil Ortiz Jr Gets Tested, Passes, With Stoppage Win Over Maurice Hooker

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Vergil Ortiz Jr added to his fan base, snagged some folks who needed a bit more to believe, as he stopped ex champ Maurice Hooker in a Texas-versus-Texas battle Saturday night at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

The ending came at 36 seconds into the seventh, as Ortiz pressed Hooker, who went to the mat, indicating his right arm was compromised. A nasty flurry had sent Hooker to the floor in the sixth, and he survived that round only barely, on a presentation promoted by Golden Boy and streamed on DAZN.

After the win, the welterweight in ascent Ortiz, whose face featured scrapes and discoloration, told Chris Mannix that he gave Hooker props, for taking the fight. “I felt like I did pretty good, overall there’s always room for improvement, I thought I did OK,” the winner said. He said that Hooker showed durability, but, frankly, he knew what to do. He thought he might have to go the distance, but he changed up, when he realized that Hooker had a hard head. “I believe in my heart I’m ready for a title shot,” he said. No, he won’t call anyone out, he said, he is respectful. But he’d like to fight a Terence Crawford, he said, who was watching from the front row.

Hooker told Mannix that yes, being off for a year and a half affected him. The loser said Vergil is “good” but no, he’s not ready to fight Bud. “He’s gonna be a world champion one day.” And, then he said, “everybody booing, fuck y’all,” for good measure. “Y’all not warriors.”

Ortiz (16-0 entering; from Grand Prairie, Texas), age 22, was 147 on Friday, while the 31 year old Hooker (27-1-3 entering), from Dallas, also weighed 147.

Hooker, who went with Team Crawford after losing via stoppage to Jose Ramirez on July 27, 2019, in a junior welter title unification match, was trying out full fledged welterweight for the first time.

In the first, the ex 140 pound champ Hooker, who last fought on 12-2-2019, got busy, he didn’t run and play coy. Ortiz was the aggressor, and he shaded the round. Trainer Robert Garcia told Ortiz to go to the body more in the second.

In round two, Hooker offered more jabs, to try and interrupt the rhythm of the younger gun. Ortiz looked a wee bit wild, he clearly wanted to impress friends and fam in attendance. “Keep moving,” trainer Brian McIntyre told his guy.

In the third, Hooker worked harder, his volume spoke loudly. Ortiz would pump a double jab, but Mo’s activity gave him the round. Garcia told Ortiz to look to time Hooker with a right counter. “Keep your hands up and stay off the fuckin’ ropes,” McIntyre told his guy.

In the fourth, the best punch so far landed for Maurice, a right hand that buzzed Ortiz a lil bit. Then Ortiz tightened the distance, ripped to the body, and changed the tone of the fight, in the fifth. In the sixth, Hooker moved more, and at that middle range, had more luck. But then Ortiz exploded on him, left uppercut-right hand, sent him to the mat. He survived the round, barely.

Ortiz went 143-392 to 100-465 for Hooker, according to CompuBox.

To 7–down went Hooker.

His right arm was hurting, after he landed a right hand, it was clear, the ref saw he was in agony and waved it off.

He explained after that his hand popped, after he landed a right. And bless him, he did it his way, with color and spice.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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