Home Boxing News Vergil Ortiz denies turning down Terence Crawford fight

Vergil Ortiz denies turning down Terence Crawford fight

Vergil Ortiz Jr
Vergil Ortiz Jr. Photo credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Undefeated welterweight knockout artist Vergil Ortiz Jr 17-0 (17) has denied he ever ducked a fight against WBO 147-pound champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 37-0 (28).

“If people are talking about me, that’s fine,” Ortiz said to FightHub. “People are always going to talk about you, but if you’re lying and saying I said something or if you’re just lying about what I did like turning down the [Crawford] fight, which I never did, then I got to say something.

“They’re making me look bad. They’re trying to make me look bad for whatever reason. I don’t know what their reason is, but it’s a lie. So I got to clear the air.”

The 23-year-old from Grand Prairie, Texas faces a tough test when he takes on Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas 21-1-1 (18) at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas on Saturday night.

Earlier this year Crawford, who stopped Kavaliauskas in nine rounds in December 2019, warned Ortiz he could be biting off more than he could chew against the hard-nosed Lithuanian.

“They’re trying to move Ortiz too fast,” Crawford said. “Somebody like Mean Machine can push him back. We’ll see what happens when somebody gets aggressive.”

Ortiz himself admits he is not expecting an easy night.

“Most definitely, it’s the biggest challenge of my career so far,” said Ortiz. “We brought in some Russians to spar. They’re heavier than me and they’re giving me some good work. I like to spar heavier guys.”

Ortiz is coming off a career-best win over former WBO junior welterweight champion Maurice Hooker 27-2-3 (18) who he stopped in seven rounds in March. He says he can improve on that performance.

“During the fight, I was 70% there,” said Ortiz, who was recovering from Covid-19 during training camp. “Even then, my tempo wasn’t there. Before this camp, when I was training at home, I felt 100 times better.

“Right now, I feel 1000 times better. The last camp I couldn’t spar at all and I barely had the energy to hit the bags.

“This camp, there has been no halt for anything. In my last fight, I wasn’t too confident in myself. This fight, I feel it already.

Despite the rivalry with Crawford, it seems that Ortiz pays attention to what he says.

“One reason [I chose the Kavaliauskas fight] is Crawford told me to fight him,” Ortiz said. “It’s not like I’m taking orders from him, but it’s a good step-up fight. I think that was Crawford’s last fight.

“So it was a recent fight for Crawford. It’s a good measuring stick. Hopefully, I do good and come out on top.

“They can gauge my performance against his. I feel like it’s a good fight whether he fought Crawford or not.

“He’s a very tough fighter. And he’s going to bring the best out of me. Hopefully, I win against Egis.

“I’m already number one with the WBO. If the Porter fight [against Crawford] happens, I don’t want to say wait it out necessarily, but hopefully, I can face Crawford in his next fight.”