LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 05: Vergil Ortiz Jr. (L) throws a left at Angel Sarinana during their super … [+]
While the Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Maurice Hooker fight isn’t necessarily a 50-50 type of matchup, the fact Ortiz is such a huge betting favorite could provide people who think Hooker will pull off the upset with plenty of value. Here’s everything you need to know about Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Maurice Hooker, including the odds, their records and a prediction on who will win.
Though it’s somewhat difficult to understand why Hooker is such a big underdog, he doesn’t seem to care.
“The fact that I’ve been called the underdog has pushed me more,” Hooker said this week. “I’ve prepared well for this fight. I’m going to go in the ring, do my business, and have fun with it.”
Hooker is a former 140-pound world titlist (and remember, he was about a 4/1 underdog when he beat Terry Flanagan in 2018 for the junior welterweight belt), and he’s got a long reach advantage against Ortiz. He’s also got the world-class experience that Ortiz is missing.
“Everyone is saying that [Ortiz] is the next big thing in the welterweight division. And he is,” promoter Oscar De La Hoya said. “But first he has to get past Maurice Hooker, and that is no easy test. This is a real fight and a tough test for him. … Hooker’s style, abilities and experience make him dangerous. He’s going to show Vergil different angles. It’s a different style than what Vergil has faced in the past.”
Ortiz is well aware of Hooker’s credentials. He just thinks he’s good enough to make his attributes irrelevant.
“On paper, he’s the best opponent of my career,” Ortiz told me recently. “He’s in his prime. He has a long reach. He’s been in there with the best. He’s been a world champion. … I think I stack up pretty good. There’s more to me than my height. I hit hard. I feel I’m pretty smart in the ring. I can get around obstacles that other people can’t. I think differently.”
Here’s more info on the Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Maurice Hooker showdown that U.S. viewers can watch on DAZN beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
FORT WORTH, TX – MARCH 18: Vergil Ortiz Jr. (L) stares at Maurice Hooker during a press conference … [+]
If you can scoop up Hooker at +850 (win $850 on a $100 bet), I’d wager on that ASAP. Ortiz, meanwhile, is -1800 at BetOnline.ag, -1667 at Sports Betting Dime, and -1000 at Bet MGM. In my eyes, all of them are too wide to make a wager, even though I think Ortiz will win the fight. If you’re hungering to bet on Ortiz, you could take him by KO/TKO at -300 or for the fight not to go the distance at -350.
If you were looking for a fun parlay for this weekend’s action of boxing (and this is only my opinion and not a recommendation), I might take Ortiz vs. Hooker to not last the distance at -350, Artur Beterbiev to KO/TKO Adam Deines at -900 and Lawrence Okolie to beat Krzysztof Glowacki at -500. You’d walk away with $171 on a $100 wager in that scenario. Not great, but on this weekend of wide money lines, that would be decent enough.
Ortiz has a perfect record of 16-0 with 16 KOs, meaning that anybody who has ever stepped into the ring with Ortiz has not heard the final bell (the longest anybody has lasted is into the seventh round). Ortiz’s best opponents so far have been fighters like Mauricio Herrera, Samuel Vargas and Antonio Orozco—solid but not spectacular boxers. Ortiz has not faced a talent like Hooker quite yet.
Hooker (27-1-3, 18 KOs) lost in spectacular fashion to Jose Ramirez in an attempt to unify two of the 140-pound belts. He also has a draw with Darleys Perez (and had a couple more draws in the early part of his career). But before the Ramirez fight, he scored three straight victories against undefeated world-class fighters (Terry Flanagan, Alex Saucedo and Mikkel LesPierre). Even with the KO loss to Ramirez, Hooker is a talented fighter.
While I think Hooker’s money line is way too wide, I still think Ortiz will win while preserving his KO streak. Hooker is a world-class fighter, but at some point, Ortiz is going to catch him, hurt him and stop him. Say, Ortiz by KO in the eighth round.
After more than a decade in the newspaper business writing about virtually every professional and major college sport for publications like the Cincinnati Post and the