Boxing


Sharkie’s Machine: Kirkland Batters Julio, Ortiz TKOs Arnaoutis

James KirklandBy Frank Gonzalez Jr. - March 8th, 2009 - Saturday at The Tank in San Jose California, Jr. Lightweight Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (23-1-1 NC, 16 KO’s) faced a little known fighter from Indonesia, Daud Yordan (23-0-1 NC, 17 KO’s). Guerrero started fast, landing two lefts to the body in what started as a quick paced fight. Yordan proved a good boxer, landing a left, right combo flush into Guerrero’s face. Then, Yordan landed two straight lefts to the face. Guerrero’s aggression morphed into clinching. A Yordan combo cracked Guerrero again near the end of the first round.

The second round was equally intense, with Yordan finding Guerrero easy to hit. Yordan would throw a jab, follow up with a combination and then clinch before Guerrero could respond in kind. Early in the second round, Yordan and Guerrero banged heads. Guerrero suffered a fairly nasty cut over his right eye and told the referee that he “couldn’t see.” The ringside doc checked him out and after about one and a quarter rounds had passed, the fight was called off and both fighters got a No Decision added to their records. The fans in the stands were pissed off, as they chanted, “Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit!” Hey, they paid good money to see their boy Guerrero fight and they only got a round and a half of action?

Though the cut was bad, it looked manageable but it was Guerrero who wanted to stop the fight, not the ref or the ringside doctor. Though it’s understandable that Guerrero chose not to risk his health over entertaining his fans, it does leave a cloud of doubt over Guerrero’s heart under pressure. We’ve all seen fighters fight through worse cuts than that. Boxing is a combat sport. There’s going to be some blood. I hope Guerrero is okay and avails himself to a rematch with Yordan. It would only be fair to fight that rematch in Indonesia. Hey, it might make for a nice vacation for the Guerrero family, why not? Regardless of the venue, in cases like this, a rematch should be mandatory.

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Next up on the card was “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis (21-3-1, 10 KO’s) of Greece, who’s record suggests he might want to reconsider his nickname… against Oxnard California’s “Vicious” Victor Ortiz (24-1-1, 19 KO’s), who will have plenty of chances to live up to his nickname. This fight felt like a showcase for Ortiz, who is a good boxer/puncher, against the technically astute but feather fisted Arnaoutis, who’s been on the downslide recently since he has a less than entertaining style of tap and run boxing.

I thought Ortiz showed good discipline and won the first round with cleaner punches. In the second round, Ortiz had cut off the ring and landed a big left that stunned Arnaoutis, who covered up and moved into the corner, trying to weather the storm that was Ortiz’ rally. Outside of the big left that staggered Arnaoutis, most of Ortiz’ other punches were being blocked except for an upper cut that broke Mike’s guard. The referee, in what this fan considers overzealousness, waved Arnaoutis out. Arnaoutis was questioning why the ref stopped it, since he was blocking most of Ortiz’s shots and still capable of continuing. Well, that was it for Arnaoutis, who now has three losses and a big hill to climb if he wants to be a serious contender among the B level fighters in his division.

This was a really bad stoppage though. Arnaoutis didn’t get knocked down and appeared quite conscious and capable after being ruled out by the ref. Ortiz is a hungry young fighter with impressive composure. He does not need this kind of ‘official help’ to shine. Had the fight been allowed to continue, Ortiz may have gotten a legitimate TKO without the asterisk.

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The good thing about the two quick stoppages was that it brought me closer to the fight I have really wanted to see; James Kirkland (25-0, 22 KO's) against Joel Julio (34-3, 31 KO's).

Kirkland proved way too much for Julio to handle. In the first round, Kirkland was like a tornado, blasting Julio and chasing him around the ring. Julio’s supposed better boxing skills didn’t matter in the face of the storm of Kirkland’s aggression. After a ruthless barrage of punches, Julio suffered a cut over his right eye that proved a real handicap as the fight continued.

Kirkland continued to chase Julio around the ring in the second. Somehow, Julio started to find a little rhythm from the outside and managed to tag Kirkland with a few clean shots, including a straight right, right into Kirkland’s face. A moment later, Julio landed a good shot to the body. Kirkland didn’t even seem to notice. Kirkland adjusted his tempo, and focused on following his corner’s instructions to double up on his jab, use more feints and move his head more. Kirkland got hit with the cleaner shots but he was the still the bully in the ring. Punch-stats notwithstanding.

There was a lot of back and forth action in the third. Julio’s corner encouraged him to keep his defense tight and look to counter. Kirkland was doubling his jabs and kept the applying that pressure that dictated the pace. Julio had some good moments again in the third round but nothing he ever landed seemed to hurt Kirkland at all. Julio landed a big counter right, flush into the face of Kirkland, who barely seemed to notice.

The ref warned Kirkland for hitting behind the head early in the fourth round. Kirkland continued to chase Julio, who between the pressure and that nagging cut over his right eye, was starting to fold. Julio landed some good shots here and there but nothing consistent enough to win the round. Julio’s eye was looking real bad by the start of the fifth round. Julio landed some big shots as he rallied to change the tides but Kirkland took everything Julio could dish out without effect.

Between the fifth and sixth, Julio’s corner asked, “How are you feeling?” Julio just looked at them sarcastically; his swollen face and bloody eye answering the question. In the sixth, Julio continued to land some clean shots but since he was mostly moving backwards, those shots had less pop and little effect on Kirkland. Near the end of the round, Julio landed big shots to the body and face. Kirkland landed a big left hook to Julio’s face before the bell.

Julio’s corner decided not to come out for the seventh round. It was over. James Kirkland had won by TKO 6.

Congratulations to James Kirkland, who proved that sometimes great will, can overpower the man with the better skills. When asked who Kirkland wants to fight next, he said he’d fight whoever GBP puts in front of him. Yawn. I hope Kirkland fights Alfredo Angulo next. After all, that is the most logical match up for both guys. Let’s hope that Golden Boy Promotions is smart enough to make it happen.

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Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 08.03.2009



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