LOS ANGELES-It started slow between Victor Ortiz and Hector Alatorre but then slipped into another gear and ended in a decisive knockout in a junior welterweight fight on Thursday night.

A mostly pro Ortiz (26-2-1, 21 KOs) crowd of more than 2,000 fans at Club Nokia saw Ortiz keep his place in line for a crack at former lightweight world champion Nate Campbell in New York City later this spring. A junior welterweight tournament is on the horizon.

Ortiz can also savor knowing he became the first to knock out the durable Alatorre.

“I didn’t know that,” said Ortiz. “My corner told me to knock him out so I did.”

Alatorre’s experience negated Ortiz’s firepower for the first five rounds as he moved close to smother the Ventura fighter’s punches and tie up the southpaw’s firepower. It was a slow pace, kind of like a long burning fuse.

From the sixth round on Ortiz shed the wait and see approach and stepped into another gear with a busier punch output and sent the blistering lefts and rights that made Alatorre stand up straight from the impact. But Alatorre took every blow to the head, until the final round.

In the 10th and final round, Ortiz let everything go starting with a left hand and two right uppercuts that dropped the seemingly indestructible Alatorre on the seat of his pants. When he got up Alatorre motioned that he had enough of Ortiz’s power. Referee David Mendoza called the fight over at 51 seconds of the round.

“It was a right hand but it started with a left,” said Alatorre who just didn’t have enough firepower to keep Ortiz off him. But he tried. “I did my best.”

You have to hand it to Alatorre, he used every trick in the book to keep the lion from tearing him apart. And it worked for five rounds, then the constant pounding finally created openings for Ortiz’s sledgehammer fists and the end came sudden.

“He was very clever,” said Ortiz.

Other fights

Lightweights Luis Ramos (14-0, 7 KOs) and Colombia’s Walter Estrada (35-12, 24 KOs) showcased two southpaw slugging styles in a short four round fight. Ramos was able to untangle himself from the grabbing and hitting tactics of Estrada to take a unanimous decision win 40-36 after four rounds. Estrada tried vainly to set traps for Ramos but the youngster avoided most of them with feints. The fight was originally scheduled for six rounds.

“It felt a little weird going from six to four rounds,” said Ramos.

At the final bell, both Estrada and Ramos were still firing away looking for the sudden knockout. Both had anger in their eyes and had to be pulled apart.

Ramos takes no prisoners.

Stable mate Carlos Molina (11-0, 6 KOs) cracked his opponent Hensley Strachan (5-6-1) with a left hook and down he went early in their fight. It looked like another first round knock out for Molina, but the Bahamian came back and proved a sturdy opponent. Every time it looked like Molina might put him away, Strachan would come back with a big right hand bomb. Four rounds later both were standing with Molina landing many more shots. The judges scored it 40-35 for Molina of Norwalk, California.

Charles Huerta (13-1, 6 KOs) didn’t avenge a loss but came close in his majority decision victory over Texas featherweight Lupe De Leon (8-10, 4 KOs). Huerta was facing an aggressive and experienced fighter in De Leon who shook off some big shots from Huerta and kept advancing and landing. The judges scored it 57-57, 59-55 and 58-56 for Huerta. Every round was tight from start to finish.

“I feel good, it was a tough fight but that was the type of fight I wanted,” said Huerta. “I wanted to box more but I ended fighting more.”

De Leon beat Derrick Wilson the fighter who stopped Huerta and handed him his only loss.

“It was exciting and we put on a good show for the fans in LA,” De Leon said. “If they give me the opportunity for the rematch I’d love to fight Charles again.”

Philadelphia’s Karl Dargan (7-0, 3 KOs) was much too fast for Mexico’s Jose Lugo (10-13-1, 6 KOs) as he battered the granite chinned lightweight for four rounds. Lugo’s corner saw enough and ended it at the end of the fourth round for a technical knockout victory for Dargan.

A four round junior featherweight bout between Oxnard’s undefeated Ricky Lopez (7-0) and Palm Spring’s hard charging Hugo Ramos (2-5-2) didn’t disappoint. Both fired punches from the hip with Lopez winning the battering session by unanimous decision 39-37 on all three cards, but no round was certain.

Las Vegas junior welterweight Jessie Vargas (9-0, 4 KOs) figured to be in his toughest fight facing undefeated Robert Luna (5-1, 3 KOs). It wasn’t. A left jab dropped Luna for an eight count, then a left hook dropped him again. The final knockdown and knockout arrived with a right hand that forced referee James Jen Kin to stop the fight at 1:56 of the first round.