Kirkland Dominates Julio!
By: David Robinett at ringside
The San Francisco Bay Area played host to one of its biggest nights of boxing in recent years as unbeaten junior middleweight James Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) stopped Joel Julio (34-3, 31 KOs) after six one-sided rounds in the headline bout of Saturday nights HBO’s Boxing After Dark from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
The southpaw Kirkland pressed the action in round one, landing several effective left hands to the body of Julio. He connected with one to the head that opened a cut over Julio’s right eye moments before the end of the round.
Julio began to connect more in round two, but it was still Kirkland applying the pressure and being the aggressor.
Things began to look ominous for Julio early in round three when he landed a left hand flush on Kirkland ’s chin that appeared to have little effect. Perhaps Julio noticed as he chose to switch to more of a boxing style utilizing his movement and jab mixed with several effective lead right hands.
Julio, a devastating puncher with a 90% knockout ratio, appeared uncomfortable with Kirkland ’s constant pressure and it appeared his punching power was neutralized by having to fight nearly the entire fight movin g backwards. Meanwhile Kirkland continued to chase Julio down and punish him with both hands, particularly to the body.
While Julio has his moments during several exchanges between the fighters, his punches were neither hurting Kirkland nor stopping his forward momentum. By the end of round six, Julio’s right eye was still bleeding and starting to swell shut. Between rounds referee Raul Caiz, Jr., waved the fight after examining Julio in his corner.
After the fight, a victorious Kirkland explained his winning strategy. “The pressure and jab was the key,” said Kirkland . “My game was to get on him and stay on him, and put a lot of pressure on my opponent.”
Asked at the post-fight press conference whether he felt the power of Julio, Kirkland replied, “I wasn’t hurt, as far as being able to take a punch, I can take a punch from a robot.”
For his part, Julio acknowledged Kirkland was the better man, “I hit him really hard and I thought I had him, but he had a strong chin tonight.”
Ortiz Stops Arnauotis in Two!
In the evening’s second televised bout and co-main event, “Vicious” Victor Ortiz, (24-1-1, 19 KOs), continued his march up the 140 pound ladder as he stopped the normally durable Mike Arnauotis, (21-3-1, 10 KOs ) in a twelve round junior welterweight bout for the NABO and USBA junior welterweight titles.
Arnauotis was able to box from the outside in round one, moving in and out before Ortiz could get off any sustained attack.
In round two, a lunging left hook by Ortiz staggered Arnauotis. As the Greek backed into the corner, Ortiz unleashed several unanswered punches, including an uppercut which snapped Arnauotis’ head back and prompted referee Ray Balewicz to step in and stop the fight at 1:28 into the round.
Following yet another quick knockout victory, Ortiz remarked after the fight that he believes he has graduated from prospect status to contender.
“A new champion is on the rise,” proclaimed Ortiz. “I’m not stopping for anyone or anything.”
The affable Ortiz was also the star of the post-fight press conference, riffing on his new sponsors, his collection of minor title belts, and insisting that he is not trying for the quick knockout even though he’s had several in succession.
“When I hit him [Arnauotis] I looked in his eyes and I took a little step back and tried to stay patient,” said Ortiz. “I said to myself, ‘Whoa, wait a minute dude, it’s a twelve round fight’, so in my mind I just kept hearing ‘twelve’, ‘twelve’, ‘twelve...’”
Following Ortiz’s comments, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaeffer, whose company promoted this event, confirmed that Ortiz and some of the other prospects on Saturday’s card would be back in action on June 27, 2009.
Guerrero vs. Yordan a No-Decision!
The first televised bout of the evening was also listed as a co-main event but was the main attraction for most of the fans in attendance, as local star and former IBF fe atherweight champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero faced off against undefeated Indonesian prospect Daud Yordan (17-0, 12 KOs) in a ten-round junior lightweight bout for the vacant NABO title.
Unfortunately a cut over Guerrero’s right eye from an accidental headbutt in round two led to referee Jon Schorle stopping the fight at 1:47 of the round. The stoppage managed to take much of the air out of the nearly 7,000 fans in attendance.
The biggest question coming into the bout was the enigmatic Yordan, who brought respectable amateur credentials with him but whom few boxing observers had seen any footage of. During the pre-fight press conference on Thursday even Guerrero admitted he was only able to find one tape of the 21-year old half-Chinese, half-Indonesian fighter currently ranked #4 in the world at featherweight by the WBO.
However, Yordan acquitted himself well in limited action, landing punches from multiple angles and showing good defense, albeit with some excessive clinching. He fought on equal terms with the former champ until the stoppage, which was a no-decision due to the accidental headbutt occurring before the end of four rounds.
After the fight, many of the ringside press questioned Guerrero’s reaction to the cut, effectively soliciting the stoppage from the referee. While the cut was visibly serious, in light of the fact that this was a show built around Guerrero’s local popularity, whether fair or not many observers felt Guerrero should have at least let his corner work the cut before calling it a night. Nevertheless, Guerrero expressed his disappointment in his post-fight comments.
“This sucks. I was cut and I couldn’t see anything,” explained Guerrero. “I’m so disappointed. Its bad luck because I wanted to please the fans that came out to support me. [During the time-out] they were asking me about my eye, but it was full of blood and I couldn’t see anything, it was blurred out. The doctor said it was in a bad spot and so they stopped it.”
Heavyweights Rock the Tank!
Preceding the televised portion of the card was a pair of heavyweight showcases. Former Michigan State linebacker Seth Mitchell (10-0-1, 7 KOs ) crushed Joseph Rabotte (3-5, 1 KO) scoring a knockout just over a minute into their scheduled six-round bout.
Mitchell, a former All-American, put Rabotte out on his feet against the ropes with a big right hook. He then dropped him with another right hook as referee Ray Balewicz was rushing in between the two men. Rabotte fell sideways onto the canvas like a fallen tree and stayed down for several seconds after the stoppage. The official time was 1:19 of round one.
Another undefeated heavyweight, San Francisco ’s Ashanti Jordan (8-0, 7 KOs) dispatched trial horse Willie Perryman (10-18, 7 KOs ) at 1:50 of round three in their scheduled six-round contest.
Both men fought tentatively in the opening round, with neither man landing anything of significance. In round two Jordan scored a knockdown of Perryman which appeared to be a slip or at least partially due to Perryman being off-balance.
Perryman got up quickly and was not hurt, but in the next round Jordan finished him off, landing a nifty straight left hand right on Perryman’s chin that sprawled him across the canvas where the referee stopped the fight without a count.
In Other Action:
On an undercard loaded with prospects, young featherweight Charles Huerta improved his record to 9-0, 5 KOs with a controversial split decision over unheralded Andres Ledesma (15-12-1, 10 KOs ).
Ledesma spent the bulk of the fight circling away from Huerta and occasionally pot-shotting him with both hands while Huerta mechanically followed, unable to cut off the ring and alter Ledesma’s well-worn path.
Huerta appeared to land more punches than Ledesma but rarely more than one at a time. Two judges scored the bout for the more aggressive Huerta, 59-55 and a debatable 60-54, while the third judge awarded the more accurate but less active Ledesma with a 58-56 score.
In arguably the best fight of the evening, undefeated welterweight prospects Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield and rugged Mexican Mario Lozano battled it out over six rounds, with Mayfield getting the win by scores of 56-55, 56-55, and 57-54.
The action was slow until Lozano stunned the lunging Mayfield coming in with a short right hand that dropped “Hard Hitta” onto the canvas. Lozano held onto the momentum through round three by continuing to time Mayfield with right hands, but in round four Mayfield unleashed his own right hand, knocking down Lozano but then immediately gave back the point by hitting Lozano while on the canvas.
The pair stalked each other in round five, with the heavier-handed Mayfield sporadically hurting Lozano. Hesitant to attack and get caught again coming in, however in the final round a lunging right hook by Mayfield dropped Lozano for the second time.
Smelling blood Mayfield started launching wild right hooks, some landing, some missing badly and allowed Lozano to counter, including a left hook with a minute remaining that rocked Mayfield. Nevertheless, Mayfield survived the round and escaped with the narrow unanimous decision, improving to (8-0-1, 5 KOs), while Lozano suffers his first loss and falls to (6-1, 5 KOs ).
Garcia Boxing’s prized pupil, undefeated super featherweight Eloy Perez (13-0-2, 3 KOs) battered overmatched Gabe Garcia (5-6-1, 1 KO) over three and one-half rounds in a scheduled six-round bout before referee Ray Balewicz stopped the carnage at 2:26 of round four. Perez landed his left hook early and often as Garcia was unable to defend against it.
In round three a series of left hooks by Perez drove Garcia into the ropes, prompting the referee to call a knockdown. Garcia also spit out his mouthpiece twice during exchanges with Perez later in the round which drew a one-point deduction from Balewicz.
Finally, in round four another Perez left hook staggered Garcia badly causing the referee to step in and stop the bout.
Sharp-looking prospect Luis Ramos (10-0, 5 KOs) cruised past durable journeyman Anthony Martinez (21-29-3, 9 KOs ) in a four-round lightweight bout by scores of 40-35 and 40-36 twice.
The southpaw Ramos dominated Martinez with crisp, accurate punching and some heavy blows to both the head and body of his opponent. But the game Martinez managed to keep from going down and provide d the youngster with some valuable rounds of experience.
A scheduled four-round super featherweight bout between Mike Perez (2-0-1, 2 KOs) and Andres Reyes (1-1-1, 0 KOs) was stopped after one round due to a cut over Perez’s left eye caused by an unintentional headbutt. The bout was ruled a technical draw.
Junior welterweight Karl Dargan (3-0, 1 KO) stopped Sergio Orantes (0-1) by TKO at 2:15 of round two in a scheduled four-round contest. Dargan knocked down Orantes with a straight right hand in round one and again with the same punch in round two before referee Jon Schorle waved the fight over.