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Defeated Cris Arreola vows to get back into the ring quickly

'I want to fight as soon as possible, December or January,' Arreola says after losing to Vitali Klitschko. 'I'm not going to let this fight break me.'

September 28, 2009|Lance Pugmire

Cris Arreola wiped away the tears that engulfed him after his first career loss and vowed to quickly rid "the bitter taste in my mouth" that came with joining the club of losing to a Klitschko.

Riverside's Arreola (27-1) was outpunched 301-86, out-jabbed 150-62 and deemed the loser of every round by one judge Saturday before his trainer Henry Ramirez told referee Jon Schorle to award Vitali Klitschko a 10th-round technical knockout, blocking Arreola's quest to become the first world heavyweight champion of Mexican ancestry.

"I want to fight as soon as possible, December or January," Arreola said in the post-fight news conference after sobbing on HBO cameras as he apologized for losing. "It's back to the drawing board, back to the gym. I'm not going to let this fight break me."

"I earned this shot and got my [rear] kicked. Now, it's time for me to earn a shot again and do some [rear] kicking."

That was the tone of the post-fight evening, as Arreola's promoter, Dan Goossen, lamented "the only way to beat Vitali Klitschko [age 38] is to have him retire," and Klitschko and boxing powers praised the beaten challenger's toughness and charisma.

"A couple of very hard punches I land to his head," Klitschko said. "But he stay. . . . Cris Arreola has all the skills to be a world champion."

HBO's Kery Davis, who oversees the process that puts big fights on television, predicted, "Arreola will have another title chance. He's just 28, has a great personality and fights in a television-friendly style [24 knockouts]."

Reached later at his post-fight party at the Palm restaurant downtown, Goossen milked a drink and said he was unprepared to assess what he'll do next with Arreola.

"It boiled down to he fought a very talented heavyweight tonight," Goossen said. "Arreola has guts. Sometimes, the other team is better than you, but it doesn't mean you can't come back and play well again."

The immediate question is how long World Boxing Council champion Vitali and his younger brother and IBF and WBO heavyweight champ Wladimir want to continue their reign of the division. They're now vowing to capture all four major belts simultaneously.

American fight fans may not like their systematic, usually un-bloodied style -- Vitali said he stuck with his "Plan A" to defeat Arreola, sidestepping the challenger's rush and submitting him to combinations led by a jab flexed from a 78-inch reach -- but, like Vitali said, "I don't want to prove my head is strong in a fight by getting hit; I want to use my head to win. I'm sorry it's not as spectacular as a knockout."

Vitali's manager, Shelly Finkel, said afterward that he'll explore a December or January bout in Europe for his fighter against a member of the WBC top 10, possibly Oleg Maskaev, who attended Saturday's match.

Finkel admits his fighter's dominance makes it tough to attract a large audience drawn to a compelling matchup. Staples fell more than 5,000 tickets short of a sellout. The next best option is to fight overseas, where large crowds flock to the Klitschkos regardless of their foes.

"Who do you have?" Finkel asked. "There's not that much to choose from."

Arreola paid sufficient respect to the champion. "He counteracted everything I had," Arreola said.

All the beaten challenger could do was pledge to return better, and fitter.

"No more Coronas," announced Arreola, his swollen eyes finding the nearly unblemished champion. "What do you drink, Vitali?"

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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