A force to be reckoned with

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 8, 2009

NEW YORK — Quintin “Rampage” Jackson is one of the most popular fighters in MMA/Combat Sports. Jackson has been featured in numerous publications throughout the world including Rolling Stone, Double XXL, and Grapping Magazine.

Jackson became the face of the UFC after he knocked out Chuck Liddell in a rematch to win the world light-heavyweight championship two years ago. Known for his signature howling sounds and sense of humor, Jackson believes that boxing and MMA are both very different worlds.

“A fighter’s goal is to be unbeaten for a long time,” Jackson told BASN during an exclusive interview. “MMA is very hard if you lose two in a row. However, in MMA, you can be an underdog and still knock someone out.”

Jackson understands the role of the underdog from both a winning and losing standpoint. Jackson was a big underdog when he challenged Liddell for the UFC 205-pound title despite the fact Jackson defeated Liddell by KO once already in November 2003.

The date was May 26, 2007. Liddell’s unbeaten streak of seven consecutive victories by knockout was snapped when Jackson KO’d him in the first round. Following the win over Liddell, Jackson was heavily favored to retain his championship against Forrest Griffin in July 2008.

Griffin battled Jackson to the end of five rounds of a very close battle that had Jackson on the short-end of a unanimous decision. The loss to Griffin didn’t spell doom or the end of the world for Jackson.

Fighters are likely to lose more frequently in MMA, as Jackson has accumulated seven losses. In MMA, there are so many different ways to win and so many different ways to lose using submission maneuvers like the ground and pound, arm bar, rear-naked choke, head kicks, knee lifts, and ankle lock for example.

Therefore, it’s nearly impossible for an MMA fighter to build a 30-0 record. Professional boxing is different primarily because, you have managers and promoters that do their best to ‘protect” their “investments” by padding their fighter’s record by matching them against stiff opposition.

“I’m not in that world,” Jackson said. “In MMA you don’t have someone that I know of that’s 30-0.

Make no mistake; Jackson appreciates boxing as he views Roy Jones, Jr. amongst one of his favorite fighters. Jackson has also incorporated aspects of boxing training into his MMA training sessions.

But boxing is only a small part of Jackson’s rigorous training regimen that includes multiple MMA disciplines. “I just think I’m a different type of athlete from a boxer,” Jackson explained. “MMA are better fighters than boxers. Boxers are better boxers from MMA fighters.”

Since the title loss to Griffin, Jackson has won his last two fights including a three-round decision against Keith Jardine at UFC 96 on Saturday. Jackson was ahead (29-28 (twice) and 30-27 on the official judges’ scorecards. The win positions Jackson as the No. 1 contender for the UFC light-heavyweight title held by unbeaten Rashad Evans on May 23.

The stars come out ‘After Dark’ on HBO

Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions made perfect use of his HBO date by showcasing James Kirkland, Victor Ortiz, and Roberto Guerrero in three separate bouts that made up a rare nationally-televised HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader from The Tank in San Jose, CA.

Undefeated junior middleweight contender James Kirkland (Left) lands a left hand against highly ranked junior middleweight contender Joel Julio (Right) en route to a seventh round technical knockout victory. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Undefeated junior middleweight contender James Kirkland (Left) lands a left hand against highly ranked junior middleweight contender Joel Julio (Right) en route to a seventh round technical knockout victory. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Kirkland ousts Julio

If there was one unbeaten prospect to watch at junior middleweight it would be Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs). Trained by former women’s champion An Wolfe, Kirkland is on an upward climb toward the top of the 154-pound class.

Kirkland proved that he can not only dominate another young and aggressive fighter, but Kirkland showed he can take a punch. His southpaw style proved overwhelming for Joel Julio (34-3, 31 KOs). The former world title challenger was forced to quit on is stool after the sixth round following an eye injury.

Julio’s right eye was swollen shut after Kirkland chased and attacked him with solid shots. Kirkland literally ran toward Julio and pummeled him with right jabs and hard left hands. After the first round, Kirkland’s punches left a cut above Julio’s right eye.

Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar de la Hoya (Left), undefeated junior middleweight contender James Kirkland (Center) and Kirkland's trainer Anne Wolfe (Right) pose following Kirkland’s seventh round technical knockout victory over highly ranked junior middleweight contender Joel Julio. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar de la Hoya (Left), undefeated junior middleweight contender James Kirkland (Center) and Kirkland's trainer Anne Wolfe (Right) pose following Kirkland’s seventh round technical knockout victory over highly ranked junior middleweight contender Joel Julio. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Julio tried to keep Kirkland off-balanced using left jabs, but Kirkland didn’t give Julio any opportunities to set it up correctly. Kirkland appeared comfortable moving forward, forcing Julio to run, and unload with power punches.

It wasn’t until the third round when Julio finally stopped running and exchanged punches with Kirkland.

Ortiz abuses Arnaoutis

Ortiz, arguably the 2008 prospect of the year, proved that he is a fast-rising prospect on the rise. Ortiz (24-1-1, 19 KOs) made the best of his HBO showcase by knocking out Mike Arnaoutis (21-3-2, 10 KOs) inside two rounds.

Victor Ortiz (Left) walks to a neutral corner after his second round knockout victory over former USBA Junior Welterweight Champion Mike Arnaoutis. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan -Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Victor Ortiz (Left) walks to a neutral corner after his second round knockout victory over former USBA Junior Welterweight Champion Mike Arnaoutis. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan -Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

What made Ortiz’ win against Arnaoutis so impressive is the fact that the 29 year-old had never been stopped in his career. Arnaoutis has gone the distance with current WBO jr. welterweight champion Kendall Holt two years ago.

Ortiz proved to be too illusive and too explosive for his opponent. Ortiz set up his southpaw punches using a lot of upper body feints and footwork. In round two, Ortiz cut off the ring, trapped Arnaoutis in a corner and unloaded with a sharp left hand. A stunned Arnaoutis covered up and allowed Ortiz to pummel him relentlessly.

The bout was waved at the 1:27 second mark.

Ortiz shares the same weight division with Holt, who will defend his WBO title against WBC champion Timothy Bradley in a 140-pound unification bout on April 4, at the Bell Center in Montreal.

Ortiz will also be joined by former WBC/WBO and IBF 135-pound kingpin Nate Campbell, as he moves up to 140 soon. Former welterweight champion Zab Judah will be returning to 140. Also, rising prospects Lamont Peterson and Devin Alexander are live contenders at 140, as well.

Guerrero-Yordan no contest

Robert Guerrero suffers a deep cut over his right eye as a result of an accidental head butt, causing his bout with undefeated contender Daud Yordan of Indonesia to be stopped and declared a no contest. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Robert Guerrero suffers a deep cut over his right eye as a result of an accidental head butt, causing his bout with undefeated contender Daud Yordan of Indonesia to be stopped and declared a no contest. Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Guerrero’s clash with Daud Yordan (23-0, 17 KOs) ended in the second round after an accidental clash of heads left a cut on the right eye brow of Guerrero (23-1-1, 16 KOs). There was a lot of holding and hitting between both fighters during the fight.

Suddenly, Yordan’s head rammed straight into Guerrero’s face which led to the blood trickling in to his eye. According to California State Commission, if a fight ends on an accidental head butt before the end of the fourth round, the fight is ruled a no-contest. If it occurred after the end of the fourth round, the scorecards will be rendered.

Guerrero, a former two-time IBF featherweight champion, moved up from 126 to the 130 pound division underneath the Golden Boy Empire.

Lucian Bute returns on ShoBox

The last time IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute fought on ShoBox at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada in October many believe he was awarded an extended count and should have been stopped in final round by Librado Andrede.

Bute (23-0, 18 KOs) isn’t fighting Andrede again, but the champion will be returning to the Bell Centre for the third defense of his 168-pound crown against Fulgencio Zuniga (22-3-1, 19 KOs).

The bout will be the featured main event attraction on ShoBox: The New Generation series on Friday, March 13, and will be broadcast live on Showtime (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).

Bute will be fighting his eleventh consecutive fight at the Bell Centre, fifteenth overall. Bute will need every ounce of momentum he can attain because, Zuniga isn’t just an opponent. He is a worthy world title contender. Zuniga has a lot of experience, as has defeated former world title challengers Antwun Echols and Jose Luis Zertuche.

Perhaps Zuniga’s biggest victory occurred on ShoBox in September 2007. Zuniga challenged Victor Oganov, winner of all 26 professional bouts by knockout. Oganov had never fought past the seventh round of his career and when he realized Zuniga wasn’t going anywhere, Oganov collapsed mentally and was stopped in the ninth round.

Zuniga challenged Denis Inkin for the WBO super middleweight title in September 2008, but dropped a 12-round unanimous decision. Zuniga has been stopped only once and that was by current WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik more than three years ago.