Ontario, CALIF.—It was a homecoming for two Riverside fighters but only one emerged with a victory on Friday.
Andre Berto (30-3, 23 Kos) spoiled Josesito Lopez’s (33-7, 19 Kos) party with a single punch knockout to remain a viable welterweight contender. But Chris Arreola had better luck in winning a rough one against Curtis Harper at the Citizens Business Bank Arena before more than 5,700 fans.
Lopez opened up with a body attack in the first round as Berto seemed content with defense. Lopez’s long arms could be a factor but he attacked the body early on.
Berto opened up with jabs and one-twos in the second. Lopez countered with a few uppercuts and more body shots in a close second round.
In a round that saw little action Berto connected with a solid right hand and Lopez ended the round with a right-left-right combination in round three.
The fourth round saw Berto opting to hold and wrestle. But Lopez is strong despite his thin frame and was able to land blows while Berto held on. Berto connected with a pretty right uppercut that caused Lopez to invite Berto in for more.
A three punch combination by Berto in the opening seconds of round six hurt Lopez whose hands went down as he kept upright. Another right connected solidly and down went Lopez hard. He got up and was hit with a right to the jaw and down he went. Referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped the fight without a count at 1:03 of the round.
“It was a flash knockdown,” said Lopez. “I wasn’t buzzed. I wasn’t hurt.”
It was a good win for Berto who was behind on two score cards but rallied and caught Lopez with a good shot.
“I just stayed calm,” said Berto. “He’s the kind of guy who’s always coming at you.”
Hometown heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola returned in a fight against Curtis Harper that did not look competitive on paper when it was announced. But after an early knockdown of Harper, things got tough.
Arreola floored Harper early with a right and left hook in the first round. It didn’t look good for Florida’s Harper who held on desperately trying not to go down. A few times in the first round the referee could have ruled a knockdown when the ropes were the only thing holding him up. But he survived.
Harper showed resiliency and was able to exchange some serious blows with Arreola, who seemed to have problems with his right hand from the second round on. The Riverside heavyweight kept shaking his arm and did not use it much in the third and fourth rounds.
Finally, after Harper had some good connections especially in the third and fourth rounds, Arreola stormed back with right leads that seemed to catch the Florida heavyweight by surprise. Arreola used a barrage of punches at the end of the sixth round to turn things around for good.
Arreola hurt Harper with a left hook but the heavyweight hung on in the seventh round. The Riverside heavyweight could not land that finishing blow and Harper survived until the eighth and final round.
All three judges scored it for Arreola 76-75, 78-73, 77-74.
“I wasn’t throwing enough punches,” said Arreola. “I caught him with a lot of good shots.”
Harper said he waited too long to kick into gear.
“I came in sluggish. I got to get better from the start,” said Harper. “He’s a good strong kid.”
Former welterweight champion Shawn Porter (25-1-1, 16 Kos) had no idea what to expect against last-minute replacement Erick Bone (16-2, 8 Kos) of Ecuador. But as soon as the initial bell rang it was bombs away for both fighters. Neither was looking to out-box the other, it was knockout or nothing. Bone had the earlier connections but Porter caught the Ecuadorian with a left hook to the body to send him to the floor on both knees. Bone tried to keep Porter off him but was caught with a one-two combination and down he went for good.
Heavyweight prospect Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (16-0, 11 Kos) scored two knockdowns against veteran Jason Gavern in a boring eight round bout. Washington nearly stopped Gavern in the opening stanza but kept smothering his own punches and allowed the cagey veteran to hold on throughout the fight. The judges scored it 79-70 twice and 78-71 for Washington.
Hanzel Martinez (21-2, 17 Kos) defeated fellow Mexican veteran German Meraz (48-34-1, 26 Kos) to an unpopular unanimous decision after eight rounds of a bantamweight clash. Meraz has more than 80 pro fights in only 10 years. That’s an accomplishment.
Oscar Molina (11-0, 9 Kos) slipped into high gear in the third round and stopped Jose Leal (9-7-1) with a body shot at 2:15 of round four of their junior middleweight bout.
Lanell Bellows (11-1-1, 7 Kos) dominated Mexico’s Juan Rojas (7-10-1) but couldn’t stop the tall super middleweight. After six rounds Bellows won by unanimous decision 60-53 on all three cards.
Tugs Nyambayan (1-0) knocked out Gabriel Braxton (2-9) to win his pro debut by knockout at 2:10 of the first round in a bantamweight bout.
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