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VERGIL ORTIZ STOPS MAURICE HOOKER IN 7

Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy

On Saturday, March 20, 2021, rising Welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. (17-0, 17 KOs) took on his toughest test to date in former WBO Jr. Welterweight champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (23-2-3, 18 KO’s).

The Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, played host to both hometown fighters who were each raised in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Hooker was last seen making easy work of Uriel Perez in one round, off the heals of his first loss to Vergil Ortiz’s stablemate and unified Jr. Welterweight champion, Jose Ramirez, a few months prior. While most oddsmakers had Ortiz a heavy favorite, Hooker had shown in the past that he is game against the best of them and had been underestimated before. 

As things got underway, Ortiz established himself the power puncher from the opening bell and stalked the longer and taller Hooker. Hooker was also able to showcase some of his power in flashes of the first round, showing the younger Ortiz that he was not backing down.

With Ortiz having never gone more than seven rounds in his pro career, it was clear that Hooker would need to survive an early attack and try to take Ortiz into deep waters for the first time. 

The action would settle slightly in the second and third rounds, with Ortiz continuing to stalk his prey, while Hooker was able to land his shots in spurts–finding areas to counter the younger man.

In the fourth, Maurice Hooker found an opening and landed a flush right hand that gained the attention of Ortiz. Ortiz would follow up in the following round with a vicious body attack that saw Hooker retreating to the ropes, trying to escape the pressure. 

A left uppercut followed up by a right hand landed clean for Vergil Ortiz towards the end of the sixth that floored Hooker. Hooker was able to rise to his feet with a few seconds left, and rather than retreat, Hooker stayed toe to toe and exchanged power punches to close out an action-packed round.

The fight would come to a halt shortly after the start of Round 7 after a fast exchange of punches forced Hooker to fall with an injury to his arm. The seventh-round TKO prevented Ortiz from seeing the eighth round yet again, as the young Golden Boy fighter improved his record to a perfect 17-0 with 17 knockouts. 

“I felt like I did pretty good, there’s always room for improvement, but overall I think I did okay,” said Ortiz after the bout. “He [Hooker] showed me he was very durable. He can definitely take a punch. I could see I wasn’t getting it done with just the head, so I invested in the body.”

Ortiz was also asked about potential future matchups, to which he replied he would fight anyone willing to step in the ring, including pound-for-pound champion Terrence “Bud” Crawford, who was ringside in support of stablemate Maurice Hooker. 

Ortiz continues to pass the tests put in front of him, and while the idea of a matchup with Crawford sounds intriguing, the prospect of that fight coming to fruition seems unlikely at this point.

Whatever the case, Welterweights should be on notice that there is a new contender ready to challenge for titles soon. 

Watch! Vergil Ortiz vs. Maurice Hooker Fight Stoppage

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