Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Maurice Hooker fight prediction, card, start time, live stream, how to watch


At just 22, with as many knockouts as he has had pro fights, unbeaten prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. very much looks like he could be the next big thing in the welterweight division. 

Ortiz (16-0, 16 KOs) enters Saturday with the chance to take one giant step closer towards proving that when he steps up in class to take on former 140-pound titleholder and fellow Dallas native Maurice Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET). 

“This fight is going to be a tough fight and the hardest of my career,” Ortiz told “Morning Kombat” in February. “Maurice has been a world champion before. He’s in his prime and has a reach on him. It’s going to be a great fight and I honestly can’t wait.

“I want to prove to everyone what I’ve got. I have been training for this my entire life. I feel like I’m ready for a world title shot right now and feel like I should have gotten one already. I’m 16-0 with 16 knockouts and have literally done as best as you can do in those 16 fights. If they give me a world title shot after this fight, I will gladly take it.”

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Hooker, 31, suffered his lone pro defeat in a thrilling 2019 junior welterweight unification fight against Jose Ramirez in which both fighters traded damage before Hooker ultimately succumbed to the stoppage defeat in a fight of the year contender. 

The loss snapped a streak of four consecutive fights in which Hooker handed the first pro defeat to rising names like Courtney Jackson, Terry Flanagan, Alex Saucedo and Mikkel LesPierre. He’ll look to do the same against Ortiz, who provides Hooker a bit of similarity to Ramirez considering they share the same trainer in Robert Garcia and a comparable straight-ahead attack.

“I think that [the fight] is going to be a little of everything,” Ortiz said. “[Hooker] is going to try to move, for sure. Obviously, me and Jose have the same trainer and have similar styles so he is not going to want to go in there and bang right off the bat. Maybe he is going to try to move around and see if he can outbox me for a little bit. But I can box too and I’m not just an inside fighter. I think once he sees that I can work to that advantage as well, maybe he is going to try to pour it on me.

“Long story short, I can do a lot of things.”

Ortiz has passed each of his previous step-up challenges with flying colors over the past two years, authoring impressive knockouts of Mauricio Herrera, Antonio Orozco, Brad Solomon and Samuel Vargas. 

The rapid pace at which Ortiz has grown even caused his own promoter, Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy, to publicly declare last month that Ortiz would defeat, right now, every single welterweight in the world. 

“That’s what I want to hear from him and it’s a lot of motivation,” Ortiz said. “I don’t take it as pressure, I take it as motivation. I want to prove to people that I can fulfill those expectations. 

“You have to fight top competition that these other guys have fought, as well, and it gives you a measuring stick to see where you are at. A lot of guys feel like they don’t have to fight you yet until you prove yourself worthy so I think that’s what I have to do.”

Although Ortiz has shown a good mixture of technical ability and aggression throughout his early rise, he admits his Mexican-American roots leave him preferential to wanting to mix things up and battle. Even if he has success boxing against Hooker, who is known as a big puncher, Ortiz will be looking for his 17th consecutive finish.

“I want to see what I’m made out of,” Ortiz said. “I definitely haven’t been pushed to the point where I have to fight or flight. I want to see what I got and I think I know what I got. I have been in fights in the amateurs I shouldn’t have won but I did because I was able to pull something out and I think I have more to show.”

Elsewhere on the card, the WBA women’s strawweight title is on the line when champion Anabel Ortiz steps in against Seniesa Estrada. Ortiz has yet to fight on U.S. soil and boasts a decent record at 31-3. However, the 34-year-old has just three stoppages to her name. Estrada, meanwhile, is undefeated at 19-0 with eight knockouts on her resume.

Fight card

  • Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Maurice Hooker, welterweights
  • Seniesa Estrada vs. Anabel Ortiz (c), WBA women’s strawweight title
  • Luis Hernandez vs. Alex Martin, junior welterweights
  • George Rincon vs. Luis Solis, junior welterweights
  • Hector Valdez vs. Alberto Torres, junior featherweights
  • Tristan Kalkreuth vs. Dustin Long, cruiserweight

Prediction

Although the betting odds favor Ortiz in a surprisingly large manner given his youth, hunger and well-rounded game, we have yet to see the young prospect in a true firefight against a comparable puncher. Hooker very much has the potential to be that kind of Kryptonite, which makes him an interesting live dog. 

What should separate the two fighters at the end of the day, however, is that Ortiz simply hasn’t shown a major flaw up to this point and should be able to hold the advantage from a boxing standpoint in order to better set up his fight-ending power. 

Look for Ortiz to target the body early in hopes of weakening Hooker. As long as Ortiz can remain responsible from a defensive standpoint, Hooker may have a hard time getting inside Ortiz’s jab in an effort to test the 22-year-old’s chin. 

Knowing how much a stoppage win over a fighter with Hooker’s reputation would mean toward his critical standing — along with Hooker’s penchant for getting into slugfests — this fight has all the making to be Ortiz’s true coming-out moment. 

Pick: Ortiz via KO6





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