Written by Tré Berry III | 08/15/2021
It is hard to find superlatives, to properly describe, and give due to what 🇺🇸Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0-0, 18KO) was able to do, particularly in the closing seconds of the bout. Top Lithuanian Welterweight contender 🇱🇹Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-2-1, 18KO) was very effective early, hurting Vergil with well timed shots up the middle, but every time Vergil was rendered hurt, he turned up his intensity to different levels. Ortiz’s level of controlled-rage boiled over, and the demon came out, putting Kava down once in the 3rd round, and FOUR times in the 8th round in a frightening display of power, accuracy, combination punching, and his understanding of the moment to close the show, doing so, to get the TKO in a career victory. What does the future hold for Vergil
A BREAK DOWN OF A FIGHT THAT LIVED UP TO ITS PRE-FIGHT EXPECTATIONS
The first round was specifically fought in mid-distance by both fighters, trying to be first with their jab. It was clear early on that the 23 year old Ortiz was quicker with his power jab, and did a better job of finding the target, while most of Egis punches bounced off of the gloves. There was plenty of craft exhibited by both early, picking their shots well, and throwing with good timing, but Ortiz was razor sharp in targeting the body periodically with the jab, and the left hook to the body, which is his Chief weapon.
Kavaliauskas landed a HUGE uppercut on the inside that hurt Vergil for the first time in his career, and Egis unleashed the dogs on him. Vergil during one of those skirmishes fired a left hook that caught wind, and he went down from his own momentum follow-through, but maligned Referee Laurence Cole made the proper call in that instance to rule it a slip. Vergil, with menacing precision, came roaring back, and effected Egidijus with a nasty sustained body attack that forced him back defensively on his heels, and Vergil returned some of the favor to the bell in the 2nd round, wow.
Ortiz entered into the third round with very composed measure, and got back to staying behind the jab. Egis landed a beautiful right hand that staggered Ortiz, and Vergil clamored for him to come inside and attack. Vergil landed a menacing left hook to the body, then he landed a 2-1 combination that dropped Kavaliauskas on the canvas for the big knockdown seconds before the bell. He was cleared to go, and Egidijus would see the 4th round.
In that frame, Vergil due to his versatility, decided to change up his tune a little bit, and stay on the back foot to box the more compact Kavaliauskas from the outside, and the distance appeared to bother the Lithuanian boxer a bit. The 5th was an excellent round for the Texas native – perhaps his class in precision over Egis was beginning to show
He certainly had his counterpunches going by this point, winging the left to the body, and short uppercuts to the jaw in splitting the guard. Egis is one tough dog, so he didn’t provide Ortiz any down time to breathe, looking to find something effective to connect with, to re-establish some momentum.
Egis landed a very impressive right hand early in the 6th, thinking he may have hurt Vergil, and perhaps did buzz him, and once again Ortiz waived him in – he was looking for a fight. Vergil re-established distance and landed a beautiful 1-2-3 combination that effected him a good deal. Vergil has to have one of the strongest jabs currently in the business, because he was able to wobble Egis once again with it seconds before the 5th round reached its conclusion.
Round 7, Vergil started to put something nasty on his left hook, and stiff jab, looking to physically bust through Kava’s defense in attempts to hurt him with the power, whether it was blocked, or not. No Vergil Ortiz opponent had made it past the 7 round marker before, so last night was the litmus test boxing wanted to gauge his endurance…or so we thought…
The 8th round was one that will go down in lore…and we don’t exactly know how Vergil’s future will unfold (we all have a pretty good hunch now!), but this was one of the most surgical performances from a young fighter that I have seen in a long time. Vergil Ortiz began to physically bully Kavaliauskas, pushing forward, and ripping away shots at the chest, and once again, it was a telephone pole jab that took the wind out of the Mean Machine, for the 2nd knockdown.
On the canvas, Egidijus Kavaliauskas for the first time in the fight, was visibly shrouded with doubt, and defeat in his face, something I never seen eve in his lone defeat, as he had to know that the writing was on the wall, and there wasn’t anything he could really do about it, to stop the inevitable from happening the way it was happening. He did get up, and tried, but Vergil got meaner and meaner as the time continued in the round, and barreled forward to land a nasty, devastating left hook to floor Kavaliauskas to the mat for the 3rd time in the fight, and the second time in the round.
Egis looked about as weary as you could imagine, though he had a good enough poker face to get the fight to be continued by Cole. Vergil made sure to pounce like a tiger on his prey, and floored him once again with a mean combination, capped off by another left hook to the jaw, slumping him by the ropes for the 3rd time crashing to the mat.
Egis kept on getting up, and with seconds left in the 8th round, I personally felt there was a chance he could get out of the round, but NOPE, Vergil once he heard that clapper, went full pursuit, and blasted Egis out of there with a 4th…yes, 4th knockdown in the round, forcing the outstanding stoppage to keep his knockout streak perfect.
For context – Kavaliauskas had only been down twice in his career (by the same guy, mind you) prior to his contest, but Vergil proceeded to knock him down 5 times total in the fight, and 4 times within a three minute clip…you want to talk about a special young fighter? you better start mentioning Vergil as one of the true leaders of the pack – something special is brewing, and the crowd at Dallas Cowboy Stadium went ballistic, watching their Texas-bred warrior show out.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING Listen…the question for young fighters is, when do they pass the hurdle to take the giant leap of faith up, to take on the huge challenge? with that being said, Vergil Ortiz Jr. IS ready…and he isn’t just ready…he is ready for anybody in the talented Welterweight division.
That includes a potential WBO World Title shot against P4P royalty 🇺🇸Terence “Bud” Crawford. Whether or not he can beat TC, whose skill level is perhaps at the zenith in boxing…it is abundantly clear that at the very least, he can closely compete with Bud, and Vergil is FAR better than any opponent that Crawford has ever faced. A plea to the powers-that-be in boxing – please make this fight in particular. Boxing needs this contest, between two truly skilled surgeons to meet.