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Ringside For ESPN2 Friday Night Fights:
Arreola vs. Abell

By Dave Wilcox
Photos: William Trillo


Former Heavyweight title challenger, Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola from Riverside , California (30-2, 26 KO) looked to get back into the title picture on Friday night at The Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California for this week’s addition of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. Standing in his way was Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell from Coon Rapids, Minnesota. (27-5, 26 KO)

The 29 year old Arreola’s eating habits have been chronicled as much lately as his ability inside the ring. So when he tipped the scales on Thursday at a cool 249.6 pounds, he gave us hope yet again that maybe finally he is taking his craft seriously. This would be the lightest “The Nightmare” has weighed since his coming out party in 2008 when he beat Chazz Witherspoon in three rounds Memphis, Tennessee.

Joey Abell entered the ring as the pro-Arreola crowd was peaking. Since Arreola’s hometown of Riverside, California is less than an hour away, The Pechanga seems like a home game every time he has a bout at what I refer to as the best small Boxing venue in Southern California. The crowd hit a fever pitch as Arreola, donned in his Los Angeles Dodger hat and accompanied by his longtime friend and trainer, Henry Ramirez headed toward the ring. Team Arreola brought some reinforcements with them for this fight with the notable addition of highly decorated and respected trainer Ronnie Shields from Houston to help try and get Arreola back on track in the richly starved Heavyweight Division.

As the bell for round one rang, “The Nightmare” came out fast, winging shots to the body and head as Abell looked for his openings. Abell found a home early for a few straight left hands from his southpaw stance, but all that seemed to do was bring a smirk to Arreola’s face. As Arreola came forward, he just missed with a left hook and then followed with a tremendous right hand that seemed to put Abell’s head on a swivel. Arreola immediately jumped on his dazed opponent and following a succession of left-right combinations, referee, Tony Krebs rushed in to halt the contest at 2:18 of the first round.

One thing I have come accustomed to with Chris Arreola is his inability to show class and he didn’t disappoint Friday night as he kissed Joey Abell on the cheek in a show of disrespect as Tony Krebs jumped in to stop the bout. Don’t you worry, we also were treated to his usual double digit “f-bombs” and various other words you wouldn’t say in front of your grandma.

Unfortunately, that type of image only helps with the promotion of the controversial, but exciting Arreola and I’m sure in this talent starved Heavyweight division, we will soon see “The Nightmare” get another shot at a title belt. Let’s just hope in the meantime he can control the belt around his waist. Coming in at 249 gives us hope, but haven’t we said that before with Chris Arreola?

In the co-main event was what I thought coming in was the most competitive and interesting bout of the night. The NABF Jr. Welterweight title was on the line for this scheduled ten rounder that featured undefeated Mike “The Silent Assassin” Dallas of Bakersfield, California (17-1-1, 7 KO) against the rugged veteran, Josesito Lopez of Riverside, California. (29-3, 17 KO)

Lopez had Arreola trainer, Henry Ramirez in his corner and the crowd was buzzing as these two fighters made their way to the ring. For Dallas, this fight against Lopez represented a huge step up in competition as Lopez has been in many tough wars already in his young career as “The Silent Assassin” has been brought up slowly and carefully.

In round one, it was quite apparent that Lopez wanted to take Dallas to the trenches and make this a rough and tumble affair and he did just that as the fighters stayed in close with a lot of mugging, holding and shoving going on. In fact Lopez took down Mike with tackle that would have made Dick Butkis proud early in the first. The rough style seemed to affect Dallas and he was already being forced to fight Lopez’ fight inside instead of the obvious game plan of boxing and moving. The only thing positive for Mike Dallas in round number one is that a small cut opened over the eye of Josesito that was caused by an accidental head butt.

As round two began, Dallas already seemed confused and off balance as he tried to find an answer to his opponent. At one point Dallas threw a wild left hook that missed and was so off balance and awkward that his momentum sent him flying to the canvas. At the end of the round, Lopez landed a hard left hook that buckled the legs of his young opponent and it seemed to me at this point that it would be a long night for Mr. Dallas.

As the pressure of Lopez mounted in round three, Dallas’ frustration grew and he began to look for any advantage and apparently all he came up with was complaining to the referee Raul Ciaz, Jr. about fouls. Time was called by Ciaz, Jr. early in round three as Dallas complained about being hit in the back. For the remainder of the fight, Dallas complained about one thing or another and focused on allegedly being hit behind the head by Josesito Lopez. As a wise man once said on this topic, if you don’t want to be hit on the back, stop turning away from your opponent and if you don’t want to be hit behind the head, stop ducking down.

Just as it seemed all hope was lost for Mike Dallas, he seemed to calm down and get back to his strengths of keeping his distance and boxing the stronger man in round four. Lopez responded by throwing fewer punches and Dallas was able to seemingly get back in the fight. On my very unofficial card, I gave Dallas his first round.

