Despite HBO's best intentions, there's no getting around the fact that tonight's Boxing After Dark broadcast was a pretty big letdown.
Still, the good: Victor Ortiz looked outstanding in his two round win over Mike Arnaoutis, and James Kirkland's chin held up beautifully as he pounded out a destructive win over Joel Julio in a good action main event that turned decidedly one-sided in the fourth round.
Kirkland (25-0, 22 KO) forced Julio (34-3, 31 KO) to quit after six rounds, with Julio saying he could not breathe. The last three rounds of the fight were total domination by Kirkland over an exhausted Julio, who threw his best bombs at Kirkland early on and was hanging in there with the Austin native, only to fail to hurt him and absorb a ton of hard body shots along the way.
Kirkland's flaws were still evident, but bigger than Kirkland still having some weaknesses are the good things he did. He relentlessly pressured Julio and broke him down without much trouble, and he ate Julio's best shots without taking a step back. He did look hurt momentarily in the third, but then just started firing back.
For Julio, this is the end of the "future star" road if losses to Carlos Quintana and Sergiy Dzinziruk weren't. He may turn it around, sure, but right now he's looking like a hard-hitting B-side fighter for good rising fighters. He'll always be dangerous because he can punch, but he shouldn't be favored to beat anyone good.
Ortiz (24-1-1, 19 KO) stopped Arnaoutis (21-3-2, 12 KO) in the second after stunning him with a massive left hook, then unloading in the corner. After Arnaoutis' body went a standing limp after an uppercut, the referee jumped in to stop it.
The night's opening fight ended on a no-contest in the second round when Robert Guerrero and Daud Yordan collided head-first. The butt opened a bad cut that dripped directly into Guerrero's eye, and he immediately said he couldn't see. He seemed a bit lackadaisacal about it, and he's going to take some shots in the media and from fans. I think it's just something that happens, but it's natural. Fight fans love guts, and Guerrero quit immediately.
The card was quite good on paper and wound up disappointing without any argument. It happens, and it's worth saying that at least the intent of a good card was there. Kirkland overwhelming Julio is as much to blame as anything, and that's just the product of one guy doing great.
(Photo by Will Hart / HBO)