Don’t inform Vergil Ortiz Jr. that he’s not prepared for WBO welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford. In keeping with Ortiz, he would gladly settle for a struggle towards among the finest pound-for-pound fighters on the earth at present.
However for that bout to happen early subsequent 12 months, Ortiz should get previous the damaging Egidijus Kavaliauskas. The pair sq. off Saturday night time in a 12-round bout at The Ford Heart at The Star in Frisco, Texas (DAZN, 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
Ortiz, who’s rated No. 9 by The Ring at 147 kilos, is unbeaten in 17 fights with 17 knockouts. In his final bout, on March 20, the hard-hitting Texan notched a seventh-round knockout win over former junior welterweight titleholder Maurice Hooker. The 23-year-old has additionally scored spectacular victories over former world title challengers Antonio Orozco and Mauricio Herrera, accomplishments that helped safe his obligatory place for Crawford’s title.
There was confusion as to why Ortiz didn’t settle for a struggle towards Crawford earlier in the summertime. In keeping with one supply, Ortiz and Kavaliauskas have been already in prolonged discussions, so the WBO went down the road for the following obtainable contender and that occurred to be former two-time titleholder Shawn Porter.
Within the meantime, Ortiz will face one other robust problem in Kavaliauskas, who himself challenged Crawford for the WBO title in December 2019. Kavaliauskas gave “Bud” some issue early on and will have been given credit score for a third-round knockdown that was incorrectly dominated a slip by referee Ricky Gonzalez. Crawford would in the end swing momentum his approach, dropping the Lithuania-born fighter a number of occasions earlier than the struggle was stopped within the ninth.
Ortiz was modest about his efficiency towards Hooker however believes he is able to face the strict problem Kavaliauskas is bound to deliver.
“I assumed I did okay within the Hooker struggle,” Ortiz informed The Ring. “He did shock me early on. I assumed it will’ve been higher if I finished him after this primary knockdown. The knockout was inevitable. Sadly, I needed to take care of the harm to my (proper) hand. He was artful, however I used to be in a position get the job carried out.
“(Kavaliauskas) is a tricky and sturdy fighter. I do know it’s going to take much more than one punch to harm him or knock him down. He has a very good chin and plenty of expertise from his days within the amateurs. He throws punches from bizarre angles. I noticed the Crawford struggle, I ready for him based mostly on what he did in that struggle.”
Ortiz will as soon as once more struggle near his dwelling in Grand Prairie. His win over Hooker passed off earlier than a modest crowd at Dickies Area, which needed to accommodate a restricted variety of followers as a result of pandemic. One other giant crowd is anticipated in Frisco.