Vergil Ortiz Jr stops Egidijus Kavaliauskas to pass his stiffest test to date in fashion
Had he been given his choice, welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr (18-0; 18 KO’s) would have rather been fighting WBO 147-pound champion Terence “Bud” Crawford. He came to his latest contest ranked #1 (WBO), #4 (WBC) and #15 (IBF). With his position with the WBO, he was already in perfect striking range of the Nebraskan champion. Instead however, due to Crawford’s complete disinterest, Ortiz found himself locked in the ring with Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas (22-2-1, 18 KO’s).
Naturally, the masses were going to compare whatever the Texan did against Crawford’s performance. This is because Mean Machine’s lone loss came at the hands of Bud back on December 14, 2019. On that occasion, following a rather bumpy bout, Bud was able to stop the gritty Lithuanian in the ninth period. This is what made Ortiz’s eighth round stoppage all the more impressive. As a result, Kavaliauskas will surely plummet from his #5 (WBO) and #10 (WBC) standings.
While operating behind a high guard, Ortiz began the bout in tight and surgical fashion. The Texan marched forward throughout the opening period. Nothing worth spilling your beer over connected but Ortiz landed a fair amount of leather on the Mean Machine. Then, in the blink of eye, a war erupted. As Ortiz came forward looking to maintain control, Kavaliauskas clobbered him with a right uppercut that seriously shook him.
Mean Machine was able to blast Ortiz with a number of powerful punches. The Texan even went down after missing a punch. His trip to the canvas was ruled a slip. Instead of covering up, Ortiz fought back and appeared to hurt Kavaliauskas with a body shot before being buzzed again. Just as the Lithuanian was seemingly getting to Ortiz, he was dropped on the seat of his pants with a short, sharp lab.
In the opening of round seven, Ortiz began putting his foot on the gas. He continued scoring with his thudding jab as well as piercing hooks to the head and body. While game, Kavaliauskas had no real meaningful answer; Ortiz continued to pour on the pressure in the eighth. Seemingly wilting under the pressure, the Mean Machine took a knee after a crunching jab to the ribs.
About a minute later, Kavaliauskas was downed by a left hook. For the second time, the Lithuanian beat the count only to be socked and dropped again by a left hook in the closing moments of the period. After seeing him on the deck for the third time in the round, referee Laurence Cole called a stop to the action. This was a very good win for Ortiz. The young fighter got hurt, braved through adversity and won in style. There is no question that he will resume his calls for a Terence Crawford showdown with great haste.
By: Bakari Simpson