Vergil Ortiz Jr. devastating in third-round knockout win over Mauricio Herrera

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LAS VEGAS – Vergil Ortiz Jr. passed his toughest test with ease Saturday night.

The explosive young prospect dropped former world title challenger Mauricio Herrera twice, the final time for good in Round 3 of a scheduled 10-round bout.

Ortiz moves to 13-0, with all wins by knockout.

The 21-year-old, who normally fights as a junior welterweight, moved up to 147 pounds to fight against Herrera, whose best days are behind him.

After a nondescript opening round, Ortiz let his hands go, putting Herrera on the defensive and backing up against the ropes. Towards the end of the second, Ortiz staggered Herrera with a right cross to the head. Ortiz followed up, dropping Herrera against the ropes as the bell sounded to end the session. Herrera beat the count but walked back to his corner on unsteady legs.

Ortiz went on the attack in Round 3, closing the distance between the two fighters. Another right cross to the head knocked Herrera out on his feet, prompting referee Russell Mora to immediately stop the fight.

Ortiz, who is resides in Dallas, credits his rapid growth to the sparring he gets at Robert Garcia’s gym in Riverside, California.

“Everyone thinks that I don’t have all that experience just because I’m 12-0, well I’m 13-0 now,” said Ortiz after the fight. “People don’t realize I work in the gym hard every day. I spar world champions all the time. I’m not the one that goes to the world champions and says, ‘Hey, can we spar?’ They come up to me. And that’s the difference between me and the other prospects.”

“There would be times when I would finish a fight and not be satisfied. Tonight, I’m very satisfied with this performance.”

Ortiz, who is rated No. 9 by the WBO, hopes to line up a world championship fight at 140 pounds. Maurice Hooker, also from Dallas, is the reigning WBO titleholder and Ortiz has mentioned his as a possible future opponent.

“I want to go back to 140 and get that world title,” said Ortiz. “There’s plenty of champions that I believe I can take on right now and I hope after this performance, everyone believes in that.”

Herrera, who resides in Riverside, drops to 24-9, 7 KOs.

 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October 2013. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing

 

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