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Vergil Ortiz Jr. stops determined Maurice Hooker in 7 rounds

20
Mar

FORT WORTH, Texas — The battle between two home state warriors ended in a Texas-sized injury for Maurice Hooker and another victory for Vergil Ortiz Jr., who shined in his first significant test.

Ortiz and Hooker engaged in an action-packed, competitive bout until the Grand Prairie-based phenom knocked him down with a vicious combination in round six Saturday before a lively crowd at Dickies Arena.

Hooker hurt his hand in the following round after suffering an injury to his right hand resulting in a seventh-round stoppage for the 22-year-old welterweight.

“He hurt his hand, but I was going to take him out anyways,” Ortiz said. “I wasn’t surprised that he got up after the first knockdown.



“But at the same time, I saw it in his face that he didn’t want to get up.”

Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs), 31, of Dallas, who hadn’t fought since knocking out Uriel Perez in one round in December 2019, called for a rematch.

“I was out for a year-and-a-half,” he stated after the second loss of his pro career. “If they let me get back and get fresh, hit me up.

“All hats off to (Ortiz). I got no hard feelings. Nothing but love, I’ll see him again.”

But Ortiz dismissed talk of a rematch and instead focused his eyes on WBO 147-pound titlist Terence Crawford, who he briefly spoke to after the fight.

“All I said was, ‘If you give me the opportunity, I’m more than willing to fight you.'”

Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), though, speaking to The Ring, brushed aside the idea.

“Y’all know (I’d beat Ortiz),” he said. “He really don’t want me. He’s doing his thing, and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Statistically, Ortiz was the better puncher. He landed 143 of 393 punches (36 percent), including 45 percent of his power shots (96 of 213). Hooker, who suffered his second loss in his past three appearances in the ring, landed 100 of 465 (22 percent).

As the first round began, the crowd began to chant “MAURICE! MAURICE!” only for Ortiz to dominate Hooker in a one-sided effort.

Whether it be stiff jabs to the body or solid right hands, there was no question who won the first round.

Both fighters took a breather to start round two, but it did not take long for Ortiz to get back into his rhythm, ripping left hooks to the body of Hooker, who lost his balance with around 1:27 left in the frame and tumbled to the canvas.

The 31-year-old Hooker, of Dallas, who hadn’t fought since knocking out Uriel Perez in one round in December 2019, switched levels in the third frame, catching Ortiz with a left hook and some solid counters.

At the end of the round, both Ortiz and Hooker exchanged some trash talk before returning to their respective corners.

Ortiz returned to the basics in round four, knocking Hooker’s head back twice with a stiff jab. He then bobbed and weaved his way to the inside and jabbed to the body.

However, Hooker appeared to buzz Ortiz with a right hand late that may have won him the round.

But if Hooker had any momentum going into the fifth round, Ortiz initiated the process of systematic disintegration. He hurt Hooker with a left uppercut and subsequently backed him up until the final bell.

The crowd once again picked up its chants of “MAURICE! MAURICE!” but those were quickly muted after Ortiz floored Hooker with a vicious combination late in round six.

The end came in the seventh round as Hooker injured his right hand, then took a knee and prompted referee Laurence Cole to immediately stop the fight at 36 seconds of the round.

Ortiz (17-0, 17 KOs) also won a secondary welterweight title with the victory.

But regardless if the top fighters may or may not want to fight Ortiz, he vowed to remain dedicated to his objective.

“I’m the real deal. I’m the best, and I want to fight the best,” Ortiz stated.

The unbeaten prodigy, again, called out Crawford.

“I don’t think I’d be able to take him out,” he continued. “If we do end up fighting, it would probably go the distance in a very competitive fight.

“Let’s make the fight happen. I’m more than ready. There’s no one really willing to fight you. I’m right here.”

A childhood dream became a reality for Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada (20-0, 8 KOs) in the chief support bout. Facing Anabel Ortiz (31-4, 4 KOs), who was looking to defend her WBA strawweight title for the 13th consecutive time, the LA-based 28-year-old dominated the former champion from pillar to post, flooring her in the second round en route to a unanimous decision victory to become the new WBA strawweight world champion.

Two judges scored the bout 100-89, and a third had it 99-91, all for Estrada, who improved to 19-0 with 8 knockouts in her professional campaign.

When asked if it had sunken in that she had finally accomplished her lifelong goal, Estrada was nothing but smiles.

“Not yet,” she laughed. “But I’m so happy, I know it’s a dream come true, and it’s everything that I have dreamed of since I was a kid.”

In other undercard action, welterweight Marcelino Lopez (37-2-1, 22 KOs) floored Jairo Lopez (27-12, 18 KOs) four times en route to a fifth-round knockout victory in an action-packed yet uncompetitive affair.

“He was a typical Mexican warrior,” Marcelino Lopez stated to The Ring after the fight. “I’m so proud of my performance after 19 months.”

Unbeaten cruiserweight Tristan Kalkreuth (8-0, 6 KOs) brutally knocked out Dustin Long (4-2-2, 4 KOs) in the first round of a scheduled six-round contest. In a scary scene, Long remained down for several minutes. When placed on his stool, the 38-year-old collapsed to the canvas again. For Kalkreuth, the victory served as his second consecutive victory via first-round knockout. 140-pounder Alex Martin (16-3, 6 KOs) scored a huge victory as he handed Luis Hernandez (21-1, 19 KOs) his first loss as a pro in a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision victory.

“I really wasn’t surprised that the judges had me winning a one-sided decision,” Martin told The Ring. “Hernandez throws some really stupid shots, and we were working on countering that all camp.

“His record didn’t mean nothing. I have an iron chin. This is do or die. This (performance) was for the belt.”

Rounding out the rest of the preliminaries, George Rincon (11-0, 7 KOs) outpointed Jorge Solis (25-12-4, 21 KOs) over eight rounds in a brutal junior welterweight contest. 122-pounder Hector Valdez (14-0, 8 KOs) remained undefeated with an eight-round unanimous decision over Alberto Torres (11-4-3, 4 KOs).

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