Following Vergil Ortiz Jr.’s statement making seventh round TKO of Maurice Hooker, the boxing world is buzzing over a potential Terrence Crawford fight. SB Nation and ESPN are currently debating whether the 22 year old welter is ready but I think its time to make a move. He just ran through a tough former champion in Maurice Hooker whom he dropped in round six and was running away with the fight when Hooker injured his hand. Ortiz Jr. is ranked #2 by the WBO and #6 by the WBC and is in striking distance of the title Crawford holds. Crawford has been the WBO champion since 2018 when he took out Jeff Horn and has four title defenses to his name but has the biggest fights eluding him.
Ortiz Jr. is calling him out and has the backing of a major promoter in Golden Boy and has a fan base in Texas that is passionate. This fight might make a lot of sense business-wise and is an interesting match up of the established star against the emerging upstart. Today on DAZN Jabs Chris Mannix argued that Ortiz Jr. should take the fight while Sergio Mora favored caution. I say go for it and i say so based on recent history and on previous history.
Not all that long ago, back in October of 2020 Vasily Lomachenko was entering as a favorite against the young title holding Teofimo Lopez. Lomachenko was considered the number 1 pound for pound fighter in the world and was viewed as having too far a gulf in class and experience for Lopez. Crawford is viewed by many to have taken that number 1 spot on the mantle and Ortiz Jr. is largely viewed as not being ready for this level of opponent but I say do it. If there is anything that 2020 told us it is anything can happen. As much as Ortiz has not faced an elite top 5/10 welter, Crawford hasn’t faced a young dog like Ortiz who is tall and fast and brings it. My second example is Ray Boom Boom Mancini going for lightweight glory against an absolute legend in Alexis Arguello. Arguello was 67-5 and was defending his newly won lightweight championship, his third title in three divisions. He was a hall of fane fighter with a devastating punch that knocked out numerous great fighters. Mancini entered the ring at 20 and had as many fights he did birthdays. Unlike Teofimo Lopez, Ray was defeated by a 14th round stoppage but was ahead and even on two scores after ten rounds and earned huge praise from Arguello and was lifted higher by appreciative fans. Seven months later Mancini knocked the shit out of Art Frias to claim a lightweight championship and became a face of boxing for a time in the early 80’s.
I love that the young blood in the division is calling out the fighters many observers say they aren’t ready for. These ambitious young pros are out to prove themselves and not hide behind records and promoters. I say make the fight!