If Victor Ortiz has proven one thing in his career, it’s that he’s going to deliver excitement.
The former 147-pound world champion returned to the ring Sunday night after 15 months off and wasted little time taking care of Saul Corral with a fourth-round TKO at the Rabobank Theater in Bakersfield, California.
Mounting an offense has never been a problem in Ortiz's game, and the 30-year-old southpaw looked sharp in his first fight since being knocked out by Andre Berto in Round 4 of their action-packed rematch in April 2016.
Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) employed a fiery attack against Corral with an onslaught of straight lefts and hooks. Corral landed his fair share of punches during their exchanges, but he lacked the sting necessary to slow Ortiz down.
Saul Corral (25-10, 16 KOs) tried his best to tie up the Ventura, California, resident, but earned a point deduction from referee Jack Reiss in Round 3 for excessive holding after multiple warnings. That forced Corral to fight even more, which played into Ortiz's hands.
Ortiz landed a crushing left hand in the fourth that put Corral down in a heap. Somehow, the 30-year-old Mexican made it to his feet, but he had nothing left. Ortiz followed up with a combination seconds later that spurred Reiss to halt the bout at 1:26 into the round.
“Corral is a great fighter who hits hard and I definitely felt it,” Ortiz said. “Top-of-the-line boxers like myself, we hang in there and we perform to the best of our abilities. It was my first time back in a while and it's just the beginning.”
Ortiz notched a much-needed victory and his highly entertaining style will surely put him in the mix for another big fight. While it remains to be seen if he can return to the top of one of boxing’s deepest divisions, he is certain to give a stiff test to anyone at 147 pounds.
“There are a lot of names out there in the welterweight division,” Ortiz said. “At this point, I'm going to let my team guide me, because I'll always be ready for anybody.”
Gallimore upsets DeLoach in fifth-round stoppage
In the co-main event, late replacement Nathaniel Gallimore (19-1-1, 16 KOs) gained a fifth-round TKO of Justin DeLoach (17-2, 9 KOs) in a 154-pound bout. Gallimore, 29, stepped in to fight DeLoach after former title challenger Fernando Guerrero had to withdraw last week due to illness.
Gallimore sent the 23-year-old Augusta, Georgia, native to the canvas in each of the first two rounds, and staggered him late in Round 5. While DeLoach made it to the bell, he nearly fell through the ropes as he made it to his stool and the fight was stopped at the advice of the ringside physician.
Balderas controlled the action, ripping right hooks to the body behind a strong jab as Fajardo attempted to return fire against the slick prospect. Balderas followed up a series of left hooks to the head with a left to the liver that put Fajardo on the canvas for good at 1:36 into Round 1.
For a complete look at Ortiz vs Corral, visit our fight page.