Vergil Ortiz Jr extends his record to 18-0 with his 18th career stoppage as he reached the eighth round for the first time in his young career. Egidijus Kavaliauskas proved to be a tough opponent with his cagey counters and hard punching. Mean Machine as he commonly known as rocked Ortiz in the second round and poured it on clearly winning the round. The twenty-three year-old Ortiz was visibly hurt for the first time in his career but showed resolve. He weathered the storm again when his Lithuanian foe caught him again and hurt him with a right hand in the later stages of the third round. However, Ortiz scored a short but powerful jab following a jab-right hand combination and floored Kavaliauskas. Much in the way Sergey Kovalev used to bring in a power jab, Ortiz brought his stance to a more square footing and generated sharp power as a “three” type of punch in the sequence. Kovalev did this to great effect against Blake Caparello among others. Ortiz really won this by sticking to his jab and methodically breaking Kavaliauskas down round after round. Mean Machine was still dangerous as he scored his right hand a few more times as a hard counter punch but did not have what it took to stem the tide. Early, Egidijus could time Vergil and would respond to the first punch in his combination with rapid power punches. As the fight wore on Kavaliauskas hands began to lower as he wilted under the pressure.
In round eight Ortiz dropped Kavaliauskas with a hard jab to the body. The Lithuanian got to his feet quickly and took the count to nine and tried to look for the counters. After a few more punches it was clear that the Machine’s body was still trying to shake off the painful blow and he was covering his body. Ortiz stuck out a left that at first glance was heading to the midsection but swept upstairs over the guard. Kavaliauskas took a knee in shock as he had been completely faked out. Again he took his count before going to battle and Ortiz dropped him for a third time as he started for the body and finished up top. Kavaliauskas looked to have been down by surprise and seemed to have his legs and wits about him but was being overwhelmed. Ortiz was all over him with a two fisted assault as he floored Kavaliauskas for a fourth and final time just before the bell and referee Laurence Cole stopped the contest. This was a big win for Ortiz as he showed poise, stamina, the ability to take a punch, a commanding jab and he went a little longer this time. Kavaliauskas looked good early and it seemed as though he might upset the significant favorite. In defeat he hung tough and never stopped looking for the payoff punch but it never came. His plan was effective early but once Ortiz adjusted and got the momentum the fight was only going one way.
Also this weekend:
John Riel Casimero Retains his WBO Bantamweight Title in a split decision over aging former champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. I was really looking forward to this great clash in styles of the boxer versus the puncher but this turned into a real snoozer of a fight. With the lowest punch statistic numbers of any twelve round fight ever recorded Casimero desperately chased the ever mobile Rigondeaux around the ring missing wildly. The Filipino champion won on sheer activity though he had a hard time pinning down the forty year-old former champion and two time Olympic Gold Medalist. Rigondeaux to his credit landed hard left hands down the pipe when he chose to let them go but that lack of willingness to take risks costed him here. Casimero was originally supposed to face Filipino icon Nonito Donaire and entered on the back of six fight stoppage streak in this second defense of his title. Following the victory the discussion looks at possible Donaire or Naoya Inonue clashes. Both would be massive fights and great on paper. As for Rigondeaux his bizarre career continues. He is as skilled as skilled can be but has a reputation to just ruin big fights. He is the fighter that is the poster child of fanatical “true fans” who say you don’t know what you are watching if you don’t enjoy his fights and the bane of all action fans who love knockouts and slugfests. I remember watching Rigondeaux coming up the ranks up until his huge win back in 2013 when he totally befuddled and neutralized Nonito Donaire at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Since then he has managed to make some very good fighters look totally clueless, piss off fans for his very negative style of low punch outputs and constant movement, and the occasional war that always occurs on smaller cards with less eye balls. When he quit against Vasyl Lomachenko in 2017 and all the backlash that ensued I figured it was over for the Cuban. He certainly did not win over any new fans this past Saturday.
-In a pretty good light-heavyweight fight Joshua Buatsi knocked out Ricard Bolotniks with one punch. An overhand right ended the competitive contest that saw Buatsi docked a point for low blows and Bolotniks on the deck earlier as well.
-Camden, New Jersey Native Raymond Ford bounces back from his March draw to score a third round TKO
-Rau’shee Warren and Juan Carlos Payano fought on the undercard of the Casimero vs Rigondeaux undercard but not against each other. The two fought twice in title bouts in 2015 and 2016 and shared the card with victories.
-Trey Lippe the son of Tommy Morrison failed to stop Don Hemsworth and Nico Ali Walsh the grandson of Muhammad Ali knocked out Jordan Weeks in round one. Ali Walsh wore trunks made for Muhammad Ali and got the feel good win, not sure where to rate him but I will be paying attention.
-Arnold Barboza Jr won a commanding unanimous decision over the bloody and battered Antonio Moran. Barboza advances to 26-0 and looks like a force at 140 lbs.
-Jason Maloney won a unanimous decision over Joshua Greer who is best known for carrying a pillow to the ring to symbolize his ability to knock guys out. Recently the man known as “don’t blink” has not stopped anyone since 2019 and is on a 0-2-1 skid.
Joshua Franco successfully defended his WBA Super Flyweight belt by unanimous decision over Andrew Maloney to cap off their trilogy.
-Roger Gutierrez defeated Rene Alvarado by another twelve round decision to win the trilogy and retain his WBA regular title at 130 lbs. DAZN’s Chris Mannix made waves bad mouthing the WBA at the start of the fight and encouraged all fighters holding their belts to put them in the garbage.