LOS ANGELES-America’s hope got dashed by the long reach of WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko who refused to engage in toe-to-toe warfare, but won easily over Chris Arreola by technical knockout.
Once again, a Klitschko remains champion and once again his reign falls short for fight fans. But he’s still champ as Goliath beat David in this fight.
Fans numbering 14,556 cheered wildly for Southern California’s Arreola and booed lustily at Klitschko, but the fans can’t fight the fight and once again the tall Ukrainian plied his heavyweight knowledge to near perfection.
Like a Ukrainian version of Larry Holmes it was Klitschko’s stick and move tactics that beat Arreola’s brawling style though he never came close to dropping the Mexican-American slugger.
“Vitali is a tall (fighter),” said a teary-eyed Arreola (27-1, 24 KOs). “He counter-acted everything I did.”
Arreola’s corner stopped the fight at the end of the 10th round though the Riverside prizefighter protested. Once again Klitschko was the victor, but not to the fans in the arena who wanted to see a real knockout ending.
“I was very surprised he did not come out,” said Klitschko (38-2, 37 KOs), who defended his title for the third time. “I know I was hurting him a lot but he has a great, great chin.”
From the beginning Klitschko never stood his ground while moving laterally and occasionally firing punches at the oncoming Arreola. It was a tactic he worked for most of the 10 rounds. Arreola could never land the combinations he’s known for.
In the first round Klitschko’s long torso and reach kept Arreola at arms length but Arreola was able to land a few hard blows to the exposed body. In the first two rounds the Ukrainian fighter boxed and moved while firing pot shot right hands with great effect as Arreola flailed back at air.
After failing miserably to land more than a handful of blows, Arreola resorted to jabs to the body in the third round. Suddenly you could see more energy from the Riverside heavyweight as he applied more pressure.
“I started jabbing and told myself, hey, I can land the jab,” said Arreola.
In the fourth round Arreola was able to finally land more than a jab and found a home for his vaunted left hook. Immediately Klitschko moved even quicker to evade the hard- charging Mexican-American heavyweight. Although it was Arreola’s best round, none of the three judges scored it for him.
After two rounds of pounding the body, Arreola let off on the pedal and allowed Klitschko to regain the momentum with some combinations in the fifth. He kept that momentum for the next three rounds with great success.
“I knew I was hurting him,” said Klitschko, 38, who tired briefly late in the fight.
A return to the jab for Arreola suddenly found Klitschko tiring with his mouth open wide in the eighth round. The Ukrainian attempted to set traps for the Californian but was unable to find success. Two judges scored the round for Arreola.
“Whatever I did he would adapt to it,” Arreola said. “He used his experience to beat me up.”
The ninth round was big for Klitschko as blood poured down Arreola’s face from the big punches landing flush. Klitschko landed combinations frequently including a big right uppercut that snapped Arreola’s head back.
In Arreola’s corner it was evident there was concern for their fighter who wiped at the blood.
“He was taking too much punishment,” said Henry Ramirez, who served as Arreola’s chief second. “He wasn’t able to mount any kind of attack.”
The 10th round saw Klitschko use the stick and move style with great success as the blood continued to pour down Arreola’s face. Fans booed as the tall Ukrainian fighter refused to stand his ground and was content to keep the fight at a distance. It was the perfect crime.
At the end of the 10th round Arreola’s trainer Ramirez informed referee Jon Schorle to halt the fight and stop the battering. Arreola shook his head in protest but to no avail. Klitschko had won by technical knockout.
“It’s never easy,” said Klitschko after the fight was stopped. “I know I was hurting him a lot.”
Arreola, who was never knocked down, choked up in tears at being unable to capture the world title.
“I worked my (butt) off,” said Arreola, 28. “I wanted to go the full 12 rounds…I wanted to be champion.”
Klitschko waved to the booing fans who wanted none of his stick and move tactics. They wanted a warrior ending and got boxing instead.
In this fight Goliath used the slingshot to beat David.
Former cruiserweight contender Johnathan Banks (22-1, 15 KOs) moved up to heavyweight and found the going a little tougher as Mexican-American heavyweight Javier Mora (22-5-1, 18 KOs) withstood his best blows but couldn’t match the speed.
Mora had his moments in the middle rounds when Banks simply moved around the ring and fired an occasional blow. But in the fifth round a barrage of heavy blows turned the tide back in his favor.
In the last two rounds Banks kept Mora from attacking his body and was able to fight his style of hit and move. Judge James Jen Kin scored it 79-73, judge Raul Caiz 78-74 for Banks and judge Marty Denkin had it a draw at 76-76. Banks won by majority decision.
Covina’s John Molina (18-0, 14 KOs) didn’t waste time against veteran fighter Efren Hinojosa (30-7-1, 17 KOs). A right to the body followed by a follow up right cross and left hand dropped the former contender to his knees. Referee Tony Crebs counted out the fallen fighter at 34 seconds of the first round.
It looked like a ghost walking into the ring when Salvador Sanchez (14-3-2, 8 KOs), the nephew of the late great Mexican fighter stepped between the ropes with that familiar Afro hairdo. After three rounds of body shots Trinidad Mendoza (28-25-2) was floored twice, the last coming at 1:23 of the third round of a featherweight contest.
Hot prospect Rico Ramos (13-0, 8 KOs) beat up former world champion Kermin Guardia (37-10, 20 KOs), a slick southpaw from Colombia who fought at strawweight. Using superior speed and power Ramos won by unanimous decision 60-54 twice and 59-55. The former amateur star looked impressive.
Cedric Boswell (31-1, 24 KOs) won a dull eight round heavyweight contest over Cisse Salif (23-16, 21 KOs) who was a late addition to the fight card due to a cancellation of a Russian fighter. All three judges scored it 60-52.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV