TEMECULA-Two Riverside prizefighters Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola and Josesito Lopez proved they were a notch above their opponents in front of a sold-out crowd on Friday at Pechanga Resort and Casino.
Arreola took a few punches from Minnesota’s Joey “Ice” Abell (27-5, 26 KOs), looked him over, then crushed the heavyweight with a counter right that snapped his head back like one of those boxing toys. Then came a flurry of half a dozen blows that had Abell reeling on the ropes and the fight was quickly stopped at 2:18 of the first round. Arreola kissed Abell on the cheek right after the ref stepped in.
“I didn’t hit so might as well kiss him,” said Arreola (30-2, 26 KOs).
The Riverside heavyweight who lost last year to cruiserweight turned heavyweight Tomasz Adamek wants to dispel all thoughts that he’s a mere set up for heavyweight champions.
“Everybody who believed in me thank you. We're going to run this byotch in 2011. I promise,” said Arreola after the scrap, which headlined ESPN's Friday Night Fights. “Everybody who supports me thank you, everybody who hates me thank you. 2010 was the worst year in my life and it was my fault. 2011 I’m going to work my ass off and get this title. I guarantee it.”
Arreola flew to Houston, Texas to work with Ronnie Shields on footwork and precision right hands. It immediately helped.
“We worked on balance, balance, balance,” said Arreola. “When he (Abell) pulled back, I cranked that right hand and it was right there.”
Though Abell’s punches did land Arreola said they weren’t enough to stop him.
“You always feel the punch. I worked on keeping my hand right in front of my nose because lefties are tricky,” he said.
Within the first minute of the fight heads were clashing and Josesito Lopez (29-3, 17 KOs) emerged with a small gash right above the bridge of his nose. Mike Dallas (17-1-1) looked to hit and hold immediately as Lopez worked to fight inside.
A left hook at the end of the second round staggered Dallas a bit. Before that, both fought entangled throughout the round as Dallas seemed to be hitting and holding.
Lopez landed a four punch combination that had Dallas on the move. When Lopez cornered him he turned his back and was hit on the kidney and needed time to rest. The referee gave him time but warned him not to turn his back in the third round.
In the fourth round Dallas boxed more and held less and used quick one-twos to score points as Lopez tried to close the distance. A few body shots were landed by Lopez but Dallas was busier.
Lopez mauled Dallas in the fifth round. During a six punch combination the Bakersfield boxer stopped and complained about a blow behind the head. Lopez continued and kept punching and forced Dallas to retreat.
The sixth round saw Dallas try to resume control but Lopez kept attacking the body. At the end of the round Lopez fired several blows and Dallas slipped to the floor.
Two crushing left hooks hurt Dallas in the eighth and while he stumbled into the corner referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped the fight. Dallas then stumbled into the ropes and complained about the stoppage but he was falling down. The first left hook stood up Dallas and the second hook had the Bakersfield fighter reeling. Caiz stopped the fight at 1:47 of the seventh round and Lopez grabbed the NABF junior welterweight title.
“It was a tough fight just like we expected. He was fast, he was skilled. I went through the tough storm but now I’m here with the victory,” said Lopez. “I put everything on the line and I managed to stay focused.”
Dallas, who held the NABF title, was disappointed in the stoppage.
“I touched my nose and the ref stopped the fight and he shouldn’t have,” said Dallas. “He never once called for him hitting me on the back of my head.”
Former Olympian Shawn Estrada (11-0, 10 KOs) had too much firepower and too much skill for Minnesota’s willing Jon Schmidt (10-1, 6 KOs). As soon as the first round began Estrada was piercing Schmidt’s defense with right hands and left hooks.
Though Schmidt was floored early he got up and tried valiantly to get back into the fight. Estrada slipped the blows and landed a perfect one-two combination for a clean knockout at 1:48 of the first round.
“I thought he was going to give more because he had a great record, but I stopped him,” said Estrada.
Kevin Hoskins (4-0, 3 KOs) of L.A. won a slugfest with Wilmington’s Ramon Flores (3-10-2) by split decision after four rounds of a junior lightweight battle. Hoskins was the more accurate puncher but Flores fired more blows that just didn’t connect enough. The scores were 39-37 twice for Hoskins and 39-37 for Flores. There were no knockdowns.
A counter right hook by Joseph Elegele (10-0, 8 KOs) dropped Manuel Aguilar (5-1, 4 KOs) for a knockout at 2:18 of the first round of a junior welterweight bout set for six rounds. Elegele’s long reach was too much to overcome for Aguilar who was belted the first time he attempted to fire back.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?