Klitschko stops Arreola, retains title

LOS ANGELES – Vitali Klitschko nearly matched Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s perfection of a week earlier, keeping a hard jab in Cris Arreola’s face and stopping him at the end of the 10th round in their bout Saturday for the World Boxing Council heavyweight title at the Staples Center.

Klitschko bloodied Arreola’s face early, had his eyes swelling shut by the midpoint and delivered a frightful beating. Arreola, who seemed to be favoring his left hand from about the fifth round, could never land one of his patented power shots to pull off his dream.

Arreola’s trainer Henry Ramirez wouldn’t let his man head back out for the 11th round against the 250-pound giant.

“He was taking too much punishment,” Ramirez said. “When I told him I was going to stop the fight, he was irate. It was not an easy decision, but we had discussed it and I had to do it.”

The large crowd was clearly behind Arreola, but Klitschko put on one of his best performances in totally deflating the Southern California native. Klitschko was hardly light on his feet, but he circled, jabbed, raked Arreola with the occasional right hand and generally made life miserable for him.

Klitschko landed 301 of 802 punches, according to CompuBox. Arreola only managed to land 86 of his 331 punches.

Klitschko landed a punishing 53 percent of his power punches (151 of 283). He wasn’t surprised that Arreola kept coming back for more and had gained so much respect for the challenger that he didn’t expect it to be stopped.

“I was surprised he did not come out,” Klitschko said. “This was a hard fight, like I expected. I know I was hurting him a lot, but he has a great, great chin. He’s a tough fighter, but I worked the body.”

Klitschko was well ahead on all three scorecards. He was up 99-91 on the cards of Ken Morita and Anek Hongtongkam and was up 100-89 in the view of Italian judge Guido Cavalieri. Yahoo! Sports had it 99-91 for Klitschko.

Kevin Iole covers boxing and mixed martial arts for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Kevin a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Sunday, Sep 27, 2009