Vergil Ortiz Jr looks to test his mettle against Egidijus Kavaliauskas
Had he had his say, welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr (17-0, 17 KO’s) would face WBO 147-pound champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (37-0, 28 KO’s) in his next bout. Instead, he will square-off against soon-to-be common opponent Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas (22-1-1, 18 KO’s). Ortiz, 23, didn’t miss out on Crawford due to lack of effort. The Golden Boy promoted Texan most certainly put his bid in to dance with the WBO champ. Sadly, however, Crawford scoffed at the notion of dueling Ortiz.
It’s not surprising that Bud did not want to test his might against Vergil Ortiz because Crawford hasn’t shown much interest in fighting anyone, whatsoever. Yet, it is somewhat curious how indignant the Nebraskan native responded when presented the option. To begin, Ortiz is ranked #1 (WBO), #4 (WBC) and #15 (IBF). Armed with his #1 ranking, he is in a prime position to face Bud. In fact, this is one mandate from happening, anyway. Given his solid position and growing notoriety, it’s weird that Bud acts like he is a Bum of the Month candidate.
QUICKER AND SMOOTHER?
So rather than taking on the former undisputed super lightweight champion, Ortiz will face Kavaliauskas. Naturally, the hard-hitting Texan will be looking to dispose of the Mean Machine in a more impressive fashion. When Crawford fought Kavaliauskas on December 14, 2019, he was able to stop him in the ninth round of their affair. Yet, it should be mentioned that many felt that the Mean Machine was robbed of a knockdown in the second round. Despite being placed on the canvas by a right-hand, it was ruled a slip. Overall, Crawford had a rough and tumble fight with Kavaliauskas.
Admittedly though, Bud came to the ring looking to rumble over box, and this is primarily why the bout was so rough-and-tumble. Regardless of this rationale however, Ortiz still has the opportunity to look better in against the common foe. It would be all the more sweet if he could stop the Mean Machine earlier, while taking less damage. Yet, while it sounds good, this will be no easy task. For starters, Crawford represents Kavaliauskas’ only professional loss and there is no great shame in losing to Crawford.
Past this, the Lithuanian is well ranked with his standings of #5 (WBO) and #10 (WBC). Not only this, he is tough, skilled and has a good pop in his own punches. While he doesn’t boast a perfect knockout ratio such as Ortiz, only four of Kavaliauskas’ twenty two opponents have survived to the final bell. Provided that he does beat Kavaliauskas, and looks good doing it, it will be that much harder for Crawford to so capriciously brush off the Texan. First things first though, before there can be any more talk about Bud, Ortiz will have to take care of business on August 14.
By: Bakari Simpson