About the only thing Grand Prairie’s Virgil Ortiz needed to worry about Saturday was the same sunlight that failed several Dallas Cowboys receivers in a 20-19 loss to the New York Giants last week at AT&T Stadium.
But by the time the blinding sun had set on the ring, 40 seconds into the first round to be exact, Ortiz had dropped El Paso’s Ernesto Hernandez to improve to 2-0 as a professional.
The fight was on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith WBO junior middleweight world championship bout.
Both fighters seemed destined for a decent four-round fight in the super lightweight weight class, trading a couple of sharp jabs before Hernandez inexplicably dropped his defensive posture at just the wrong moment.
Ortiz delivered a jaw-chattering right hook, and with Hernandez (1-4) out cold on the ropes, the bout was immediately stopped.
“Never in my dreams did I expect to be on such a stage so early in my career,” Ortiz said. “In the ring, I knew my opponent was hungry for redemption early because he kept trying to throw some overhand punches.
“But I kept tight, and when I landed my double jab and straight right punch combination, I had a feeling that he wasn’t going to get back up. I am glad I have such a solid start to my career, and I’m looking forward to more massive fights.”
Ortiz won his pro debut in July with a knockout of Julio Rodas at the 1:30 mark of the first round.
Franco stops Bazan.
San Antonio’s Josh Franco unloaded a vicious uppercut to Brian Bazan, scoring a fourth round KO in a 6-round bantam weight fight to stay unbeaten at 7-0.
It was Franco’s fourth professional knockout.
Franco fought off an early onslaught in the first round and caught Bazan twice in the third to score knockdowns.
Just 19 seconds into the fourth, both fighters exchanged sharp blows and Bazan began to taunt Franco when the San Antonio southpaw caught him square on the chin to end the theatrics.
“This was only a taste of the things to come,” Franco said. “Roberto Diaz wanted me to get into the ring with a fighter that would give me a tough time, and I think my performance tonight showed that I can take on any opponent.
“I knew the first time he fell that it would only take a couple of shots until I could get the knock out.”
In other bouts:
▪ In the opening bout of the day, up-and-coming cruiserweight Anthony Yarde, 25, of London improved his record to 8-0 with a first-round knockout of Rayford Johnson, a 36-year-old fighter who fell to 11-22. “Obviously I’m happy to get the win, but I was trying to carry him a bit. I wanted more time in the ring … and take in more of this experience in AT&T Stadium. But overall I got the win, so I’m content with that,” Yarde said.
▪ Alexis Salazar of Tlaquepaque, Mexico improved to 8-3 on his career, easily besting Dallas’ Larry Smith (10-29-1) in a six-round super welterweight fight. “I feel it was my technique that won this fight for me,” Salazar said. “My opponent was a tricky guy to fight, and I thought it would be an easier night for me because of his loss streak. He made me work and I think it was a good experience.”
▪ Zachary Ochoa (16-0) stayed perfect in his career, collecting the unanimous decision over Daniel Montoya (11-5) in an eight-round super lightweight fight. “I knew I could stop him, but I hurt my knuckle in the second round blocking his right hand hook and counter-punching him with my left hook,” Ochoa said. “He was a tough guy, resilient, but I was in control the whole time.”
▪ San Antonio’s Hector Tanajara stayed unbeaten in a four-round lightweight fight with Alice, Texas, native Roy Garcia. While Garcia (3-20-1) danced around mostly in the first round, both fighters maintained throughout in going the distance. “It’s an amazing feeling being able to fight in my home state – I could hear my family members cheering from the stands, and it’s a blessing that they were able to come out to my first HBO performance,” Tanajara said. “I honestly thought I was going to be able to get the knock out, but my opponent wanted to brawl, and he had a resistance in the ring that I didn’t expect. In the end, I got my victory, and back to the gym we go.”