The thought of Dallas being back in the fight was short lived as Lopez went right back to business in round five and delivered a beating to the young man from Bakersfield. Round six saw Dallas try and get back into it, but the strength and pressure was too much and Dallas began to show strong signs that the end was near as he hit the canvas in the final ten seconds of the round. It was ruled a slip. Whether it was a slip or a push was unclear, but what was clear at this point of the fight is that Mike Dallas was in serious trouble.

Round seven began with another Dallas visit to the canvas by way of Lopez push or if you prefer, tackle. Dallas looked weary and Lopez eyed the end of the fight. Suddenly, a powerful left hook landed flush on the jaw of Mike Dallas and sent “The Silent Assassin” reeling and Lopez quickly followed with a jab and right hand as referee, Raul Ciaz, Jr. rushed in and halted the action before Dallas even hit the canvas at 1:47 of round seven.

On the undercard, former Olympian, Shawn “Manos De Oro” Estrada of East Los Angeles, California (11-0, 10 KO) took on Jon “The Iron Man” Schmidt (10-2, 6KO) in a six round Middleweight bout.

Round one started with Estrada throwing a barrage of punches and a quick left uppercut put Schmidt down. He did get to his feet, only to be introduced to a clubbing right hand that seemed to land to the back of the head for knockdown number two. As “The Iron Man” made it to his feet yet again, Estrada landed another right hand that wobbled the legs of Schmidt and the referee jumped in to halt the contest at 1:48 of the first round.

Coming into this fight, juggernaut Jon Schmidt was allegedly 10-1, I would hate to see the guys he beat. This was obviously yet another soft touch for Shawn Estrada. I like Estrada as a person and a fighter. He does great things for his community and he obviously has great potential in the ring, but I think it’s time for him to step up the level of competition. This type of match up does nothing for the young lion.

A four round Jr. Bantamweight bout scheduled for four rounds was on the bill as undefeated Matt Villanueva of Van Nuys, California, (5-0, 5 KO) took on Jose Luis Cardenas of Santa Ana, California. (5-12-1, 3KO)

Villanueva landed a left hook very early to put Cardenas down. He would follow that with two more knockdowns and following number three the referee called a halt to the bout at :47 of round one.

In a very entertaining four round Jr. Lightweight bout, undefeated Kevin “Hostile” Hoskins of Los Angeles, California (4-0, 3KO) took on what appeared to be a layup bout against Ramon Flores of Wilmington, California. (3-10-2, 3 KO) It was anything but that.

From the start of round one it was apparent that Hoskins was by far the more skilled fighter and Flores seemed tired twenty seconds in as he huffed and puffed with his mouth wide open and a pained look on his face as he struggled to land his wide and awkward shots. Hoskins started fast and threw many punches in the first half of round one but he slowed as the bell rang.

As round two began, Flores continued to throw shots, but now a few were landing and this one was getting fun. Flores was fighting his heart out against the talented Hoskins and on my card Flores won the second round.

In round three it was more of the same as we all waited for Flores to pass out from exhaustion after only two rounds. When Hoskins landed a powerful left uppercut towards the end of round three, it appeared the end might be near for Flores.

As the fourth and final round began and I thought to myself, “am I really having this much fun with a four round fight?” Ramon Flores at this point in the fight had no wind or power left, but what he did have left was more grit and determination from a fighter with his lack of skill that I have seen in quite sometime. In the final round, Hoskins landed the majority of clean shots in what appeared to be a round that would decide the fight.

We went to the scorecards. One judge had it 39-37 for Ramon Flores and the other two both scored 39-37 for the winner by split decision and still undefeated Kevin “Hostile” Hoskins. Yours truly scored the fight even at 38-38. One thing for sure is that Flores is my favorite 3-10 fighter in Boxing.

In a scheduled 6 round Jr. Welterweight bout, Undefeated prospect Joseph Elegele of Melbourne, Florida (10-0, 8 KO) took on another undefeated youngster in Manual Aguilar of Agua Prieta, Mexico. (5-1, 4KO)

Elegele looks very strong at this weight and he proved it quickly early in the first round as he landed a thumping right hand that put Aguilar down and out. Referee Tony Krebs called the action at 2:18 of round one.

Overall, it was yet another fun night of Boxing at The Pechanga Resort and Casino. There is nothing better than a night at the fights.

Keep Punching

*Dave Wilcox serves as the West Coast Coordinator and Correspondent for the Talkin Boxing with Billy C. Radio Show. It is the only Boxing show that runs LIVE five days a week and for two hours a day. The show runs on 38 AM and FM radio dials throughout the US and Canada. You can listen live daily for free from 5:30-7:30 am EST daily by going to www.billycboxing.com or www.talkinboxing.com . You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to any show at your convenience for only $15.00 a YEAR! Go to either website for all show info.


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