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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- There was no crying from Cristobal Arreola this time as the heavyweight contender stopped Brian Minto in the fourth round of an entertaining slugfest on Saturday in the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall.
The last time Arreola, 28, of Riverside, Calif., was in the ring, he went on a crying jag while cursing his way through an emotional HBO postfight interview in September after Vitali Klitschko had stopped him in the 10th round of a heavyweight title fight in Los Angeles.
There were no such overwhelming emotions in his return as Arreola unloaded punch after punch on Minto in the action-packed fourth round to finally stop him in the co-featured bout on the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez undercard.
Arreola had badly swelled Minto's left eye in the second round, but Minto never wavered in his commitment to fighting. He landed a lot of punches, but they just didn't have the kind of power on them that Arreola's did, nor could Minto successfully get on the inside against his bigger opponent.
Arreola (28-1, 25 KOs) also landed numerous hard shots, but Minto, who weighed 45 pounds less than him, showed an excellent chin -- until the fourth round.
That's when Arreola did damage. He landed a sweeping right hand that deposited Minto on his knees with 90 seconds left in the round.
Minto, 34, of Butler, Pa., got to his feet and engaged Arreola in a toe-to-toe brawl.
But Arreola got the better of it and landed three right hands, which knocked Minto (34-3, 21 KOs) down again. He rolled over onto his knees and beat referee Eddie Cotton's count, but he was in no condition to continue and Cotton stopped it at 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
"It was a real tough fight," said Minto, whose seven-fight winning streak ended. "He's a big, tough guy and he throws an awkward right hand. I tried to move and use my feet. That was the game plan. He's a big puncher and he can hit hard."
Whether the victory puts Arreola back into title contention remains to be seen, given Minto's lack of credentials. But Minto did show a ton of heart and it was one heck of a fight.
"Great fight. I got to take my hat off to Brian Minto," Arreola said. "I hurt my hand -- on his head. Regardless of my previous loss I am still a top 10 heavyweight in the world, if not top five. He's no Vitali Klitschko but he's still tough. Who is Vitali Klitschko? Nobody."
Arreola, who would like to get back in the ring in the next three months, weighed a career-heavy 263 pounds and is getting a bit tired of people discussing his weight.
"I do come in here at 263 and people make fun of me behind my back, but I come in here to fight," Arreola said. "The problem is when I train I get hungry."
Given the dearth of heavyweight contenders, former title challenger Tony "The Tiger" Thompson put himself back in a good position for another major fight by stopping Chazz Witherspoon in the ninth round of an entertaining fight.
Thompson (33-2, 21 KOs), 38, of Washington, was getting the better of the action throughout the fight before staggering Witherspoon (26-2, 18 KOs), 28, of Philadelphia, with a flush overhand right hand in the ninth round. Witherspoon was badly hurt as Thompson cracked him with two more right hands that sent him into the ropes, forcing referee Benjy Esteves to rule a knockdown.
When the fight continued, Thompson was all over Witherspoon -- a cousin of former two-time heavyweight titlist Tim Witherspoon -- until Esteves called it off at 2 minutes, 13 seconds.
Thompson won his second in a row since making a comeback after being knocked out in the 11th round by heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko in a July 2008 mandatory fight in Germany.
• Former welterweight titlist Carlos Quintana (27-2, 21 KOs) suffered a second-round knockdown but rebounded for a third-round TKO of Jesse Feliciano (15-8-3, 9 KOs) in a junior middleweight bout.
Quintana, 33, of Puerto Rico, handed Williams his first professional loss in February 2008 to win a title but lost it via first-round knockout in the immediate rematch four months later. Quintana had fought just once since and was returning from a 14-month layoff.
He mostly dominated Feliciano, 27, of Las Vegas, landing his stiff right jab regularly and tattooing Feliciano, who was devoid of defense.
However, Feliciano scored a second-round knockdown when he clocked Quintana with a wild left hand that knocked him into the ropes, which held him up, forcing referee Randy Neumann to issue an eight-count.
But in the third round, Quintana opened a bad cut over Feliciano's right eye, which Neumann ruled was caused by a punch, and the fight was called off at 59 seconds after Neumann consulted with the ringside doctor. Feliciano complained that the cut was caused by an accidental head butt, but replays were inconclusive.
• Junior featherweight prospect Jorge Diaz (11-0, 7 KOs) blew out Luis Paneto (5-7-2, 2 KOs) in the first round.
Diaz, 22, of New Brunswick, N.J., followed up his sensational sixth-round knockout of 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yan Barthelemy on Oct. 10 with another powerful stoppage. After controlling the fight from the opening bell, Diaz landed a crippling right hand to Paneto's chin, knocking him down, Paneto, 20, of Puerto Rico, didn't try to get up, instead listening to referee Eddie Cotto's full count while on a knee before getting up just after he reached 10 with seven seconds left in the round.