COSTA MESA-One co-main event was a brutalization and the other was simply brutal as middleweight James Kirkland stopped his opponent quickly and junior welterweight Luis Ramos struggled to win by majority decision on Friday.

Kirkland (27-0, 24 KOs) quickly returned to the ring after beating Ahsandi Gibbs (KO1) on the Cotto-Mayorga card and out-slugged Colombia’s Jhon Berrio (15-9, 11 KOs) in two rounds at the Orange County Fairgrounds in a middleweight fight staged by Golden Boy Promotions and Roy Englebrecht Productions. Fans numbering 1,574 were not disappointed.

Sweat was flying as Kirkland, who was off from March 2009 until the Gibbs bout, traded bombs with Berrio  freely in the first round. An overhand right from the Colombian landed flush and a straight left cross from Kirkland punctuated the first round.

In the second it was all Kirkland who fired up the punching machine again and connected with a left to the temple that didn’t seem to bother Berrio. A few seconds later after a short right hook seemed to miss, Berrio slumped to the floor. He did not get up and was counted out at 2:05 of the second round.

The Commission held Berrio’s purse until a further investigation.

Kirkland simply wants more training and more fights.

“I want to get back to training the way I was before,” said Kirkland, who is now training in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I feel stronger now.

Kirkland spent two years in jail for parole violations but now is anxious to return to the top.

“I’m training hard man,” he said.

In the co-main event Ramos (18-0 , 8 KOs) and Texan Jose Hernandez (10-5-1) scrapped for eight solid rounds with each fighter unable to dominate. The taller Hernandez used his arm length to score repeatedly with left hooks and snapping uppercuts that Ramos took surprisingly well. In return Ramos worked the body and shortened his punches after round one to begin taking slight control.

Hernandez would have none of that. The lanky Texan shrugged off the body shots and returned fire with straight rights and left hooks. Jabs also seemed to score well but neither fighter would surrender.

After eight rounds the fight was scored a majority decision 76-76, 79-73 and 77-75 for Ramos.

The San Diego prizefighter Antonio Orozco (9-0, 6 KOs) showed no effects from a recent layoff as he blitzed Mexico’s Manuel Aguilar (5-2, 4 KOs) with three solid body shots and a right cross that took away any desire to fight. At 1:42 of the first round the first was over.

Dominican Francisco Contreras (16-0, 13 KOs) decisively defeated Mexico’s Adolfo Landeros (19-18-1) after six rounds of a lightweight bout. Contreras, who fights out of Oxnard, was too quick, too tall and able to fire at will against the smaller Landeros. All three judges scored it 60-54 for Contreras.

Whittier’s Humberto Zatarain (1-0) survived a first down knockdown from southpaw Jose Sanchez (3-2) and rallied to win a unanimous decision 38-37 on all three cards. Zatarain, a junior lightweight, was making his pro debut.

Costa Mesa’s Stephan Lugo won his pro debut with sharper punches that resulted in a knockout against Lakewood’s J.J. Ambrose who was also making his pro debut in a super middleweight contest. The knockout came at 1:49 of the third round.

Santa Ana’s Bobby Chavez (1-2) picked up his first victory with a third round technical knockout at 1:14. A left to the body dropped Steven Rubalcava (0-3) and after beating the count his corner requested the junior middleweight fight be stopped.

Comment on this article


-Radam G :

Wow! James Kirkland is a wrecking machine. Hum! He is looking like a Clubber Lane heading straight for Rocky. The pugilistic grapevine is noisy with Rocky III jive that Sergio Martinez and JK are on a collision course. Enough said. Holla!