In the opening event, Kelly Pavlik, the sharp, undefeated middleweight from Youngstown, OH, received one of his first tests on his road to challenging the middleweight title. Brawler Jose Luis Zertuche, while unable to secure any real momentum throughout the fight mostly due to his inability to match up with Pavlik's boxing skills, took Pavlik to the line, at times almost overwhelming him. However, after shaking off some initial stress from the Mexican fighter's aggressive strategy, Pavlik clearly dominated the fight, ending it in the eighth round with an impressive knockout, stunning Zertuche with a left-right combo, knocked the fighter out on his feet causing a quick stoppage.
While Jorge Arce also had thoughts of stoppages prior to his fight tonight with Julio Ler, against whom he predicted an eighth round KO, Ler proved to be a frustrating lesson for the Mexican cowboy. Despite being a relatively uneventful fight, with Arce winning a clear unanimous victory over a reluctant but spunky Ler, Arce ensured that every minute of his 12 rounds were packed with the kind of bravado, pomp and showboating that is sure to win fans and pack seats for fights to come. The two fighters danced around each other, pounding chest and tapping chins for the better part of the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
Arce, a crowd favorite, entered the ring on a dancing horse, and proceeded to dance around Julio Ler for 12 rounds. At times it seemed that Arce had Ler in a KO position, but Ler managed to stay covered up for the majority of the fight, exhibiting nothing if not a penchant for the rope-a-dope. Ultimately it did Ler little good... Arce's superior conditioning and determination led him to a decisive victory.