The WBC elimination bout between heavyweight contenders Chris Arreola, of Riverside, Calif., and Haitian-born Bermane Stiverne, of Las Vegas, will take place on March 9 at The Hangar of the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif.
“Man, this has been a long time coming. I’ve been waiting and wanting to come back on HBO, man,” said Arreola, during a recent interview that can be viewed by clicking here. “The thing about it is that it’s an honor, and I didn’t take it as an honor. I took it as I was meant to be there. I felt very entitled to be there.”
The winner of Arreola-Stiverne would be in line to challenge 41-year-old WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 knockouts), who scored his 13th straight win and his 10th stoppage victory during that run against Manuel Charr (21-1, 11 KOs) in September.
The 6-foot-4 Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) will be after his eighth straight win and his sixth knockout during that span against Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs).
Arreola, 31, has not been in the ring since February of last year, when he came up with a first-round knockout over Eric Molina (19-2, 14 KOs).
Arreola suffered his two losses against Klitschko by 10th-round knockout in September 2009, and by majority decision to Tomasz Adamek in April of 2010.
Stiverne, 34, is 10-0-1, with eight knockouts in his past 11 fights, including five first-round stoppages during that time. Stiverne’s lone defeat was by fourth-round knockout against Demetrice King in July of 2007.
“I know that I’m fighting a very dangerous fighter. Very dangerous. He wants to make history. He wants to be someone that his people can look up to. But I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ruin his dreams. My respect goes out to him,” said Arreola.
“Everybody who goes into the ring gets my respect. It doesn’t matter who it is, whether he’s the worst of the worst or the best of the best. You’ve got to respect them. But I’m going to be well-prepared for this fight. I hope that he has enough to withstand what I’m going to bring.”
Promoted by Don King, who handles Cloud, and Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Hopkins, the Hopkins-Cloud was approved by the IBF providing that the winner of Hopkins-Cloud agrees to make his first defense against IBF mandatory challenger Karo Murat, of Germany, who is 3-0-1, with two knockouts since being stopped in the 10th round in September of 2010 by current WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs).
With a victory over Cloud, Hopkins would extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown, a feat the Philadelphia native accomplished at the age of 46 with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal for the WBC’s light heavyweight belt in May of last year.
Hopkins was last in the ring in April, when he lost a majority decision to RING and WBC champion Chad Dawson. Cloud, who is 30, is looking to make the fifth defense of his belt and is coming off a controversial split-decision victory over Gabriel Campillo in February of last year.
JOHNATHON BANKS WOULD LIKE TO FACE ARREOLA-STIVERNE WINNER FOR TITLE
Detroit’s Johnathon Banks informed reporters during a press conference in New York last Saturday that he would like to face the winner of Arreola-Stiverne for the WBC’s belt in the event that Klitschko retires, and Banks gets beyond a Feb. 16 rematch with Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell.
In November, Banks scored a second-round stoppage over Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs), whose loss ended a streak of 23 wins with 18 knockouts, including the previous 10 straight. Meanwhile, Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) improved to 9-0-1, with five knockouts.
STEVE SMOGER ADDRESSES GENNADY GOLOVKIN’S KNOCKOUT OF GABRIEL ROSADO
Referee Steve Smoger, on the advice of a ringside inspector, responded to the trainer of former junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado, Billy Briscoe,and called an end to this past Saturday’s seventh-round knockout by WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin in The Theatre at Madison Square Garden on HBO.
The 30-year-old Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOS) scored his 12th consecutive stoppage win by battering Rosado’s face into a gruesome crimson mask, ending the loser’s run of seven straight victories, five of them by knockout.
“My only concern was that there was some concern in the corner. The father wanted to continue. Billy Briscoe didn’t. I was going to nurse him until the end of the seventh round. Then, I had the chief physician coming in to stop the fight. He was circling,” said Smoger.
“My only thought is ‘Should I have called time,’ and taken him to the doctor, who was at the commission table, instead of having the doctor circle around and get to his corner. While I was in that thought process, the towel was thrown into the ring, so it’s a moot point. People have said that I did the right thing because they were still in a situation where they were still exchanging punches and still fight, and it wasn’t as if Gabriel was at a total disadvantage at that point in the fight. So I resolve that it was a good stoppage.”
WHO IS NEXT FOR PAULIE MALIGNAGGI?
Now that it appears that a planned bout between WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) and three-division beltwinner Shane Mosley may not come to fruition, what’s next for the two fighters?
Trainer Kevin Cunningham would like to offer the 41-year-old Mosley a shot at welterweight beltholder Devon Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) should the 25-year-old southpaw get beyond his Feb. 23 IBF title defense against unbeaten English welterweight contender Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) in Detroit.
“Shane Mosley has done a whole lot for this sport, and, me personally, I think that he still has something left. And if he thinks that he still has something left, then he should get the opportunity — especially when I see guys like Ricky Hatton coming out of retirement, and Erik Morales coming out of retirement and getting opportunities,” said Cunningham.
“Why not Shane? Furthermore, if things don’t work out, and Paulie winds up not giving Shane the opportunity, then once Devon takes care of this tough mandatory in Kell Brook, we would love to oblige Shane with a shot at Devon’s IBF title. We would like to extend an invitation to Shane to come on out to Detroit on Feb. 23 and to sit at ringside for our fight.”
JOSE PEDRAZA RETURNS ON FEB. 23
“We are excited, because this will be a great card with lots of competitive fights,”” said Javier Bustillo, president of Universal Promotions. “Pedraza debuted in Ponce with a Knockout victory in the first round, and the fans in Ponce were asking to watch him again.”
In his last fight in October, Pedraza defeated Tevin Farmer by eighth-round TKO on Showtime.
“I went four months without a fight, so I’m hungry for a huge victory in Ponce,” said Pedraza, who is promoted by, Gary Shaw Productions, Universal Promotions, and Lou DiBella Entertainment. “We are preparing very well, and the fans can expect a great show from me in an event full of great fights.”
Rodriguez has beaten previously unbeaten Carlo Jhean Aparicio and Daniel Evangelista Jr., and gone the distance against Rances Barthelemy, Abner Cotto, Eloy Perez, John Molina and Mickey Bey Jr.
In the co-feature, junior lightweight Mario “El Principe” Santiago (22-3-1, 14 KO’s) will face tough Dominican Marcos “El Tigre” Jimenez (18-4, 12 KOs).
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com