Saturday, July 9, 2011
Cris Arreola unsatisfied, but wins
By Dan Rafael
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Heavyweight contender Cristobal Arreola stayed busy with a lopsided 10-round decision against Friday Ahunanya at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom on Saturday night -- one week after champion Wladimir Klitschko said he was interested in coming to the United States to defend the title against the Riverside, Calif., native in his next fight.
Although Arreola won easily, he was not happy with the fight, which was on the Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara undercard.
"I thought I looked horrible," Arreola said. "I just couldn't pull the trigger. I seen the openings, but there was a couple of times I held back because they closed up on me. I shoulda knocked him out. No offense to him. He has a solid chin, but he shouldn't have lasted. I thought I looked like s---."
Klitschko won a lopsided decision to retain his title against David Haye last Saturday in Germany and then mentioned Arreola as a possible December opponent.
"I looked almost as bad as Haye," Arreola said of the Brit who did almost nothing in losing a near shutout to Klitschko and blaming a toe injury.
Then Arreola jokingly added, "You should see my toes. They're all f----- up. I don't want rounds. I get rounds in sparring. I should have gotten rid of him."
Arreola, 30, who was stopped in the 10th round of a 2009 world title shot against Vitali Klitschko -- Wladimir's older brother, who still holds a belt -- would like another shot.
"Of course I would like a shot at Wladimir," Arreola said. "But today was one of my [crappiest] performances of the year. He shouldn't have lasted 10 rounds."
Arreola has been the busiest top contender in the division. He won his fourth fight of the year and his third since May 14. He has taken short money and stayed busy in an effort to stay in top shape and keep his weight down.
The slimmed-down Arreola weighed 236 pounds, his third fight in a row at 236 or less -- about 20 pounds less than he had been fighting at.
"I would like to fight again within another six or seven weeks," he said.
Las Vegas-based Nigeria native Ahunanya (24-8-3, 13 KOs), 39, who lost his third fight in a row, showed very little. Although experienced against several top heavyweights, he took a lot of punishment from a busy Arreola, who showed quick hands and worked aggressively to the body.
Arreola (33-2, 28 KOs) had him in big trouble near the end of the seventh round. With blood coming from Ahunanya's nose, Arreola pummeled him to the body and landed a couple of right hands that wobbled him and had him looking for cover along the ropes.
In the end, the decision was obvious -- a near shutout for Arreola, who won 100-90, 99-91 and 99-91. Although Arreola is a strong puncher, Ahunanya has been stopped only once -- in the fifth round by Lance Whitaker in 2004.
Ramos wins title on one-punch KO
Rico Ramos, who was having all kinds of problems with the speed and awkward style of Akifumi Shimoda, scored a one-punch knockout with a left hook in the seventh round to win a junior featherweight title.
Shimoda, a fast southpaw from Japan, used head movement, pressure, a good jab and a solid straight left hand to frustrate Ramos for most of the fight.
But Ramos (20-0, 11 KOs), a 24-year-old from Pico Rivera, Calif., who was the mandatory challenger, ended the fight suddenly when he connected with a crushing left hook that Shimoda probably never saw.
Shimoda, who had been winning easily, struggled to his feet but was badly off balance and falling forward when referee Benjy Esteves called it off at 2 minutes, 46 seconds.
"I had to get that belt. I felt him tire and I had to go for it," Ramos said.
Ramos was trailing on all three scorecards -- 60-54, 59-55 and 59-55 -- before the knockout.
In the fifth round, Shimoda opened a cut over Ramos' right eye when the fighters accidentally clashed heads. Shimoda was warned for a low blow later in the round.
"I was behind on the cards, but after the fifth round I got my energy back," Ramos said. "Through the first five rounds, he was frustrating me and I knew I couldn't let that happen. I wasn't looking for a knockout. I just knew I had to move forward and carry the fight. I was throwing a lot of right hands, but then I surprised him with the left."
Shimoda (23-3-1, 10 KOs), 26, was attempting to become the first Japanese titleholder to successfully defend a world title in the United States.
He won the belt in January by outpointing countryman Ryol Li Lee and was making his first defense. He was just the second Japanese world titleholder to even attempt a defense in the United States, and the first on the mainland.
On Oct. 17, 1973, junior lightweight titlist Kuniaki Shibata, who had dethroned Ben Villaflor in Hawaii, returned to Honolulu to face Villaflor in a rematch in his second defense and was knocked out in the first round.
Gonzalez defends featherweight title
Featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez made his first defense an easy one, dominating late substitute Tomas Villa en route to a fourth-round knockout.
Gonzalez pulled a big upset in April when he went to Japan and stopped long-reigning titleholder Hozumi Hasegawa in the fourth round to claim the belt. A former bantamweight titlist, Gonzalez was supposed to make his initial defense at home in Mexico on Saturday night against Roinet Caballero. However, the bout was moved to Atlantic City when Gonzalez's co-promoter, Oswaldo Kuchle of Del Pueblo Promotions, ran into an unspecified problem with the venue. So Kuchle turned to co-promoter Dan Goossen to put the fight on the card at Boardwalk Hall so that he could preserve his date on Mexican network Televisa.
When Caballero dropped out because of a visa issue, Villa -- a native of Mexico from Midland, Texas -- took the fight on about a week's notice.
He had very little to offer as Gonzalez (49-7, 43 KOs) battered him for the entire fight. It was like target practice, with Gonzalez landing numerous combinations and open left hooks. In the first round alone, Gonzalez landed 49 of 93 punches (53 percent) while Villa (23-8-4, 14 KOs) landed nothing of consequence.
Villa was taking a beating in the fourth round when Gonzalez finished him with a left hook to the body. Villa got up slowly and referee Eddie Cotton stopped it at 49 seconds. Villa then began spitting up blood in his corner.
• Heavyweight John Lennox (5-0, 2 KOs) of Carteret, N.J., stopped Donnie Crawford (1-2-1, 1 KO) of Petersburg, W.Va., at 2 minutes, 11 seconds of the fourth and final round. Lennox scored a second-round knockdown and hurt Crawford with an uppercut in the fourth. Moments later, he landed a right hand that staggered Crawford, and referee Randy Neumann stepped in to stop it.
• Middleweight Brandon Quarles (6-0, 2 KOs) of Alexandria, Va., boxed to a four-round split decision against Cincinnati's Corey Preston (1-5, 0 KOs), winning 40-36 and 39-37 on two cards while one judge had it 39-37 for Preston.
• Junior middleweight Thomas Lamanna (3-0, 3 KOs) of Atlantic City stopped Reggie Jenkins (0-1) of Freemont, N.C. (who was making his pro debut) at 2 minutes, 14 seconds of the first round. Neither man displayed any skills, but Jenkins did not even seem to know how to hold up his hands or throw a punch. He went down to his rear end when Lamanna landed a right hand. During the follow-up attack, Jenkins was flailing and tried to grab, but he was getting hit and Neumann stopped it.
• Middleweight Denis Doughlin (13-1, 8 KOs), 23, of Marlboro, N.J., who was coming off an upset third-round knockout loss in February, rebounded with a hard-fought six-round unanimous decision against Philadelphia's Phillip McCants (9-3-1, 3 KOs).
Doughlin, who goes by the nickname "Mama's Boy" because he is trained by his mother, Saphya Doughlin, won by scores of 60-54 (twice) and 58-56 in the first bout of the card.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.