GOLDEN BOY welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz gets a key test in his career against fellow Texan Maurice Hooker on Saturday (March 20) at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.

So far in his professional career Ortiz has answered every question asked of him. All 16 of his opponents he’s finished inside the distance, including a 2019 knockout over Mauricio Herrera, a seasoned veteran albeit one at the end of his career, halting Antonio Orozco, who’d gone the distance with Jose Ramirez, after that and dominating Samuel Vargas over seven rounds last year.

But Hooker should be a cut above. From Dallas, like Ortiz, Hooker became a world champion when he beat Terry Flanagan in Manchester for the WBO super-lightweight title. He defended it twice before succumbing to the now unified champion Jose Ramirez inside six rounds in 2019. That was the now 27-1-3 (18) Hooker’s first and only defeat.

“I’ve never been one to shy away from a fight,” Hooker said. “The decision to fight Ortiz was an easy one as it allows me to prove to the world something that I already know — that I’m one of the best welterweights in the world. I have a new team around me who has taken my game to a whole new level, and I feel amazing at this weight class. I can’t wait to put on a show for all the fans on March 20. Dallas, get ready.”

But this will be Hooker’s first contest at 147lbs. Ortiz’s power and strength will be effective. Ortiz might well prove himself a world level contender against Hooker, but the latter’s experience might see him become the first man to take Vergil the distance. It looks to be a well-matched bout.

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“I’m really grateful to be fighting back at home again,” Ortiz said. “Not only that, but I’ll be fighting another Dallas native in Maurice Hooker. I’ve known Hooker since back in the amateur days, I know we’re going to give the fans back at home a fight to remember.”

On the undercard, 19-0 (8) Seniesa Estrada, who won a horrendous mismatch against Miranda Adkins in seven seconds last time out, will challenge Anabel Ortiz, 31-3 (4), for the WBA strawweight title. DAZN broadcast.