Coming into his fight with Chris Arreola, Bermane Stiverne said he would chop off his opponents head.
Stiverne (23-1, 20 KOs), might not have beheaded Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs) Saturday night, but he did more than enough to earn a unanimous 12 round decision at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Scores were 117-110 twice and 118-110.
The fight was part of a special HBO Championship Boxing tripleheader.
The contest turned in round three when Stiverne tagged Arreola with a perfect right hand. The punch broke Arreola’s nose and made breathing difficult. The normally aggressive heavyweight fought more cautiously after the knockdown.
Stiverne established his jab in the opening rounds. He caught Arreola on the chin and chest. Arreola, who outweighed
Stiverne by 40 pounds, did well on the inside. He popped Stiverne with a triple jab in round two.
In round three, Stiverne picked up the pace. He lets his hands go with more authority. Two body shots got Arreola’s attention. A huge right hand at the end of the bell caught Arreola coming in. The big man from Riverside went down hard. Arreola pulled himself up at the count of seven.
Arreola still looked wobbly in round four. His nose bled profusely. Stiverne, 33, utilized a sweeping right hand. His jab was like a knife, stabbing Arreola repeatably. His movement was just enough to keep Arreola off balance.
Arreola, 32, finally landed a hard right hand. Stiverne smartly went back to jabbing. He controlled rounds five and six.
Stiverne stepped in with a right hand in round seven. Arreola tried to work his own jab. Stiverne was quicker and busier. His jab continued to be his best weapon. Arreola absorbed a wicked body shot in round eight. A hook right also stung Arreola.
The Haiti-born Stiverne, 34, continued to box beautifully in round nine. Arreola began to rally in the middle of the stanza. His money punch found Stiverne’s chin. His left caught Stiverne cleanly.
In round ten, Stiverne invested in some more bodywork. Arreola landed a chopping right. His face was a bloody mess. Stiverne worked off his jab in round eleven.
The first minute of last round resembled a bar fight. Arreola, told by his corner that he was behind on the scorecards, landed a good combination. Stivene countered back with a left. Arreola missed with a big right. Stiverne landed two vicious left hooks that punctuated the night.
Scores were 117-110, 117-110 and 118-110
“I wanted to show everyone I could work behind my jab,” said the victorious Stiverne in the ring after the bout.
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: firstname.lastname@example.org