Vergil Ortiz Jr. maintains knockout streak and stops Maurice Hooker in round seven

It was supposed to be the toughest test of Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s career.

It ended like all other fights.

Ortiz Jr. improved to 17-0 with 17 KOs stopping Maurice Hooker in the seventh round in Saturday’s main card event at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX.

Hooker made his official debut at 147 pounds after sucking himself at 140 pounds for years. The prevailing idea was that Hooker would prove to be a lasting opponent able to withstand the vicious power of 22-year-old Ortiz. But it didn’t take long for that power to weigh heavily on Hooker’s psyche – just a few turns for him to realize that Ortiz was a different type of fighter.

Ortiz and Hooker met in the middle of the ring and shuffled it from the opening bell to see who was the toughest fighter. Both threw punches with bad intentions, but Ortiz demonstrated that his punches had more effect.

It looked like the fight could end early as Ortiz constantly pushed Hooker up the ropes and buried thick leather in his face and chest. But Hooker made a change in the fourth round, using his jab and moving away from his opponent’s shots. But Hooker is known to have a heart as big as his home state of Texas, so the former 140-pound WBO champion ended up in a shootout in the sixth round. “Mighty Mo” proved to be durable as it absorbed punches to the head, but Ortiz’s commitment to working the body turned out to be the difference.

“He was showing me that he was durable and that he could definitely take a punch,” Ortiz said. “He was smart but I knew what to do. I knew it wasn’t going to be the head, so I had to go to the body.”

Round six was all Ortiz as he dipped heavy hooks into Hooker’s chest. Eventually the punches mounted and Hooker began to back away from the punishment. But Ortiz wouldn’t allow him to retreat and followed him with a host of punches that knocked him down.

The blood was in the water and the shark decided to feast.

Ortiz immediately encountered Hooker in the middle of the ring in the 7th inning and strangled him with body shots. Hooker was injured but refused to back down and fired back. Ortiz landed a blow to the body and a hook. Hooker called with a right hand, but immediately rolled over in pain and took a knee as the referee counted him in the 36th second of the round. Hooker later said he broke his hand and was forced to resign.

Either way, Ortiz is now a major player in the 147-pound division, and he wants a title fight.

“I’m ready for a title shot and whoever gives me the opportunity,” said Ortiz with champions Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford at ringside. “I would love this opportunity to fight Crawford, who is one of the two best fighters in the world. I’m looking at you, Bud. I don’t care if I’m ready or not, I want this fight.”



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