Donovan George Eyes A New Division

(Mar 17, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Donovan George before his fight against Edwin Rodriguez at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Donovan George turned off the lights this weekend.

His victim wasn’t the record-setting audience of Sunday’s Super Bowl, though. George decimated James Cook in 1:15 of the opening round on Friday. The Chicagoan pleased his hometown fans with a hard jab followed by a quick right hand to his opponent’s ribs that dropped Cook, who took the 10 count.

“My father/trainer (Peter) likes to call it the ‘Tony Zale shot,’” George told TQBR on Monday. “I knew when I landed the shot it was over.”

It was a bounce-back win for George (24-3-1, 21 KOs), who was stopped in the 12th round by fellow super middleweight Adonis Stevenson in an IBF title eliminator on Oct. 12. The loss disappointed George to such an extent that he made a concerted effort to make a change.

For his bout against Cook (11-4-1, 8 KOs), George stepped on the scale at 164½, his lightest since December of 2006. George doesn’t intend to stop there, either. This is his initial step toward campaigning at middleweight, a goal he admits has been worth the difficulty. He cited the aid of on a 12-week diet plan.

In addition to transforming into a leaner and meaner version of “Da Bomb,” George has also been fairly busy in the squared circle. His knockout of Cook was his fourth fight since last March. Though he’s 2-2 in the span — with a 6th round victory over Dionisio Miranda and a unanimous defeat at the fists of Edwin Rodriguez — George chalks up the even record as learning experience.

“I love (the increased activity),” he said. “I’m the kind of fighter who needs to always be in training. If it was up to me, I’d fight every six weeks.”

According to George, he and Warriors Boxing intend to slate his next bout for late March.

Between the gym and the diet is room for a bit of leisure, and George enjoyed the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers.

“The Super Bowl was fun,” he said. “I thought the better team won, and it was nice to see Ray Lewis go out a champion. He was all heart and passion.”

George hopes to follow a similar path with the same qualities.

“It feels great to be back on the winning side,” he said. “Winning is everything to me. I want to be a winner in and out of the ring.”