In the Bay Area sluggers dominated as James Kirkland and Victor Ortiz scored knockouts while Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero was forced to stop due to a nasty cut over the eye on Saturday.

A return to the Northern California saw lefty sluggers show their power before a large audience at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Kirkland and Ortiz proved worthy to move on in a fight card promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and televised on HBO.

It was supposed to be a rigid test for Oxnard’s juggernaut Ortiz (24-1-1, 18 KOs) who faced Mighty Mike Arnaoutis (21-3-1, 10 KOs) in defense of his NABO junior welterweight title. Instead, it was a showcase to the rest of the division and boxing fans.

Both fighters opened the first round tentatively with Ortiz proving to be the more daring. Several quick one-twos and jabs proved effective enough to win the round against the veteran from Greece.

Between rounds, Ortiz’s trainer gave him the recipe for victory when he told him to watch for the right jab and counter with a left. A truer sage does not exist.

Ortiz opened the second round more aggressively and so did Arnaoutis. But when the Greek boxer shot a right jab and sudden left of a missile by Ortiz whacked him good and sent him reeling toward the ropes. Ortiz immediately jumped on Arnaoutis with a blaze of 15 blows including a right uppercut that snapped the head.

Referee Ray Balewicz jumped in the middle of the punches to stop the fight at 1:27 of the second round though Arnoutis never hit the canvas. A replay of the action showed that the Greek junior welterweight looked out on his feet with that single right uppercut.

“I just stuck to the plan,” said Ortiz, who was rarely hit in return by Arnaoutis who many felt would proved a true test of the Oxnard fighter’s ability. “Those fighters from Greece are very tough.”

Ortiz definitely showed power in both hands, though he’s actually a right-hander fighting in a southpaw stance.

“All I got to say is I’m a young kid on the rise. I’m not stopping for anyone,” said Ortiz.


In the main event, it was Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) who also followed this mantra despite facing Joel Julio (34-3, 31 KOs) a heavy-handed boxer-puncher from Colombia who was once seen in the same mode.

Kirkland refused to acknowledge Julio’s power.

From the opening bell the muscular junior middleweight from Austin, Texas advanced toward Julio in kill or be killed fashion. Though Julio has 31 knockouts on his resumed Kirkland simply dared the Colombian to trade bombs.

It was an offer Julio refused.

Though Kirkland ate some right hands throughout the six rounds of action, he simply would not be denied his pound of flesh as he powered through over and over.

Left hand push jabs by Kirkland seemed to affect Julio’s will to exchange and when they did, the intensity rose several levels. But just as suddenly, the Colombian fighter would get back on his toes and try to dance out of danger.

Julio tried to bust some of Kirkland’s eagerness with right hand counters, but the Texan who is trained by Ann Wolfe refused to slow down the knockout train and rumbled forward like a Texas locomotive.

In the sixth round, Julio shot some combinations in a deadly exchange. But Kirkland simply steamed forward in that now familiar advance and pummeled the Colombian up and down and sapped the will out of him.

After the bell referee Raul Caiz Jr. asked Julio’s corner if the fight should continue and they shook their heads. Kirkland was the winner by technical knockout at the end of round six.

Asked what he did wrong he answered, “I didn’t give myself enough punching room” a few instances in the fight.

Otherwise he passed his stiffest test and now seems primed for the leading junior middleweights.


Hometown hero Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero was unable to give a rousing performance for the fans against Indonesia’s Daud Yordan. An accidental clash of heads opened up a cut above his right eye in the second round that hampered his vision. The bout was declared no contest.

One thing the Indonesian fighter Yordan and the other fighter from that country showed is they can box, but they hold way too much. Both Yordan and Chris John in last week’s fight, love to fire quick combos then grab their opponent. The referees need to explain that it’s not allowed in boxing. It also slows up any fight and causes cuts like Guerrero suffered. It’s also a tremendous bore for boxing fans.

Other bouts

Paramount, California’s Charles Huerta (9-0, 5 KOs) squeaked by Colombia’s tough Andres Ledesma (15-12-1) by split decision in a featherweight fight.

Salinas, California’s Eloy Perez (13-0-2, 3 KOs) scored a fourth round technical knockout over Arizona’s Gabe Garcia (4-6-1) in a junior lightweight bout.

Orange County’s Luis Ramos (10-0) won by unanimous decision over Nicaragua’s Anthony Martinez (21-29-3) in a junior welterweight contest.

Philadelphia’s Karl Dargan (3-0) scored his first knockout against California’s debuting Sergio Orantes (0-1) in a junior welterweight clash.

San Francisco heavyweight Ashanti Jordan (8-0, 7 KOs) kept his unbeaten record with a third round knockout of Mississippi's William Perryman (10-18).