LAS VEGAS-It looked bad for Enrique Ornelas who suffered two knockdowns in the first two rounds, but he rallied back with a roar to stop Bronco McKart and captured the NABF middleweight title on Friday.
“I wasn’t worried about the two knockdowns,” said Ornelas (26-4, 16 KOs). “I just thought I’m going to have to kick his butt.”
Body shots proved the secret formula for Ornelas who stopped McKart (51-8, 31 KOs) at the end of the fifth round for a technical knockout before more than 1,000 mostly British fans at the MGM Grand. The fight card was called “The U.K versus the world.”
But it wasn’t as easy as one-two-three with McKart using his veteran experience and southpaw stance to jump to a four-point lead after scoring two flash knockdowns including one in the second that apparently looked like a slip.
No matter. Ornelas was determined to win the rematch after losing their first encounter that ended in a split-decision loss. This time he gritted his teeth and whacked away on McKart’s left and right side of his torso.
McKart wasn’t going to succumb easily, but after sustaining crunching blows to the right side of his body, a right hand to the left side caught him by surprise and down he went for the first time in the fourth round.
“He got me with a great shot,” said McKart, who had dropped Ornelas in the first round with a left hand to the body.
Several right hands and left hooks to the ears of McKart also left him unable to hear. After the fifth round the Michigan fighter returned to his corner with a look of frustration. He decided to call it a night.
Ornelas jumped backward off the top rope to celebrate.
“I’m so happy,” Ornelas said. “I had to win, I had no choice.”
Undefeated John Murray (22-0, 12 KOs) scored a unanimous decision over awkward Mexico’s Miguel Munguia (16-10, 13 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight bout. It was Murray’s tight defense and straight punches that won the fight according to the judges 97-93, 96-94, 98-92.
Another undefeated British fighter named Dean Harrison (10-0, 2 KOs) used to crisp right uppercuts to chop down Ramon Guevara (8-14-2) of the Dominican Republic at 53 seconds into the fifth round.
Former American amateur star Karl Dargan (1-0) found the going a little rough in his first pro bout against Las Vegas fighter Roberto Norris (1-1) in a junior welterweight bout. But his speed proved the difference winning by unanimous decision 40-36 twice and 39-37.
Scotland’s Craig McEwan (9-0, 6 KOs) used his vast amateur experience, southpaw stance and quickness to befuddle Mexico’s Alfredo Contreras (6-3-1) in an eight round middleweight contest. All three judges scored it 79-73 for McEwan.
In a surprise, East L.A.’s Jose Gonzalez (14-4-1) seemed to be the victor after eight rounds of a blistering body attack, but the fight against England’s Lee Meager (21-2-2, 8 KOs) was ruled a majority draw. Judge Patricia Jarman scored it 79-73 for Meager though it looked like he was getting out-boxed for most of the eight rounds.
New Jersey’s Rich Pierson (6-1, 4 KOs) blitzed Jimmy “The British Assassin” (10-2, 7 KOs) in the very first round with several lightning combinations. After two knockdowns referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight in favor of Pierson.
British lightweight Martin Gethin (11-0-1, 5 KOs) knocked out Mexico’s Fabian Luque (8-8-4) in 24 seconds of the fourth round.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV