Nowadays, boxing is an unusual sport in that you can become a world champion without daring to fight the best, with a host of current contenders staying unbeaten by simply avoiding the beasts in the division.
But welterweight puncher Vergil Ortiz (16-0, 16 KOs) is not of that mind state. The Texan’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya says Ortiz is cut from old school cloth and possesses a genuine willingness to box anyone.
This Saturday, at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, the exciting Ortiz steps up in class once more against former WBO 140lbs champion Maurice Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) and De La Hoya believes his man will be best served by staying aggressive and maintaining his ruthless KO streak.
Good men like Mauricio Herrera, Antonio Orozco and Samuel Vargas have fallen before Ortiz’s freakish power and Hooker will be next, feels De La Hoya.
“The difference is, everybody fought each other back in the day,” De La Hoya told Yahoo Sports. “If you were a world champion, if you were undefeated, if you were young, you fought. You were looking to fight the best. I don’t know why it’s hard to make these unification fights [these days].
“So many fighters are scared to lose their undefeated records. But I think when they think that, they’re making a mistake because the public understands when you fight the best. Vergil always wants those kinds of fights.
“Vergil is going to have to be more aggressive [against Hooker], believe it or not, if that’s possible. He has to be more aggressive to get inside. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long night and that’s exactly why we chose Hooker for him.
“He’s going to be moving around, he’s going to be aggressive and he’s going to hit hard. [Hooker] does have those long arms [a whopping 80-inch reach] and it could be a big, big problem for Vergil.
“[But] these are the tests you have to pass and that give you the confidence to take you to another level. These are the tests that prepare you for world title contention.”
Meanwhile, Ortiz believes he is adding new dimensions to his vaunted power.
“I feel like I’m throwing hard when I’m not even trying to,” Ortiz told Yahoo Sports. “I’m starting to learn that there are different skills to the power. You know that power is a skill. It’s not just a physical attribute. I can bring down that sledgehammer power or I can bring that snapping power. There are different types of power out there and I can do a few of them.”