Brian Vera scores knockout in Frisco
FRISCO, Texas -- Brian Vera ushered in professional boxing at Double-A Frisco's Dr Pepper Ballpark with a display of his considerable boxing skills.
But it took two to make a good fight, and that's what Vera got from Eloy Suarez in front of an enthusiastic crowd Friday night.
Vera, a Fort Worth native, settled the middleweight main event with a left hook to the body that sent San Antonio's Suarez reeling and finally falling to the canvas. He wasn't able to gather himself before the 10-count.
The knockout came 30 seconds into the eighth and final round.
"My plan was to box and show my skills," said Vera, now 19-5 with 12 wins by knockout. "He never hurt me, but he surprised me that he was able to keep standing after taking a couple of punches."
Suarez (11-12-1) suffered a cut below the left eye in the sixth round, but it didn't stop him from attacking.
Afterward, the two boxers stood together and Suarez raised Vera's arm.
• It seemed like old times for James Kirkland.
The 27-year-old from Austin, reunited with trainer Ann Wolfe, bounced back from his first professional defeat with a first-round knockout of New Jersey's Dennis Sharpe.
Kirkland improved his record to 28-1 (25 by knockout), the majority with Wolfe in his corner.
Body punches by the 27-year-old Kirkland paid off in a quick knockout 2:18 into the first round of the middleweight bout scheduled for eight rounds.
Moments before the knockout blow, Sharpe (17-8-3) dropped to one knee after taking a solid Kirkland punch just above the belt.
"It's a blessing to be back with her," Kirkland said. "Sometimes things happen for certain reasons. Tonight, I feel like I got back on track."
Kirkland said the attack to the body is not unusual for him.
"I keep trying to do different things to make it easier on me," he said.
Said Wolfe, a great boxer in her own right: "He's not 100 percent yet; I just got him back. But going to the body is something we always do. The head moves; the body doesn't."
• Dallas' Maurice Hooker, 21, put Wilbert Mitchell down twice in the first round, and the second trip to the canvas ended the opening bout of the evening in 1 minute, 43 seconds.
The junior welterweight bout was scheduled for four rounds.
"Straight right," Hooker (1-0-1) said of the punches that put Mitchell down. "He had a hard head because it hurt my hand."
While the medical staff was attending to Mitchell, Hooker asked for a hairbrush from a friend.
"Got to stay pretty," he said.
• In a matchup of two junior lightweights making their professional debuts, Jose Rodriguez, 18, of Dallas knocked out Martin Camarillo of Euless at the 1:40 mark of the first round.
Camarillo tried to regain his feet after absorbing a left hook but went back down to one knee.
• James Freeman of Vernon withstood a fourth-round knockdown to decision Joshua Burns of Garland in a six-round middleweight bout.
Freeman (8-4) won for only the second time without knocking out his opponent.
Burns dropped to 3-11-5.
• Manuel Rojas (2-0) of Dallas scored a knockdown and went on to win by unanimous decision over Alex Lopez of Fort Worth in a matchup of junior lightweights.
Randy Jennings is a reporter for ESPNDallas.com.