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Cris Arreola impresses at Home Depot Center

Slimmed-down Riverside heavyweight wins a third-round TKO on the Andre Ward-Arthur Abraham undercard.

May 15, 2011|By Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer

Cris Arreola has removed himself from the downtime and food and drinking binges that were stopping him from winning his biggest fights, including the world heavyweight championship two years ago.

Saturday, raising his arms at the Home Depot Center in a post-fight victory display that cried, "How do you like me now?" the newly slimmed Riverside heavyweight produced a convincing third-round technical knockout of New York's Nagy Aguilera.

"I feel like speed kills now; pressure and speed," Arreola said.

Those words couldn't have been said a few years ago, with Arreola routinely weighing in at more than 250 pounds. But the 30-year-old has dedicated himself to fitness as never before, weighing in for this bout at 234 pounds and displaying the strength and endurance to shorten Saturday's fight to less than nine minutes.

Arreola (31-2, 27 knockouts) immediately backed Aguilera (16-6) to the ropes and a big right in the first round forced Aguilera back to his corner post.

The barrage continued in the second round, but Arreola backed off for the second half, with his wife yelling at ringside, "What are you doing?" with some colorful other words inserted.

"I wasn't tired," Arreola insisted afterward. "I was surprised the ref didn't stop it sooner, so I pulled off it a little bit."

Aguilera's minimal rally during the break meant little after a brutal third, in which Arreola repeatedly unloaded his trademark rights. Aguilera first attempted to hug Arreola to stop a fierce assault, but Arreola's pressure was relentless this time and referee Raul Caiz Jr. stepped in at the 1:58 mark to stop the fight.

Arreola walked to the corner where his wife and daughter sat and blew them a kiss, raising his right fist to an impressed crowd.

"It's only my second fight back since being serious," Arreola said. "I'll be back in the gym, back to work on Tuesday."

Arreola said he plans to fight again soon, "two, three months," now that he's been rewarded by his new attention to diet.

In other undercard fights on the Andre Ward-Arthur Abraham "Super Six" super-middleweight semifinal that was underway at press time, two 2008 U.S. Olympians claimed victories.

Shawn Estrada, a 2008 U.S. Olympian from East Los Angeles, maintained his impressive run of stoppages by knocking out Rhode Island's Joseph Gardner with a wicked left that caused Gardner's nose to bleed profusely while referee Jerry Cantu barked, "It's over!" at the 1:27 mark of the first round.

Middleweight Estrada improved to 12-0, 11 KOs.

Javier Molina of Commerce, his former Olympic teammate, improved to 6-0 with a unanimous decision over Minnesota's Danny Figueroa in a junior-middleweight bout.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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