LOS ANGELES - In a much better rematch, Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne stopped Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola to win the WBC heavyweight world title in an exciting slugfest while it lasted on Saturday.
Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 Kos) out-fought a hungrier and better prepared Arreola (35-4, 31 Kos) but when it came to landing the big blow, he did that, bigtime, in front of more than 4,000 fans at the Galen Center in downtown Los Angeles.
“I was winning the fight. I was hurting him anytime I wanted to,” said Stiverne.
Arreola led the charge in first round. He followed up with four more before Stiverne landed two of his own including a good body shot. An overhand right by Stiverne staggered Arreola and served as a precursor. The Las Vegas heavyweight then talked to Arreola at end of the bell.
A big right hand by Arreola scored and gave the Riverside heavyweight the second round. Stiverne tried to battle back but seemed unhurt by Arreola’s punch. It was the first time in two fights that Arreola actually won a round against Stiverne.
The bombs flied in round three as Arreola landed half a dozen right hands. Stiverne stayed in the pocket and exchanged but Arreola got the better of it. He smiled toward the end to replicate what Stiverne did in the first round. Already this fight was much better than the first encounter.
Stiverne landed the best combination early in round four but Arreola stormed back in the second half. Stiverne seemed to figure out Arreola’s rhythm better in the round. He also used a stiff jab to keep Arreola from rushing in.
Arreola had a better round in the fifth but still Stiverne was able to land stiff jabs and blows to the body. When Stiverne stuck on the ropes Arreola was able to land his combos.
“I was winning the fight,” said Arreola, who like Stiverne was landing plenty of shots.
Stiverne was cruising along and moving along the ropes as Arreola looked for some more openings to land his combinations. Suddenly a counter right from Stiverne landed crisp and Arreola went down in sections. The Riverside heavyweight beat the count but looked wobbly. Another four-punch combination sent Arreola down again and through the ropes. He untangled himself but stumbled as he got up. Stiverne rushed in again and unloaded some combos that rocked Arreola. Though he didn’t go down he looked unable to protect himself as referee Jack Reiss wisely stopped the fight at 2:02 of the sixth round.
“He caught me the same way again. The same (crap) as last time. The exact same punch,” Arreola said, disappointedly.
Stiverne is the new WBC heavyweight champion and first from Haiti to win the heavyweight world title.
“He caught me,” said Stiverne about the exciting heavyweight fight. “I counter-punched him with the same punch as last time. It was exactly like we planned.”
Arreola was gracious in defeat.
“I tip my hat to him. He’s a world class champion,” Arreola said.
Two judges had Arreola ahead 48-47 at the end of five rounds. One judge had it 48-47 for Stiverne.
Before the fight it was announced that the winner would meet Deontay Wilder. But Wladimir Klitschko said he is very interested in fighting the winner and a fight with him would bring a lot more money than Wilder. Expect Stiverne to fight Klitschko.
Don King, who promotes Stiverne, said he’s undecided about who the new champion will meet next, but that it will be very soon.
Floridian prospect Amir Imam (12-0, 10 Kos) remained undefeated by out-boxing Cuban veteran Yordenis Ugas (15-3, 7 Kos) over eight rounds in a junior welterweight bout. Imam was able to stun Ugas a few times over the fight but the Cuban fighter kept the pressure on and used many of his tricks including trying to trip and punch Imam at the same time. Imam won by scores 79-73 and 78-74 twice.
“Everything we worked on in the gym worked,” said Imam, who is promoted by Don King. “I want a world title fight as soon as possible.”
BJ Flores (29-1-1, 19 Kos) barely broke a sweat against Adam Collins (12-10, 8 Kos). A left hook body shot by Flores hurt Collins, then a classic one-two combination sent the Ohio cruiserweight to the floor. He was counted out at 1:58 of round one for a knockout.
Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (1-0) needed only one punch to knock out Travis Davidson (2-3) at 47 seconds of round one of a middleweight contest. It was Plant’s pro debut and hopefully didn’t spoil him into thinking all fights will be as easy. Davidson is a southpaw from Virginia and Plant fights out of Tennessee.
Razvan Cojanu (10-1, 5 Kos) stopped Rodricka Ray (5-7-1) at 2:51 of round five of a heavyweight contest. Cojanu, who fights out of Van Nuys, Calif. was much taller but was forced to deal with a lot of holding. He finally unraveled some blows to the body and ended the fight.
Mario Barrios (4-0) defeated Jaxel Marrero (1-3-1) by unanimous decision in a featherweight match.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV