Photo credit to Stacey Snyder
In front of a pro Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (17-0, 17 KO's) fight crowd at the STAR, home of the Dallas, Cowboys training facility, Ortiz, the pride of Grand Prairie Texas put on an exciting fight against Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas (22-1-1, 18 KOs).
The excitement was already in the arena and when the bell sounded for the first round, all eyes were on both fighters, in what almost seemed like a dead silence from the crowd because of the anticipation of the first big punch to be landed.
At the start of the round, Vergil began methodically moving forward as he snapped his jab toward Kalaiuskas. Both fighters were strategically moving in and out as they faced each other in the middle of the ring, like a chess match.
Physically looking, Kavaliauskas may have looked bigger and supposedly stronger, but power comes from speed and that is where Ortiz had the advantage. As Vergil slowly moved forward snapping his jab, Kavaliauskas bobbed and weaved his body directly in front of Vergil.
What was noticeable from the beginning of the fight is that Ortiz always has his right hand guarding the right side of his face, and it appeared as if it was glued to his face, a boxing fundamental that many boxers either forget to do or get lazy with. Although Ortiz only threw his right hand several times in the first round, the majority of his punches were his jab.
At the beginning of the second Ortiz landed his first uppercut and started to release his right hand to the head of Kavaliauskas, who held his ground with him in the middle of the ring.
Ortiz then threw a hook to the body and followed it up with another jab. Now the table turned for a second and Kavaliauskas was the one pursuing Ortiz. Then Ortiz landed a solid uppercut on Kavaliauskas and then Kavaliauskas lunged forward and threw several punches, and Ortiz moved to his right in close, Kavaliauskas landed a short uppercut and then landed a huge uppercut with his left hand that made Ortiz' head move back violently. Ortiz continued to hold on and Kavaliauskas got in another short right uppercut just before referee Laurence Cole stepped in to break them up.
After the fight continued, Kavaliauskas tried to go after Ortiz, assuming he was hurt and missed several right hands as he tried to go in for the kill. Ortiz kept his composure and jabbed back and threw a haymaker left which missed and he momentarily fell to the canvas, but it was just a slip.
The uppercut by Kavaliauskas must have made Ortiz angry and he came back with an uppercut that hurt Kavaliauskas and he backed him up to the ropes and started to go after him and then the bell rang. If not for the bell, the fight might have been over, but anything could have happened with the dangerous Kavaliauskas.
At the beginning of the third round, Ortiz remained calm as he continued to flick his jab out, but now he was following it up with the right hand much more. Ortiz then thew his jab then landed a straight right hand to the head of Kavaliauskas as he started to move forward again.
Suddenly, Kavaliauskas slipped in a good right hand to the face of Ortiz, which made him angry again and he gestured to Kavaliauskas to come for some more as he landed his jab, then a glancing right hand just seconds before the end of the round.
After an exchange of punches of both fighters, Ortiz landed sort left hook/straight hard jab to the left of Kavaliauskas face and it put him down on the seat of his pants. After the count, the bell sounded as they walked toward each other as the crowd could be heard in the background.
For those who may have thought Ortiz was hurt from the what happened in the second round, it was evident that Ortiz was now stepping it up a notch.
In the beginning of the fourth round, Kavaliauskas began to move methodically forward, in hopes of getting back into the fight because of the knockdown in the previous round, but he was met with the constant jab of Ortiz.
For the first time of the night, the crowd was shouting "Vergil, Vergil, Vergil," as he slowly moved toward Kavaliauskas around the ring. Kavaliauskas was now bobbing and weaving in an attempt to get in closer to maybe land a good punch. To the delight of the crowd, Ortiz landed a chopping right hand downward to the right side of Kavaliauskas' face, just before the bell. Ortiz was now making it look easier and Kavaliauskas appeared to be slowing down.
At the beginning of the fifth round, Ortiz landed a quick straight right hand to the head of Kavaliauskas and then another as he backed up his Lithuanian opponent. Ortiz was very disciplined in this round as he landed punches, waiting to strike like the Lone Star Cobra, Donald Curry, of Fort Worth would do. In this round, Kavaliauskas was waiting to counter but Ortiz never gave him the chance to do to.
In the sixth round, Kavaliauskas' counter worked as he landed a glancing right hand to the lower jaw of Ortiz who wasn't hurt by the punch and he gestured Kavaliauskas to come get some more. Kavaliauskas now began to back up the twenty three year old phenom of th welterweight division.
Ortiz then started to move Kavaliauskas back and threw a combination but it was blocked by Kavaliauskas. Kavaliauskas now began go try to bob and weave his way in again as he threw his combination in with little effect. He was still holding his ground as he tried to get in closer and closer to Ortiz who kept keeping him away with his jab. At the end of the round, Ortiz landed a stiff right hand that shook Kavaliauskas' head back.
In the seventh, a round that Ortiz has never been past, he came out and was slowly walking down Kavaliauskas and landing a double jab and was throwing his right hand with bad intentions. He then threw the right hand first and then ducked the punch of Kavaliauskas.
Ortiz then threw a left hook to the head of Kavaliauskas and then landed a left hook to the body of Kavaliauskas.
As Kavaliauskas stood in front of Ortiz, he landed another stiff left hook to the head of Kavaliauskas and was in complete control of the fight. Ortiz then looked like the the Lone Star Cobra again as he moved forward left to right and landed a hard straight right hand to the head of Kavaliauskas and the last punch of the round to the top of Kavaliauskas' head.
This is the first fight that Ortiz has gone past the seventh round and it was evident after the bell rang for the eighth round that his intent was that it would not last long. Ortiz continued to press the fight and jab at Kavaliauskas and then starting going to the body with a left hook.
Suddenly Ortiz landed a what appeared to be a left hook to the body but it was actually a straight left jab to the body of Kavaliauskas and he took a knee. After referee Laurance Cole let the fight continue, Ortiz started to walk down Kavaliauskas and than landed a short uppercut and forced Kavaliauskas back into the ropes and landed a left hook that made the Lithuanian touch the canvas with his knee momentarily.
This was the second knockdown in this round and after the fight continued, Ortiz landed a barrage of punches and dropped Kavaliauskas again with a left hook and his left knee buckled and he touched the canvas and Kavaliauskas got up again.
After Kavaliauskas took the full count in the corner, Ortiz went after him with a flurry of punches and as he was backing him up, he finished it with a left hook that sent Kavaliauskas to the seat of his pants onto the canvas and the fight was over.
Ortiz was able to put Kavaliauskas a total of five times in the fight and four of the knockdowns were in the eight round.
In this fight Ortiz proved he could not only take a punch, but he can fight on and win against a very durable fighter. His maturity in the ring is beyond his young age and will be a force to reckon with in the welterweight division.