Bermane “Beware” Stiverne kept part of his promise in beating Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola in front of his hometown crowd on Saturday. Solid body work and a steady jab bloodied the Riverside fighter who was ranked number one.
“His words are what won this fight for me,” claimed Stiverne about Arreola. “He said he was going to knock me out.”
Behind crisp jabs and solid body blows Stiverne (23-2-1, 20 Kos) took the air out of Arreola (35-3, 30 Kos) before a crowd of maybe 4,000 fans at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Haiti native now becomes the contender for the WBC world title belt held by Vitali Klitschko.
“You’ve got to do it in their hometown,” said Don King, who promotes Stiverne.
That he did.
Arreola started out the aggressor behind a jab and some combination punching. Stiverne seemed content to allow the Riverside heavyweight to fire away. Neither fighter was hurt by any of the exchanges but Arreola was far busier.
Stiverne was a little busier in the second round behind the one-two combinations, but Arreola was still the busier fighter overall. Jabs and combinations rained from Arreola especially when Stiverne was on the ropes.
Suddenly, in round three, everything turned around. Despite steady work by Arreola, at the end of the round during an exchange Stiverne caught the Riverside heavyweight with a perfect counter right cross. Down went Arreola.
“I got caught,” said Arreola.
During the knockdown, one of Stiverne’s corner men threw in the stool as referee Jack Reiss began to count. The fight could have ended suddenly on the infraction which is grounds for disqualification. The referee let it go and Arreola beat the count.
“I forgot that he needed to count,” said Don House who trains Stiverne. “I made a mistake.”
From that point on Arreola seemed to have the energy sapped but he continued on despite blood streaming down his face and problems breathing.
“When he dropped me he broke my nose and I couldn’t breathe,” said Arreola, whose nose bled profusely.
Arreola opened up aggressively the next round and during the fourth round but slipped on the floor on ice left on the corner of Stiverne. The Haiti heavyweight jabbed and fired one-two combinations and kept Arreola from regaining momentum. Blood streamed down the face of the Riverside fighter because of a possible busted nose.
“I trained to keep him away with the jab,” said Stiverne, who used hard and soft jabs throughout the fight. “It was working so I kept doing it.”
Steady body work by Stiverne and some quick counters kept Arreola from mounting a rally in the fifth round. Blood continued to flow from Arreola who used some jabs and one-two combos but was not effective enough to win the round.
“I could have stood and trade punches with him, but what for?” said Stiverne.
Body shots came one after the other from Stiverne from rounds six through eight. Arreola, who is known for his body work, was the recipient for the punches instead of the giver. It was a strange sight to see a Mexican fighter not using the body punch to his own advantage.
Arreola seemed to lose use of his right hand as Stiverne kept advancing. Left jabs were the only weapons Arreola used in round eight. Stiverne continued to fire away outside and inside. The body work continued but toward the end of the round he tired a bit.
“He was supposed to use more jabs,” said House, who trains Stiverne in Las Vegas. “But he hurt his back in the fourth round.”
After losing the last half dozen round Arreola began attacking with the right and left and cornered Stiverne for a barrage of blows. Many of the punches landed for Arreola who forced Stiverne to hold on. But those body shots seemed to slow down the Mexican-American heavyweight every time.
“He fought a better plan and used a better jab,” said Arreola.
Arreola open up with a barrage of blows hoping to catch the Haitian with a solid shot, but the killing blow was not to come. Instead, Stiverne went back to the body and seemed to hurt Arreola with a left hook to the body. That was the last gasp for Arreola.
All three judges scored it for Stiverne 118-109 and 117-110 twice.
“I didn’t beat a bum,” said Stiverne. “I beat him in his own house.”
Eric Molina (20-2, 14 Kos) survived a last round knockdown from Tony Grano (20-3-1, 16 Kos) to win a unanimous decision after 12 rounds and win the NABF heavyweight title.
After a very slow start both heavyweights quickened the pace in the third round with Molina scoring a knockdown with a counter right cross at the end of round five. Grano survived the round but fell behind for the next few rounds to the taller fighter from Texas.
Molina used his height and quick right cross to control the fight, but Grano floored the stringy heavyweight with a perfect overhand right to the chin. Molina survived the next two minutes and won by unanimous decision 116-110 twice and 114-112.
Former Mexican Olympian Oscar Molina (5-0, 4 Kos) needed only 55 seconds to knock out Arizona’s Jose Martell (2-8-1) in a junior middleweight bout scheduled for four rounds. A double left hook to the body and head floored the Phoenix fighter. He was counted out by referee Pat Russell.
Paramount’s Charles Huerta (18-3, 10 Kos) knocked out veteran Jonathan Alcantara (6-10) at 1:30 of the first round. It was Huerta’s first fight on a Goossen-Tutor Promotions fight card. The featherweight is a former highly-ranked prospect looking to return to his former standards.
Tall southpaw featherweight Juan Funez (2-0) used a short right uppercut to begin the end for Christian Cartier (0-1) and ended it with a few more uppercuts that had him reeling. Referee Pat Russell stopped the fight before more damage could be done at 1:14 of round two.
Despite only one win in eight fights Juan Garcia (2-6-1, 2 Kos) came in with steam on his punches and upset Russian featherweight prospect Vladimir Gavrilov (1-1) with a right hand bomb in the first round. Gavrilov fought back hard but was dropped again in the third round. He beat the count but was met by a barrage of blows that forced referee Raul Caiz Jr. to stop the fight at 2:20 of round three.