Juan Macias Montiel all-but ended the top-level career of James Kirkland with a devastating performance on Saturday night.
In the 10-round middleweight co-main event on FOX, Los Mochis, Mexico’s hard-punching Montiel (25-4-2, 22 KOs) quickly stopped knockout artist Kirkland (34-3, 30 KOs) of Austin, Texas.
He dropped him three times and finishing the fight just 1:56 into the first round.
Within the first 30 seconds, Montiel sent Kirkland down with a left hook to the temple and put him down again soon after with a follow-up series of uppercuts and left hands.
JAMES KIRKLAND DOWN
An unsteady-looking Kirkland rose for the second time, looking to continue fighting, but was sent back to the canvas for the third and final time from a strong barrage culminated by a Montiel right hand.
Referee Jerry Cantu called off the fight and awarded Montiel the upset victory.
Unbeaten rising star Jesus Ramos 14-0 (13 KOs) continued to impress with a four-round demolition of Philadelphia veteran Naim Nelson (14-5, 1 KO) in their super lightweight contest.
Ramos, a heavy-handed southpaw from Casa Grande, Arizona, took two rounds to size Nelson before moving in for the kill. The 19-year-old slugger’s bodywork investment allowed him to set up a hard overhand left that sent Nelson down late in round three.
In round four, more bodywork from Ramos, mixed with thudding shots to the head, took the rest of the fight out of Nelson as he slumped to the canvas. With little chance of turning things around, Nelson’s corner indicated to referee Ray Corona that their man was finished after the round. The official verdict was a knockout at the end of the fourth round.
In a super bantamweight showdown on the broadcast, between Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s Travon Lawson (4-0, 3 KOs) scored a surprise upset knockout over 18-year-old prospect Angel “AK-47” Barrientes (4-1, 3 KOs) in the fourth round.
Moving around the ring and firing hard punches from a distance, Barrientes, from Las Vegas via Honolulu, controlled much of the first three rounds.
But in round four, the 31-year-old Lawson came out swinging for the fences, and a surprise series of clean right hands snapped Barrientes’ head back violently and sent him to the canvas hard.
Barrientes rose to his feet and indicated he’d like to continue, but referee Eddie Hernandez Sr. waved the fight off at 55 of the fourth.