Archive for August, 2021

On His Fight With Kavaliauskas
Vergil Ortiz Makes It Clear;
“This Is The Fight Everyone Must Watch!”

Monday, August 9th, 2021

By William Trillo

Having been ringside to watch Vergil Ortiz (17-0, 17 KO’s) live nine times in his career, I feel as qualified as anyone to speak to the young fighters World Class skills. From being there when he made his pro debut in Indio, California and all the way up to his dismantling of Mauricio Herrera in Las Vegas, Nevada, I have witnessed all the impressive tools Ortiz has in his arsenal. I have become a firm believer that Ortiz is one of the top young fighters in the world. I will take that a step further when I say without hesitation that Vergil Ortiz is the best fighter in The Golden Boy stable. Again, I say that without hesitation.

This Saturday August 14th in Frisco, Texas Ortiz will take on a huge challenge when he puts his newly acquired WBO International 147-pound belt on the line against the battle tested Egidijus Kavaliauskas (22-1-1, 18 KO’s). This fight, broadcast by DAZN, has all the makings of a Fight Of The Year type war.

I had a chance to speak with Ortiz at the end of his final week of sparring. From his last fight with Maurice Hooker and his thoughts on his upcoming battle, Ortiz was gracious to give us his insight. Check out the interview:

Pound4Pound: Thank you so much for giving me a moment of your time Vergil, I know you’re at the end of your big week of training and I appreciate your time.

Vergil Ortiz: No, thank you. And thanks for having me.

P4P: Good, good…Hey, you’re fighting next week in Frisco, Texas. Again, basically in your hometown. That’s got to be great to go back to back in your home state.

VO: Oh yeah, definitely. It feels great fighting back at home. Back-to-back! I love fighting at home. I’ve got a loving atmosphere.

P4P: Frisco’s pretty close to your home, isn’t it about 30 to 40 minutes away? So, you’re probably going to have a lot of people there and rooting you on.

VO: Oh yeah, of course. I’m looking forward to it.

P4P: I consider myself fortunate in that you’ve had a lot of fights down here in my Los Angeles area and also Las Vegas. I’ve been able to see you very often and I’ve come to appreciate your skills so much. My personal feeling is you are the cream of the crop with the Golden Boy stable. It must be nice to be getting that publicity and getting the Main Even fights on DAZN. I believe you are right on the verge of hitting the big stage very soon.

VO: I definitely feel the love from Golden Boy. I’m grateful to be with them. I said it from the beginning, I love being with them. They’re awesome. I’m not just trying to be a suck up or anything. They’re actually really good to me.

P4P: That’s great. In your last fight, I kind of want to call it your “breakout” fight, everybody was really looking forward to how you would do with Hooker. I think you made a big statement there stopping him in seven, you were ahead on all the cards at the time. I don’t think there’s anybody that should question what you did and what you proved that night.

VO: Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of people say that, “Oh, Vergil got touched up” or whatever. I’ve always been the type to get marks on my face. If people were really watching the fight, I was blocking most of those shots. I got hit maybe with two or three clean shots, those shots aren’t going to leave the marks like I had. The gloves were rubbing on my face or whatever, but it’s all good. I felt like I was in control the entire time.

P4P: As to your opponent, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, I’ve been watching him as well. Not as much as I’ve watched you, but quite frankly, I did watch his last fight with Zewski . And Kavaliauskas had some trouble in there. Had he had not knocked Zewski out he was actually behind on the scorecards. Do you look at things like that when you go into your fight? Where that fight was at that time, even though he did stop Zewski, there was a little bit of a problem for him. Did you see it like that?

VO: I don’t know. I did see the fight. I saw the whole fight. I think that he was doing okay. He was doing enough to not make the other guy look really good. At the same time, he wasn’t doing too much himself, but at the same time sometimes styles make fights. You just never know, but for this upcoming fight we got two fighters that love to fight, that love to be in those exciting fights. So I don’t think this fight is going to be like that.

P4P: So, you prepare yourselves accordingly then. It could end up being a good hard fight. I’m feeling this fight’s going to go about the same as the other two, seventh or eighth round knockout. And you’re going to be on top and then going on your merry way to bigger and better things.

VO: I mean, that’s the plan. Hopefully that’s the way it goes.

P4P: Okay, good. Just quickly….Everything’s going well, as far as camp, weight, nobody’s got any COVID or whatever else at all?

VO: Nope, no, no, not this time. No we’re good. We’re healthy over here. And I’m grateful for that. I feel great for this camp.

P4P: Any last words for fans and people getting ready to watch next week?

VO: Just make sure you tune in, this is going to be a fight. If you ever had to watch one fight, including my future ones, I would say this is the fight that everyone would love to watch. It’s going to be an exciting fight. I can’t wait to watch the fight after I fight.

P4P: Vergil, it’s been a real pleasure watching you fight. I’ve been so fortunate to see so many of your fights up close and I’m really thrilled that Cecilia at Golden Boy gave me this opportunity to speak to you. Good luck next week.

VO: Thank you. Thank you.

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Popoca Jr. Earning His Stripes

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

By William Trillo

Lost somewhere in the current hustle bustle and rhetoric of fighters not being able to come to terms with some 50 million dollars on the table there are young fighters who just want to climb into the ring and prove themselves as true pugilistic warriors. There is nothing these young men want more than to look across the ring at their foe as they wait for the bell to ring so he can earn his stripes by proving he is the better man.

Such is the case for young fighter Frank Popoca Jr. who will be stepping into the ring this week for the second time. The fight in South Carolina is far from the national spotlight, but for Popoca it does not matter. He just wants to step into the squared circle and prove he has everything it takes to rightfully be called a “Prizefighter”.

Check out our interview with Popoca Jr.:

Pound4Pound: Your career started off with a Majority decision victory, how do you feel going into your second pro fight?

Popoca Jr.: I’ve had time to look back at the film to study my mistakes and learn from them. I definitely feel more confident coming into this next fight.

P4P: Your opponent has 25 pro fights under his belt, that’s a big step up. Your team must be very confident in your skills?

PJ: Although I’m stepping into the ring with someone of much more experience one thing that can’t be questioned is the work that was put in leading up to this fight. My team’s confidence in me and the training is what made us take the fight.

P4P: Speaking of your team, you have James Toney working with you. How were you able to hook up with James?

PJ: James Toney was first introduced to me by Tony Burgess. Burgess is my manager and has played a huge part in my whole professional career.

P4P: Your fight is in South Carolina, what is the connection there? How did you connect with a promoter on the other side of the country?

PJ: That also is thanks to Burgess. His connection with SouthPaw promotions is what was able to help me get the fight.

P4P: Do you have any last words for your friends, family and fans before the fight?

PJ: To everyone supporting, I thank you! I appreciate it very much. I’m going to do my best to put on a show for you guys. Big thank you to my coach Salvador Gonzalez and lastly thank you Pops for making this fight happen. Thank you Xio Sandoval for setting this up.

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