|Vitali Klitschko Takes Cris Arreola into deep water and stops him on his stool in 10
By Gabriel Montoya, MaxBoxing (Sept 27, 2009) Article provided by MaxBoxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
The crowd was on fire inside the Staples Center for the WBC heavyweight bout between titleholder Vitali Klitschko (38-2 with 37 KOs) and Cris “The Nightmare” Arreola (27-1 with 24 KOs) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The stars were in abundance as Kobe Bryant, Russell Simmons, Leo DiCaprio, Mike Tyson, Pete Rose, Sly Stallone and a host of others gathered to see the biggest heavyweight fight to hit Staples since Lennox Lewis took on Vitali in his final fight.
Arreola entered to some angry sounding hip-hop as the crowd erupted to cheer on their hometown hero. He looked relaxed and ready in silver and black velvet. Vitali entered next to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” and the crowd gave him a spirited welcome with a smattering of boos.
As Michael Buffer began his pre-fight instructions, waves of cheers flowed across the room as we all waited with bated breath to see what would happened next. It was an exciting atmosphere that only heavyweights can bring as both fighters were introduced. Both men looked focused and intense, Vitali still and menacing and Arreola bouncing and pacing around his corner.
As the bell sounded, both men moved to center ring. Arreola came out fast, leaping in with a hook that was blocked. Vitali got off a triple jab and a right hand but Arreola slipped it. The Nightmare was agile and active, moving his head and upper body, looking for a way in past the multiple jab of Vitali who added an uppercut to his usual arsenal of jab, right hand, and left hook. Arreola got to Vitali’s body but the Ukrainian was able to move away and keep his preferred long range distance. That Vitali watched a ton of tape was evident as he seemed to know Arreola’s every move. When Arreola dipped or ducked, Vitali would drop in a check hook or uppercut. He was masterful with his check hook tonight, using it to keep Arreola in check gaining momentum to move himself around Arreola.
Arreola kept coming forward through the next two rounds but ate a lot of leather as he tried to figure out the puzzle in front of him. Multiple jabs to the head and body seemed to work for Arreola but he was unable to successfully stay in range and get in a clean right hand. Arreola seemed to be able to pick off some of the shots coming from the side but the constant jab of Vitali reddened his face and began setting up cleaner and cleaner right hands and hooks. One wrinkle Vitali added in as the fight progressed and Arreola shot his multiple jab was a hard right to the body underneath it. It lessened the power of Arreola and kept him from throwing the jab or any punch as often as he would have liked early.
But in the fourth, the heart and will of Arreola showed up as he pressed the action behind his jab and threw caution to the wind. Jab, jab, right hand by Arreola got close to home. Another jab and right hand backed off Vitali who spun and got in a counter right of his own. Arreola seemed to block better but still the Vitali jab split his guard and continued slamming into his nose which began to bleed as the fight progressed. Jabs to the chest of Vitali seemed to back him up but he threw a one-two in answer to which Arreola got off a right. It was the first round Arreola won on my card. A fight seemed to be breaking out of this boxing match.
Vitali came back strong in the next few rounds; using his ring generalship, superior size and his skill to regain control of a surging Arreola. The Nightmare was expending a lot of energy to get close and it was costing him dearly. Jab, jab, right hand, check hook, right to the body. Vitali, while moving a lot more than the restless crowd would have liked, was in total control. Every time Arreola tried to get inside and work, Vitali would tie him up and prompt Referee John Schorle to break the fighters and resume action.
In the eighth, Arreola came roaring out, desperate to turn things around. Again he rushed forward behind multiple jabs and this time it seemed a glimmer of hope began to appear. It was sloppy but game work by Arreola who got in a right hand here and there, bullied Klitschko and forced a faster pace. But Vitali is as tough as he is smart and skilled and he held his own under the onslaught which would soon prove to be a last hurrah for The Nightmare.
In the ninth, Vitali had his best round of the night, rocking a right hand across Arreola’s face and getting in hard shots from all angles. Arreola seemed to be discouraged and unable to figure out a new adjustment to get him in the fight as Vitali peppered Arreola’s bleeding face with the jab and sent home hard right hands. It was getting brutal in there. By the end of the tenth, a round where Vitali seemed to land at will, the end was very much in sight. Arreola seemed to be visibly hurt and shaken by a few of the right hands that found their home. But still he came forward, tried his best and never quit.
In the end, it was Arreola’s trainer Henry Ramirez who said enough was enough.
“He was taking too much punishment,” said Ramirez. “When I stopped it he was irate. It was not an easy thing to do but we had discussed it before. I had to do it.”
The official decision was Vitali Klitschko by tenth round TKO.
“I was surprised when he didn’t come out,” said Klitschko. “This was a hard fight like I expected. He is a tough fighter. I worked the body and thought I hurt him a lot but he has a great, great chin. I hit him each round and I felt his power lessen as the rounds wore on,” said Vitali afterwards.
Arreola was emotional after the fight, tears in his eyes. “He never hurt me. I didn’t want to quit. I wanted to go all twelve rounds. He did everything he was supposed to. I take nothing away from him.”
With the dominant win, Klitschko retained his portion of the heavyweight belt and will continue his reign over the heavies with his brother Wladimir. For the time being, the heavyweight crown appears to be firmly in their grasp.
In the co-feature, heavyweight prospect Jonathon Banks (22-1 with 15 KOs) out-pointed Javier Mora (22-41 with 18 KOs) over eight rounds to keep his unbeaten heavyweight streak going. The pace was fast to start with both men throwing bombs but Banks landing more in combination to the head and body. The tenacity and experience of Mora shone through as he pressed forward with a jab, landed hard right hands that buzzed Banks and kept him on the outskirts of the ring trying to box. Mora would take control of rounds 2,3, and 4 on my card suing his raw power, toughness and solid one-two. The jab wouldn’t land often but it did the job as his right hand found its home several times including a hard right to Banks’ chin as he lay against the ropes. But in round 5, Banks came roaring back. He buzzed Mora with a hard right hand and let his hands go in combination pushing Mora back. A stoppage looked possible as Mora ate shot after shot but the bell mercifully sounded and Mora was saved. Banks tested him in the next round but found Mora had recovered and went back to boxing. The 7th and 8th round were slower paced as Mora winged hard shots and Banks boxed his way to victory by scores of 79-73, 78-74, and 76-76 for majority decision.
Lightweight prospect John Molina, Jr. (18-0 with 14 KOs) needed barely any time at all to dispatch rugged veteran Efren Hinojosa (30-7-1 with 17 KOs). Molina came out hard charging and loaded for bear as he unloaded some brutal body shots on Hinojosa. A hard right hook to the body from Molina hurt Hinojosa and he began to crumple to the canvas but not before Molina landed a crisp left hook for good measure.
“That’s what we wanted to do. [Trainer] Joe [Goossen] said to come out strong and go right at him. That first body shot I really thought I broke his ribs,” said Molina afterward. “II didn’t know it was going to be over but Joe ‘it’s over’ and it was. It feels good considering it took Guerrero nine rounds to get him out of there. People thought it was going to be huge test for me and a gauge of where we are. If that’s so, I think we did really well.”
The bout begins Molina’s campaign at lightweight.
“I felt strong as an ox, said Molina. “I felt stronger than I ever felt today.”
In an interesting boxing match, featherweight prospect Salvador Sanchez ( 14-3-2 with 7 KOs) came out boxing but took out Trinidad Mendoza (28-24-2 with 3 KOs) swinging as the two kept a steady pace over three mostly one-sided rounds. Slower than his name sake uncle but resembling some of the technique and stance, Sanchez came out looking to box early but in the second he hurt and dropped Mendoza with a body shot and all semblance of boxing was thrown out the window as Sanchez unloaded on his hurt foe as he lay along the ropes. Shot after shot landed and crashed into Mendoza who blocked some, slipped others, but ate a bunch of leather as well. He’d make it our of the round and into the third but not for long as Sanchez pressed his advantage and worked to the body until Mendoza went down yet again and was counted out. The time was 1:23 of the third.
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