Kirkland KOs Berrio


Four months after being released from prison, super middleweight improves to 27-0 after victory Friday.

March 18, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
(Scott Smeltzer…)

COSTA MESA — Outside of the ring, one undefeated boxer stood in the background. Another fought to stay perfect inside of it.

How James Kirkland and Luis Ramos returned for their next respective fights is far different. The two highlighted a special edition of Fight Club OC, which teamed up with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions for a seven-bout card at OC Fair & Event Center on Friday. The event was before a sold-out crowd of 1,524.

Kirkland and Ramos belong to Golden Boy's camp. The two have not seen much action in the last six months.

Ramos was out during the stretch because of a thumb injury.

Four months ago, Kirkland was locked up.

Fighting for the second time since his release after serving two years for a gun violation of his parole for armed robbery, Kirkland said he had to come out swinging. Most fans understood why Kirkland applied the pressure from the start.


"It's really like a third chance," Kirkland said of his new opportunity.

Kirkland kept winning and so did Ramos. They prevailed in different styles.

Kirkland improved to 27-0 after knocking out Jhon Berrio in the second round of an eight-round super middleweight contest. The knockout was Kirkland's 24th of his career.

Ramos, who is from Santa Ana, is now 18-0. He went the distance with Jose Hernandez in an eight-round junior welterweight match and scored a majority decision.

Kirkland watched Ramos win from afar before he addressed reporters. In many ways, Kirkland believes he is also fighting those who doubt whether he can stay out of trouble.

"I'm a better person as far as a family man," said Kirkland, who has three children and lives in Las Vegas.

"I dealt with a lot of hurt. I dealt with a lot of pain. But it only made me better."

While Kirkland feels better about himself, he said he is fighting at 40%.

It will take time for Kirkland to return to the relentless form that thrilled boxing fans three years ago. He showed signs of his quick hands and power against Berrio.

It was tough at times for Kirkland, who was fighting a boxer as awkward as his first name. Berrio head-butted Kirkland, slapped rather than punched, but Kirkland eventually caught him with a body shot in the second round.

Seconds later, Berrio's knees buckled at the 1:05 mark. He tried to get up, only to fall to his knees again. Before that, Berrio looked over to his corner, where someone rubbed his midsection, possibly signaling for Berrio to stay down.

Kirkland said Berrio did not want anymore.

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