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BOXING

Lance Pugmire's round-by-round on Klitschko-Arreola

September 27, 2009|LANCE PUGMIRE

Ringside at Staples Center for the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship pitting Vitali Klitschko against Cris Arreola. The crowd of 14,556 is arriving slowly, but several empty seats remain, far more than when Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito fought here in January.

Surprisingly, actor Sylvester Stallone is sitting next to former California State Athletic Commission chairman Timothy Noonan, who resigned Thursday amid an ethics probe launched after The Times revealed that Noonan had distributed free fight passes to friends, including Stallone. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, to whom Noonan submitted his resignation, sits next to the pair as boos cascade from the rafters.

Even though the unbeaten Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs) is a heavy 6-to-1 underdog in Las Vegas, the talk among boxing veterans backstage is that the younger Riverside product can shock the boxing world here.

The logic that still reigns before the opening bell is that the wiser Klitschko will systematically dissect Arreola's pledge to come out aggressively and end this bout early. Still, history is on most people's minds. Arreola is only the second fighter of Mexican ancestry to have a heavyweight title shot, after Mandy Ramos lost to Joe Frazier in 1968.

Round 1

What happened: With Stallone, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson and Leonardo DiCaprio among the announced celebs, Klitschko (38-2, 37 KOs), defending his WBC heavyweight belt and appearing at Staples Center for a third time, strides toward the ring to boos and AC/DC's "Hells Bells."

Arreola (27-1, 24 KOs) has ascended to this title shot without a major name on his resume, but his punching power, toughness and age advantage might neutralize Klitschko's experience. That's what he's hoping, anyway, as he does his ring walk to Jay-Z's "Run This Town."

Klitschko paws with a long jab. Arreola looks for an opening. Arreola tries to brawl. Klitschko backs away. Great reach by the champion. Big jab to head by Klitschko. Big right by Klitschko. Arreola is going to have a tough time finding an opening. He's too far away. Arreola throws three jabs.

Pugmire's take: The challenger has come a long way from the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, where I watched him fight a few years ago.

The judges: Anek Hongtongkam, Klitschko 10-9; Guido Cavalieri, Klitschko 10-9; Ken Morita, Klitschko 10-9.

Round 2

What happened: Arreola tries to follow a good left. He lands a right. Thunderous right to the head by Klitschko. Two big jabs by the champ. Klitschko setting up right beautifully with jab. Arreola looking to get to the body. Arreola chases, gets "rewarded" with a big right. Three nice jabs and a big right by Klitschko.

Pugmire's take: The Klitschko strategy is in effect impressively. Arreola will need the big punch to land.

The judges: Anek Hongtongkam, Klitschko 10-9; Guido Cavalieri, Klitschko 10-9; Ken Morita, Klitschko 10-9.

Round 3

What happened: Arreola using up energy to chase Klitschko. Klitschko jabbing still. Why change what's working? Nice right by the champ. Arreola looks a bit frustrated. Klitschko gets in a good right. Nice exchange of rights. Klitschko gets points with jabs. The challenger is too short, his arms are too small in this match. Nice right by the champ at the bell.

Pugmire's take: The physical disparity is making a huge difference. Arreola's courage will shine.

The judges: Anek Hongtongkam, Klitschko 10-9; Guido Cavalieri, Klitschko 10-9; Ken Morita, Klitschko 10-9.

Round 4

What happened: Big right by Arreola to answer a jab. Klitschko backs away slightly. Arreola charges again; Klitschko stumbles away but regathers himself. Two nice jabs by Arreola. Two good rights by Arreola. Klitschko back to jabbing. Nice right by Klitschko.

Pugmire's take: Arreola's best round -- I give it to him -- but the feeling is strong that success will be fleeting for the challenger.

The judges: Anek Hongtongkam, Klitschko 10-9; Guido Cavalieri, Klitschko 10-9; Ken Morita, Klitschko 10-9.

Round 5

What happened: More jabs by the champ. Arreola's right eye is puffy. Clean right to face by Klitschko. Arreola tries to brawl, Klitschko holds him. Good body shots by Arreola in corner. Four clean blows by Klitschko, a real tactician. Klitschko gets in nice long right.

Pugmire's take: The abuse is now adding up. Is Arreola savvy enough to figure out a response?

The judges: Anek Hongtongkam, Klitschko 10-9; Guido Cavalieri, Klitschko 10-9; Ken Morita, Klitschko 10-9.

Round 6

What happened: Nice right by Klitschko. Another good right by Klitschko. Action slowing. Arreola needs some kind of solution. He takes three punches darting in. A nice right by Arreola, and Klitschko blinks as if he's stunned. Good jab by Arreola. Nice right by the champ set up by two jabs. Arreola attacks at the bell.

Pugmire's take: Klitschko's moments of discomfort -- as in this round -- are brief as he merely reverts to autopilot of jab and punch.

The judges: Anek Hongtongkam, Klitschko 10-9; Guido Cavalieri, Klitschko 10-9; Ken Morita, Klitschko 10-9.

Round 7

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