How come nobody wants to kiss me? Waahhh!

Aftermath: With Arreola, Chavez Jr., Alexander-Bradley, & Manny Pacquiao

*****

There is nothing like a quickie KO over a gurneyman from Coon Rapids, Minnesota, to get a mediocre club fighter celebrating as if he had just won the Powerball lottery. Chris Arreola scored a predictable first-round whack-out over Joey Abell in the poor excuse for a main event on Friday Night Fights. Abell, whose skill-level can be roughly determined by the fact that he has been handled by the notorious Don Elbaum, smacked Arreola, 30-2, with a couple of one-twos out of his southpaw stance before taking a whiplash straight right that left him doing the Texas two-step. A few clubbing shots later, referee Tommy Krebs dove in like a life guard into the breakers to halt the contest. Arreola, who at least is fighting where he belongs now—ESPN2—kissed Abell on the cheek just before Krebs waved the mismatch over. What a shame he never got the chance to be so amorous with Vitali Klitschko or Tomasz Adamek. Abell, whose limited ability should not be used as an excuse for that kind of degradation, falls to 27-5. Arreola, who grabbed the microphone after the fight to assail “haters” in his best WWE imitation, remains one of the biggest, literally, annoyances in boxing.

Bark-tough Josesito Lopez stopped herky-jerky Mike Dallas Jr. on the undercard of the Arreola-Abell farce on ESPN2. No amount of prospect-mongering can make Dallas, now 17-1-1, anything more than he is: a skittish junk-artist who flinches when the heat is turned up. Neither fighter will win any awards for marksmanship, and over the first few rounds few clean blows were landed. Wrestling, on the other hand, was in full-effect. It was a sloppy affair until Lopez mercifully ended matters in the seventh. A couple of lefts staggered Dallas and sent him stumbling, rubbery-legged, into the ropes, and a follow-up flurry convinced referee Raul Caiz Jr. to halt the contest. Perhaps Caiz simply got tired of seeing Dallas act less like a prizefighter and more like a Krump dancer. Dallas rushed forward with arms stretched out for embraces, landed dozens of rabbit punches, turned his back from time to time during the action, covered his head with his gloves like a man trying to ward off a hailstorm, and dropped onto his knees three or four times without having been hit. Once, Dallas went sailing to the canvas after hurling a UFO that missed by a light year. Lopez, 29-3, suffered two cuts early but marched on stoically. Earnest and willing, Lopez is a competent journeyman whose opposition is nearly equal to that of some of the big moneymakers on HBO.

Another Minnesota circuit fighter, John Schmidt, played crash test dummy during the ESPN2 swing bout, a woeful first-round KO at the hands of “prospect” Shawn Estrada. Schmidt, 10-2-0-1, looked like he had just emerged from a bonfire party beneath an L.A. underpass. He fought like it, too. Before long his limbs were akimbo in that spastic way so common to fakeloos who should not be passed by commissions for high-profile bouts, and, three knockdowns later, Schmidt was ready for the smelling salts. Estrada, 11-0, proves nothing by pole-axing such a sad specimen. Try not to let the experts fool you concerning his, err, explosive performance.

*****

Fright Night Club alumnus Charles Huerta proved he is not ready for prime time by dropping a split-decision over eight to pesky but raw Raul Hirales Jr. at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in San Diego. It was a surprise loss for a Golden Boy fighter, since GBP nearly always matches its charges in squash matches on its FSN and Telefutura cards. True, Hirales would be hard pressed to pass the height requirement for a rollercoaster ride, but he answered the opening bell with the confidence of a man who has held his own in more than one cantina free-for-all in Baja California. Unfortunately, he was gasping by the second round, and all Huerta had to do to keep things close was hang around and punch back occasionally. Hirales also lost a point for low blows in the fifth round. Huerta looked flat and unfocused throughout. At times, he closed his eyes to throw combinations and let Hirales take the play away from him with pitty-pat shots that included dozens of mini-uppercuts on the inside. Huerta, who slips to 16-2, is a competent fighter, but does nothing particularly well, and will likely come up short again the next time he is matched against someone with a pulse. Given the fact that he was still fighting in six-rounders in his 15th pro fight, GBP probably feels the same way. Hirales, now 12-0-1, worked hard for the nod and earned it.

Gary Russell Jr. used Feider Viloria as a welcome mat before a cut put an end to the one-sided beating in the seventh of a scheduled eight as chief support for the Hirales-Huerta bout. Viloria, 23-8-1, suffered a gaping wound above his right eye after knocking heads with Russell Jr. Amazingly, referee Jerry Cantu did not call an end to the fight immediately, but waved in the ringside physician to see if Viloria might have an opportunity to suffer further abuse. Russell Jr,. who scored a knockdown in the sixth round, dominated from the opening bell, using his fast hands to lead and counter Viloria into a stupor. It looks like Russell Jr., 14-0, can fight, but who can tell when guys like Viloria come hobbling out of the opposite corner?

*****

Now that Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley showed what an American “superfight” is all about in Pontiac, Michigan, is it any wonder people prefer to watch Manny Pacquiao? Even if he fights opponents thought to be shot or over the hill? Pacquiao is not perfect, nor are his decisions beyond reproach, but the man puts the “action” into what is, after all, meant to be an action sport. As Bob Wojnowski wrote in the Detroit Press about Bradley-Alexander: “Give the boxers credit for their ability and their courage. But there was no sense of the need to entertain.” Although Bradley forced the fight, Alexander sought to clinch more often than not, and the poor style matchup made for dull viewing. Exciting fighters are the ones who need to be rewarded in boxing, and Bradley-Alexander featured only one fighter looking to take a risk and make some noise.

*****

While Bradley and Alexander fought before a phony crowd as boisterous as a trompe l’oeil, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. performed in front of thousands of his raucous countrymen in Culiacan, Mexico. He also drew his share of boos from a hardened audience still looking for Junior to resemble his father. Fat chance. Trust fund wastrel or not, Chavez Jr. is almost always a sure bet for action and when he took on rugged Billy Lyell, 22-9, in the main event of a Top Rank Live broadcast, he proved once again that he may be lazy outside of the ring, but he makes up for it by being just as lazy inside of it. This makes for two-way action against fighters with limited skills. Chavez Jr. has talent but almost never applies it consistently during a bout. Lyell, best known for handing John Duddy his first loss, is a rudimentary journeyman who sometimes turns cutie in the ring. This lead to Chavez Jr. walking into several sucker rights throughout the fight. But Chavez Jr. dominated most of the fight with combinations and hard hooks to the body. Lyell, who fought hard throughout, did well to last the distance. Chavez Jr., 42-0-1, is scheduled to face Sebastian Zbik for some sort of ABC title or other. He will need to work twice as hard as he usually does to make sure sucker rights are not the only things he gets hit with by Zbik.

*****

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Tags: Charles Huerta Chris Arreola Devon Alexander Joey Abell Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Manny Pacquiao TIM BRADLEY Timothy Bradley

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