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Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs Antonio Orozco in Texas

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  • Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs Antonio Orozco in Texas

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    By David A. Avila

    There’s danger in Texas.

    Undefeated Texas slugger Vergil Ortiz Jr. has never heard the final bell in any of his baker’s dozen fights but he’s never fought someone as dangerous as Antonio “Relentless” Orozco.

    In front of hometown fans Ortiz (13-0, 13 KOs) meets Orozco (28-1, 17 KOs) in an expected 12-round WBA gold welterweight title fight on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas. DAZN will stream the event that’s mere minutes from Ortiz’s home.

    Just recently boxing fans witnessed a similar scenario of a native Texan returning to his roots and fighting in front of hometown fans. In that fight Maurice Hooker admitted there was extra pressure of performing in front of friends and family when he fought and lost to Jose Carlos Ramirez two weeks ago.

    Will Ortiz (pictured on the left) be able to survive the extra baggage?

    “I’m not one to talk but the true winners of this fight are going to be the fans,” said Ortiz, 21, when he was in Los Angeles recently. “Especially my hometown fans.”

    It’s been three years since Ortiz fought so close to home. Back in September 2016, the lanky knockout artist blew out Ernesto Hernandez in one round in Arlington. It was only his second pro fight.

    Orozco, 31, has been in search of another world title fight. It took him 11 years to finally attain a world title challenge when he fought WBC super lightweight titlist Jose Carlos Ramirez last September. In a valiant and heroic effort the San Diego prizefighter fell short but gave such a sterling effort that he was applauded by all that witnessed the brutal fight.

    “I’m glad fans liked my fight with Ramirez,” said Orozco who is moving up a weight division for this fight. “I need to win this fight so I can fight for a world title again.”

    Competing for a world title remains the dream of every prizefighter. It’s not an easy feat and Orozco knows this.

    Road to a Championship

    Eleven years ago Orozco made his pro debut at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif. a fight that he won by knockout. Though he looked like a sure thing in his pro debut, the road to a world championship can be filled with unforeseen potholes such as losing weight, injury and unexpected family emergencies.

    Both Orozco and Ortiz know these facts first hand. World title fights are not easy to attain.

    “The fact that he feels this fight can give him a world title fight makes it important for me too,” said Ortiz. “I’m really motivated.”

    Ortiz was expected to meet a stiff test when he fought Mauricio Herrera this past May in Las Vegas. Herrera had never been stopped despite fighting punchers like Danny “Swift” Garcia, Pablo Cano and Jesus Soto Karass. But a wicked Ortiz right cross connected and turned out the circuit in Herrera’s legs and ended the fight in the third round.

    “People don’t give my son credit but Mauricio was a very tough opponent and very smart,” said Vergil Ortiz Sr. the father. “What people don’t know is he studies everyone he fights. We go over each fighter for hours.”

    Can Orozco withstand Ortiz’s pure firepower?

    “Everybody has a weakness,” said Orozco. “I just have to find it.”

    Orozco, though knocked down before in his career, has never been stopped and has proven to be willing to go through fire for a win. He did it against Ramirez during their title fight that saw him get up twice from knockdowns and force the champion to fight it out until the end.

    “It’s why they call him Relentless,” said Ortiz Jr.

    The tall Texan with a lethal right cross and dangerous left hook has been burning through opponents. He doesn’t expect to knock everyone out, but he does intend to win.

    “I’m not one to talk but I do expect to win,” said Ortiz.

    A world title bid awaits the winner.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel