“The Standing Eight Count”- Ringside At The Home Depot Center
By Dave Wilcox
On October 17th, 2009 Group Stage 1 of the Super Six World Boxing Classic got under way with “King Arthur” Abraham thrilling the boxing world with a dramatic 12th round knockout win over Jermaine Taylor. Just one month later on November 17th, Andre “S.O.G.” Ward made his Super Six debut with a surprisingly easy technical decision victory win over Mikkel Kessler to snatch Kessler’s WBA Super Middleweight belt. The bout was stopped in the 11th round when Kessler couldn’t continue with cuts over both eyes. At the time of the stoppage, Ward was comfortably ahead on all three cards.
Flash forward to this past Saturday night at the beautiful outdoor area at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California where Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham kicked off the much anticipated Super Six Semi-Finals. Ward’s WBA strap that he snatched from Kessler in Group Stage 1 was on the line, as well as the right to face the winner of the Carl Froch-Glen Johnson fight in the other semi-final bout that will take place in Atlantic City on June, 4th for Froch’s WBC championship.
As the fighters entered the ring on this cool California evening, the pro-Abraham crowd made their presence felt with near deafening cheers for their man. One would have thought with Ward’s hometown being just north up Interstate 5 in Northern California that he would have had the hometown advantage. The Armenian population of Los Angeles made sure that didn’t happen.
As the bell for round one rang, it was apparent that Ward was going to try and keep his distance and utilize his very strong jab to keep the very powerful “King Arthur” at bay. Although the action in the ring was slow to start in round one, the energy and excitement was throughout the arena.
Abraham picked up the pace in the second round and stalked the quicker Ward. Flurries where exchanged and even though Ward was able to stay clear of Abe’s power, it appeared that Abraham was closing the gap and was much more aggressive here than in his previous effort in losing a lopsided decision to Carl Froch his last time out.
Abraham got Ward’s attention in round three with a very stiff jab and solid overhand right. It appeared from ringside than when Ward was jabbing, he was dipping down to his right, thus leaving himself open for Abraham’s powerful right hand.
Andre Ward came out strong in round four we started to see a shift of momentum as Ward used his superior jab to great effect and Abraham showed signs of frustration with his inability to land on the elusive Ward.
What started out as an intriguing and competitive night quickly turned into a typical Andre Ward performance. Ward controlled the action the rest of the way and coasted to a unanimous decision victory over the frustrated Arthur Abraham. Ward’s style might not be pretty or fun to watch but he is always very skilled and will continue to be a hard man to beat for anyone in the Super Middleweight division. As for Arthur Abraham, it appears he will have continued trouble at 168 pounds. There are too many bigger and quicker fighters at that weight for him to be competitive. He might want to consider moving back down to the Middleweight division where there are many good matchups for him and he would be a money maker for any current 160 pound king. The official score cards read 120-108, 118-110 and 118-111. Your friendly neighborhood reporter had the bout scored 119-109.
Andre Ward weighed in at 168 pounds and improved his record to 24-0, (13KO)
Arthur Abraham weighed in at 167 pounds and falls to 32-3, (26 KO)
In the co-main event, one of our sport’s most talented fat men actually appeared to put down the fork and finally stay true this time to the promise he makes to his fans after each fight to take boxing seriously and get in shape. Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola of Riverside, California stepped in against professional opponent Nagy Aguilera of Newburgh, New York.
Arreola weighed in for this bout at 234 pounds and appeared to be in good shape as the robe came off Saturday night. The last time “The Nightmare” came into the ring that light was at in July of 2007 when he knocked out juggernaut, Derek Berry in the first round at the very same Home Depot Center. Arreola has been a mystery to most both physically and mentally with his emotional outbursts on television interviews and his inability to come into a bout in shape. This time it appeared he might have conquered at least one of those feats.
As round one began, Arreola came out confidently and worked the body of Aguilera. A few right hands found the mark on Nagy’s chin, but for the most part, round one was a feeling out process.
In round two, Arreola had “felt out” enough and came out quick with a furry of hard punches that sent Aguilera reeling back to the ropes. Arreola pounded on his opponent and it seemed the end was near. To everyone’s surprise, good ol’ cement head, Aguilera not only took the barrage, but spun Arreola and started landing his own hard shots. This was the moment of truth for the Mexican slugger as he appeared frustrated that Aguilera not only withstood his charge, but fired back. Now we would get our answer on Arreola’s condition, both mentally and physically.
Arreola came out on fire in round three and pounded Aguilera with some horrific left hooks to the body and pounded the head of Aguilera relentlessly until a huge right hand landed on the head of the defenseless Nagy Aguilera that prompted referee, Raul Ciaz, Jr. to stop the bout at 1:58 of the third round.
Chris Arreola weighed in at 234 pounds and improved to 31-2, (27KO)
Nagy Aguilera weighed in at 238 pounds and drops to 16-6, (11 KO)
-In a scheduled six round Super Middleweight affair, 2008 USA Olympian, Shawn “Manos De Oro” Estrada, from East Los Angeles, California (12-0, 11KO) continued his assault on the helpless tomato can community when he stepped in against Joseph Garner of Woonsocket, Rhode Island (7-3-1, 1KO). Estrada landed devastating left hook than paralyzed his overmatched opponent at 1:27 of the first round.
-Another 2008 USA Olympian was on the card as Javier “El Intocable” Molina of Norwalk, California (6-0, 4KO) looked to continue his unbeaten streak against Danny Figueroa from Hastings, Minnesota (3-2,2KO) in this four round Junior Middleweight contest. Molina coasted to a unanimous decision. All three official scorecards read 40-36.
-Junior Bantamweights hit the ring for a scheduled four round bout. Matt Villanueva (6-0, 6KO) from Van Nuys, California stepped in against Frank Guitierrez (2-10-2, 1KO) of Highland, California. Villanueva came out fast and put Guitierrez down early on with a right hand and then finished the bout with a big left hook flush on the jaw of the overmatched Guitierrez that forced the referee to halt the action at 2:56 of the first round.
-Junior Middleweights were next up in a scheduled four rounder as Armen Ovesepyan (11-1, 9KO) out of Yerevan, Armenia took on Arturo Brambilla (9-15, 4KO) from Guadalajara, Mexico. Ovesepyan landed the punch of the night with a tremendous straight right hand lead that immediately caused Brambilla to do the “nestea plunge” and the referee wasted no time in waving it off at 2:44 of the first round.
-More Junior Middleweights were up next in a scheduled six round bout. Andrey Klimov 11-0, 6KO) of Van Nuys, California squared off against Ty Barnett (18-2-1, 12KO) hailing from Washington, DC. On paper this appeared to be a nice matchup, so much for paper. Klimov dictated the action and ended it swiftly with a left hook to the body, followed by a right to the jaw that sent Barnett to dream land. The referee called the action at 1:12 of round three.
-Middleweights hit the squared circle for a scheduled six rounder as Dominik Britsch (22-0, 8 KO) of Bad Friedrichshall, Germany took on Delray “Rainmaker” Raines (18-10-1, 13KO) out of Paris, Arkansas. If nothing else, Raines proved that he was game, but Britsch was just too skilled for Raines on this night. In a strange coincidence, Raines was knocked down in rounds two, three and four, all within 10 seconds of the bell sounding to end the round. In round five, Raines wouldn’t be as lucky when the German landed a thundering right hand to jaw the kept Raines down for good as the referee haled the bout at 2:21 of round five.
-The final bout of the evening followed the main event and myself and the four other guys stayed to watch as Heavyweights were scheduled for eight rounds. Manuel “El Toro” Quezeda (29-7, 18 KO) from Bakersfield, California squared off against Bowie “Bo” Tupou (20-1, 16 KO) from Los Angeles, California. You might remember Quezada as the guy who lost a ten round decision to Chris Arreola back in August of last year on a card televised on ESPN Friday Night Fights. As is usually the case with Heavyweights, these two did the best to put the handful of us still there to sleep as they plodded forward. The two exchanged on occasion for the first six rounds, but then in surprising fashion in round seven, Tupou landed a damaging left hook that had “El Toro” stunned and then “Bo” followed with a right hand to the jaw that Quezada never saw coming and when he couldn’t make the count of ten and bout was called off at .53 seconds of round seven.
*Dave Wilcox is the West Coast Coordinator and Radio Correspondent for The “Talkin Boxing with Billy C.” Radio program.