Wednesday, December 07, 2022  |


Ortiz stops Alatorre on Fight Night Club card


LOS ANGELES — Now it's on to serious business.

Victor Ortiz did what he was supposed to do in the main event of the Fight Night Club card Thursday at Club Nokia — dominate a journeyman, get in a few rounds of work and give the local fans packed into the nightclub a chance to see a world-class fighter.

And Ortiz, from nearby Oxnard, even provided a bonus: He became the first to knock out clever veteran Hector Alatorre, stopping him 51 seconds into the 10th and final round of a junior welterweight fight.

The victory sets up an all-but-finalized showdown with Nate Campbell on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Paulie Malignaggi title fight on May 15 in New York City.

If Khan and Ortiz win, the plan would be for the two young stars to fight for Khan's 140-pound belt at some point.

“I’m satisfied,” Ortiz said. “I know I still have a lot of work to do, though. My manager, Shelly Finkel, said, ‘Why are you never happy?’ I know I have work to do. This isn’t my 100-percent best. I know I could’ve done a little better in every way possible.

“It’s OK, though. It’s a learning experience, something to take back to the gym.”

Ortiz (26-2-1, 21 knockouts) dominated Alatorre, although it was difficult for him to look good because the loser was more interested in surviving than fighting. And Alatorre (16-9, 5 KOs) was very good at surviving, covering up and holding as much as throwing punches.

In fact, the Tulare, Calif., fighter's most dangerous weapon probably was his head, which he thrust into Ortiz's face many times during the fight. Luckily for Ortiz, he wasn't cut.

When the bell rang to open the 10th round, though, Ortiz had had enough. He jumped on Alatorre in an obvious attempt to finish the job and succeeded in dramatic fashion.

The quick, powerful southpaw landed a left and then a perfect right uppercut that put Alatorre on his pants and hurt him badly. He got to his feet but couldn't go on, prompting referee David Mendoza to stop it.

“Coach Danny (Garcia) said to me in the corner (before the 10th), ‘Do you want to knock him out?’ “Ortiz said. “I said, ‘The guy can take a punch.’ He said, ‘Do you want to knock him out?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Go do it. Just be intelligent.’ That’s what I did.”

Ortiz has now won two consecutive fights since he was stopped by Marcos Maidana last June at Staples Center, stopping veteran Antonio Diaz and now Alatorre.

Of course, Campbell, a 37-year-old former three-time titleholder from Jacksonville, Fla., will present a much more significant challenge. Campbell is nearing the end of his fine career but remains a very good, very smart fighter.

Ortiz doesn’t seem to be fazed by the prospect of fighting him.

“I’m ready,” he said. “I’m young and hungry. I’ve always taken my time with everything, not one who rushes things. I’m ready, though. If I was told to go back to camp tomorrow, I’d say, ‘Give me a few days. My hand hurts. Then let’s do it.'”

In other fights, featherweight Charles Huerta outpointed Guadalupe De Leon in a six-round featherweight bout.

Huerta (13-1, 6 KOs) had to work hard to earn the majority decision as De Leon, a tough journeyman from Mission, Texas, matched him punch for punch for much of the six rounds.

Huerta won on the scorecards 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57 but the fight, waged inside most of the way, was very close.

“It was a tough fight,” said Huerta, from Paramount, Calif. “That's the kind of fight I wanted. I didn't expect an easy fight from him. I wanted to box a little more but I ended up fighting more than boxing.”

De Leon (8-10, 4 KOs) pulled off a big upset in his last fight, outpointing then-unbeaten prospect Derrick Wilson. Wilson was the fighter who handed Huerta his only loss, stopping him in one round in July at Club Nokia.

Lightweight prospect Luis Ramos (14-0, 7 KOs) of Santa Ana, Calif., defeated Colombian veteran Walter Estrada (35-12, 24 KOs) by a unanimous decision in a four-round fight.

The judges gave Ramos a shut out — he won every round on all three cards — but his tough, experienced opponent put up a spirited fight.

Neither fighter was seriously hurt.

Lightweight prospect Karl Dargan stopped Jose Alfredo Lugo after the fourth round of a scheduled six-round lightweight bout.

Dargan, a former amateur standout from Philadelphia, was far too quick and skillful for his sturdy but limited opponent from Los Mochis, Mexico. Dargan(7-0, 3 KOs) never seriously hurt Lugo (10-13-1, 6 KOs) but wore him down with a steady diet of hard, accurate punches. Lugo landed few punches himself because of Dargan's defensive skills.

Lugo's corner stopped the bout to save him from further punishment.

Jesse Vargas (9-0, 4 KOs) of Las Vegas put Robert Luna (5-1, 3 KOs) of San Antonio down three times, the final time for good only 1:56 into the first round of a scheduled six-round welterweight fight.

Carlos Molina (11-0, 6 KOs) of Norwalk, Calif., defeated Hensley Strachan (5-6-1, 1 KO) of the Bahamas by a unanimous decision in a four-round junior welterweight fight in which Strachan was put down once.

And FNC regular Ricky Lopez (7-0, 2 KOs) of Oxnard, Calif., defeated Hugo Ramos (2-5-2, 1 KO) of Palm Springs, Calif. in a four-round junior featherweight bout.

Lopez won a unanimous decision — 39-37 on all three cards — but the competitive brawl could've gone the other way.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]