By Jeff Zimmerman at Ringside
Former bantamweight champion Paulie Ayala promoted an entertaining night of fights this past Thursday at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, which is better known for fast cars, not fast knockouts but that might change with the triumphant return of former heavyweight contender Kirk Johnson.
Johnson (37-2, 27 KO’s) fought an outclassed (and that’s putting it politely) Douglas Robertson (3-24-2) and he did what he was supposed to do, which was end the fight quickly. Johnson stopped Robertson in the first round of a scheduled four-rounder. For Johnson, who had been out of the ring for almost four years, just getting in the ring was an accomplishment.
Johnson knocked Robertson down twice in the opening stanza, with the first knockdown via a left hook that sent the clueless Robertson toppling to the canvas. Robertson got back to his feet before the count of ten but a nice combination moments later put Robertson down a second time. Referee Neal Young had seen enough so he mercifully stepped in to waive the bout over for a TKO at 1:45 of the round.
As far getting back in the ring and shaky off some rust, Johnson said to FightNews: “It felt great to be back in the ring. Yesterday I was scared to death, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to do this, but that’s nothing unusual for me. My whole career from amateur to professional, the night before a fight I always question myself but the day of the fight I know I am ready, rough and ready for the fight,so that’s nothing new.”
FightNews had noted that Johnson had looked at his corner in between the knockdowns and that his trainer, Hall of Famer Curtis Cokes advised him to slow down.
“He never says slow down, he wants me to go after a guy, but in this instance he said ‘Slow down, slow down.’ It was just a matter of being in the ring again, but we’re ok.”
“This fight gets me back in the ring and lets me realize, the ring is still the ring,” Johnson said of his return. “Being out for four years, doing all the training, it was like man how is it going to feel again. I kind of forgot the feel, but it felt exactly the same as it did before, I am still nervous before the fight. I don’t like that word; it’s an educational word for scared. I am still scared before a fight. The day before the fight I am scared to death. The day of the fight I am calmer. It felt good, there are a couple of things I know I need to do, and I’ll do them. The better the competition you fight, the better you look sometime.
Johnson gave this analogy of his performance: “When I played basketball against guys that didn’t know how to play the game I look terrible, when I played against guys that did, I looked great.”
Johnson concluded, “When you see the competition get up there, you will see the best of me!”
Johnson enjoyed fighting for Ayala on his first card at the Texas Motor Speedway and has already started discussions on coming back in June on the next “Speedway Fight Night” event.
RAMOS OUTCLASSES RODRIGUEZ
In the main event, super featherweight clash, Casey Ramos (11-0, 4 KO’s) pounded out at an eight-round unanimous decision over the game and tough Angel Rodriguez (4-4-2). All judges scored the fight 80-71. Ramos is promoted by Ayala.
Ramos wasted no time showing Rodriguez why Ayala has high hopes for him as he put Rodriguez down with over hand right in the first round. It looked like Ramos was going to get Rodriguez out of there early, but to his credit, Rodriguez hung tough.
Ramos did take some hard shots himself as shown by a swollen black and blue right eye that was starting to close as the fight wore on.
Although it seemed clear that Ramos was going for the knockout, he was satisfied going the distance.
“When I knocked the guy down, you know what, I tried to stay focused,” stated Ramos. “When I went into the fight, if I get the knockout, I get the knockout.”
Ramos added, “He had a tough chin and after that first knock down he got more loose and more of a rhythm and got stronger as the fight went on.”
Ramos did not seem too concerned over his nearly shut eye.
“It’s doing good man, I have a sensitive face. I get bruises and marks all the time, every time I fight; it goes down the next few days. I have been there before, it’s all right.”
Ramos gave his thoughts on fighting at the Texas Motor Speedway in front of a lively crowd.
“This venue is amazing. Texas Motor Speedway, Paulie Ayala, having my name tied to those names is great,” said the enthusiastic young prospect.
ROMERO GETS FIRST WIN
Lightweight southpaw Alberto Romero (1-1-1) got his first win of his pro career with an impressive unanimous decision over Fort Worth native, Jose Ortiz (0-1), who was making his pro debut.
Romero almost put Ortiz on the canvas in the second round, only to be saved by the corner post which kept Ortiz from hitting the canvas. Romero kept the pressure on Ortiz throughout the contest throwing multiple combinations to the head and body of Ortiz to keep him off balance.
The last round saw both guys going for the knockout as the battle continued well after the final bell.
All judges scored the bout 40-36 for Romero.
RUIZ KO’S MAYFIELD
Female featherweights went toe to toe, but Christina Ruiz (5-2 1 KO) outclassed Gerboria Mayfield (2-7) and knocked her out at 43 seconds of second round.
A left hook by Ruiz started the barrage followed by a left, right combo that sent Mayfield down in her own corner. At about the count of seven, she pulled out her mouthpiece and stayed down as the referee waived off the fight.
RODRIGUEZ POUNDS CURRY!
In a jr welterweight battle, it took Fernando Rodriguez (3-0) every body shot he had in his arsenal to finally slow down the headhunting Forest Curry (2-5-1) and come out with a hard earned unanimous decision. Both fighters came out throwing bombs from the opening bell and it was clear Rodriguez was the stronger fighter, but some slick upper cuts from Curry got the attention of Rodriguez.
In the first round, Rodriguez dropped his opponent with a left hook that put Curry on his back. Curry got up unscathed and landed a hard left hook of his own. Rodriguez began taunting Curry, sticking out his tongue at times and winding up with a right hand ala the “bolo punch” of Sugar Ray Leonard, which could not have pleased his stoic trainer in the corner, Hall of Famer Curtis Cokes.
But the body shots from Rodriguez were approved by Cokes as you could hear the famed trainer yell “Good shot!” after each one. All of the judges scored the bout at 39-36 twice and 38-37.