Monday, March 9, 2009

Just OK in San Jose

Perhaps it was in comparison to last week's incredible fight between Marquez and Diaz, but this week's fights certainly fell short of expectations.

The fight card listed three of Boxing's most promising athletes fighting game opponents - a rarity nowadays - and it's hard to believe just how mediocre the night really was.

Robert Guerrero (23-1-1) seemingly had the night's easiest fight in Daud Yordan from Indonesia.  Yordan (23-0-0) is a relatively unknown Boxer with a spotless, but arguably 'built' record.  Guerrero was in front of his home town crowd and was expected to dominate Yordan.  Though Guerrero seemed effective in attacking Yordan's body in the first round, it became very apparent early on that Yordan came to fight.  Speed was on the side of the young Indonesian, who found his target often, although his clinching defense left much to be desired for any fight fan.  Guerrero seemed to get frustrated through round one, with his punches becoming wider and sloppier missing a lot of punches, though landing a number of ineffective punches.  His game plan all but disappeared when Yordan landed a brutal right-left combo, ending the first round.  Though the fight was ruled a no-contest in the second round due to an accidental head-butt that resulted in a cut above Guerrero's eye which he claimed was impairing his vision, I would be curious to see the judges' scorecards after round one.  Some fans booed, no doubt thinking Guerrero had lost the fight, but some fans were probably booing because of a disappointing end to a disappointing fight from their hometown hopeful.

Victor Ortiz (24-1-1) fought a good, but short fight against Mike Arnaoutis (21-3-2), a Greek-born southpaw fighting out of New Jersey.  Arnaoutis was considered by many to be a game opponent for Ortiz, who has been carving his way through the light welterweight division with a string of early KOs.  Arnaoutis, whose most notable opponents include Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres, was on the defense most of the time, shielding himself from a storm of punches and landing very few.  Ortiz caught him with a stiff left hook and then landed a brutal right uppercut after trapping Arnaoutis in the corner.  It seemed like an early stoppage at first, but after watching the replay and seeing how flush that right uppercut landed, it certainly ended up being the correct call by referee Ray Balewicz.

The main event was brawl between James Kirkland (25-0-0) and Joel Julio (34-3-0).  Kirkland came out punching and had Julio backing up the entire fight.  Kirkland landed a barrage of crisp, clean punches early on and kept up a decent defense at first, though as the fight went on, Kirkland's defense waned and he was caught with some nice shots from the Colombian-born, Julio.  Though the hits Julio landed looked like they would have hurt, Kirkland didn't seem fazed and continued his assault on Julio with great combos to the body and head.  The ref called off the fight immediately after the 6th round.  The low point in this fight was when Kirkland seemingly sucker-punched Julio after the ref had asked the fighters to touch 'em up and go.  Although it wasn't technically a sucker-punch, it was certainly not sportsmanlike nor charming.  Another good win for Kirkland though.

Raised Eyebrow Moment:  
Did anyone else find watching the footage of Ann Wolfe catching mitts with Kirkland to be a little awkward?  They didn't seem to have any rhythm or familiarity whatsoever.  They are portrayed as being in a very close professional relationship, but it didn't look that way to me, watching them hit mitts.

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