James Kirkland Destroys Joel Julio

March 8, 2009

San Jose, California -- James Kirkland stopped Joel Julio via TKO after the sixth round to put the cap on an exciting night of fights touted by Oscar De La Hoya' s Golden Boy Promotions as a showcase of rising stars. Here is a breakdown of the action as this reporter saw it:

Round 1

Kirkland established his game plan early, applying constant pressure from the opening bell. Julio coped as well as can be expected, given Kirland's superior power, but while he landed a few decent counter right hands, he did not look entirely comfortable fighting while backing up. Kirkland landed a number of good body punches and opened a cut over Julio's right eye. It was already evident that Julio could match Kirkland's hand speed, but not his power. Kirkland 10, Julio 9

Round 2

Kirkland continued his pressure and landed more body punches, but Julio then began to take advantage of Kirkland's recklessness. Julio landed a straight left early, and then several counter right hands that created a buzz in the crowd. Kirkland ate a right hook and ducked directly into a couple of right uppercuts. It appeared at this point that Kirkland was surprised by Julio's right hand. Julio 10, Kirkland 9

Round 3

The action picked up considerably in this round. Kirkland remained the aggressor, and Julio continued to catch him with counter rights. Kirkland's trainer, Ann Wolff, could be heard imploring Kirkland to move his head. About halfway through the round, the fighters exchanged power punches. Both landed big shots, and both seemed surprised at their inability to stagger the other man. Overall, Julio landed the more effective counter rights. At this point, it appeared that Julio may have found a weakness worth exploiting. Julio 10, Kirkland 9

Round 4

Kirkland came charging out of his corner to start the round, anxious to get back to work. Julio seemed less enthusiastic, and it became evident that he may have gotten the worst of the big exchanges in the previous round. Kirkland began to block Julio's counter rights, even as he applied more pressure. He continued to work the body, and snapped Julio's head back with some heavy jabs. Julio appeared to be losing steam, while Kirkland was fighting at top speed. Whenever Julio attempted to clinch, Kirkland shed him, took one step back, and launched back into his assault. Kirkland 10, Julio 9

Round 5

This round looked a lot like the one before. Kirkland appeared to have either solved Julio's right hand, or decided that it can't hurt him, since he continued to apply pressure. He started to hurt Julio with body shots and his trademark heavy jabs. Just five rounds into the fight, those jabs had more pop than any of Julio's power punches. The right hand, both lead and counter, continued to be the best punch for Julio, but even when he landed them solidly, they did not do any damage. At this point, Julio was visibly worn down. Kirkland 10, Julio 9

Round 6

Kirkland continued to land solid jabs, and mixed in some big left hooks as well. Julio landed one nice combination, but it had little effect. Julio barely made it out of the round, and the referee decided to stop the fight before the start of the seventh round. Kirkland 10, Julio 9

TheDailySportsHerald.com's boxing prophet, Kweku Turkson, precisely described each fighter's strategy in his preview (and correctly predicted a Round 6 TKO), but Julio lacked the punching power to properly execute his game plan. In the post fight press conference, Julio looked badly beaten, with his right eye closed, while Kirkland looked ready to go 6 more rounds.

Julio may have exposed a defensive weakness in Kirkland's game, however, and sooner or later, another 154-pound fighter with enough power may exploit it.


In what might have been a disappointment for Golden Boy Promotions, both of the undercard matches ended in the second round, leaving a lot of questions unanswered for three of the four fighters involved.

Robert Guerrero's matchup with Daud Yordan was shaping up to be an interesting fight, with Yordan holding his own against the crowd favorite, when an accidental head-butt opened up a severe cut over Guerrero's right eye in Round Two. The cut forced the ring-side doctor to stop the bout and declare a "no decision," after Guerrero had informed him that he could not see. Both fighters expressed their disappointment at the outcome, apologizing to the fans for the anticlimactic ending, but noting that such cuts are common when southpaws fight conventional boxers.

The Victor Ortiz-Mike Arnaoutis matchup ended just as quickly. After a cautious first round in which both fighters seemed to be looking to counterpunch, Ortiz connected with several two-punch combinations and stopped Arnaoutis with a left hook at the 1:32 mark of Round Two.

In the brief showing, Ortiz established himself as the quicker and stronger fighter, furthering his glowing reputation as a top prospect at 140 pounds. When asked if the quick stoppage disappointed him and whether he would have preferred a chance for more ring experience, Ortiz answered that he could see that Arnaoutis was hurt, and that he really had no desire to hurt him worse.

We look forward to seeing more future fights with these talented prospects.

By David Granger
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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