RINGSIDE: Paul Williams vs. Verno Philips
November 30th, Ontario, CA
The new Citizen Bank Arena in Ontario, CA has earned itself many nicknames such as the "The Vault," "The Bank," and "Mini Staples Center." Perhaps it should also consider "Ft. Knocks" given that the all three marquee match-ups in this past Saturday's fight card ended with a knockout.
Middlewieght Shawn Estrada, the Beijing Olympian, had the first knockout of the night when he quickly dispatched of his opponent. It only took 60 seconds and a couple hooks from Estrada for Lawrence Jones to collapse in front of one of the ring posts. Estrada improves to 1-0 via KO and Lawrence Jones (2-2-1 1 KO) from Washington, D.C adds a loss.
The next fight a marquee match-up was a fight between Chris Arreola and Travis Walker. This surprised those at ringside by becoming one of the more dramatic action packed heavyweight encounters of recent memory. In the first round Travis Walker leaped at Arreola using his jab and straight right hand to keep Arreola on the defensive.
Arreola slumped into the ropes and seemed overwhelmed from Walker's energitic assualt. Though Arreola did manage a big counter left hook about a minute into the round. The second round was more of the first Travis Walker landing in punches and keeping Arreola on the ropes. Arreola ventured to ring center and for his efforts was pegged by a straight right hand which forced him to take a knee.
Travis Walker sensing the end was near went back on the assault while Arreola recovered. Unfortunately, Walker let his guard down sufficiently to allow Arreola to counter and drop his hooks which badly hurt Travis Walker. Then, a straight right hand dropped Walker. Travis Walker looked much more hurt than Arreola when it had been Arreola's turn on the canvas.
Walker clinched but ate another hook and slipped to the canvas for a second time. Walker dug deep and somehow survived a round which is a sure contender for round of the year.
Arreola sprung at Walker as soon as the third began. With one left hook he sprawled Walker causing the referee Jack Reiss to halt the action at 13 seconds of round three.
Arreola, from Riverside, CA, perfects his record of 26-0, 23 KOs. He now is the number one contender for the IBF Heavyweight title. Travis Walker, from Tallahassee, FL, drops to 28-2-1, 22 KOs.
In the Main Event Paul Williams continue to demonstrate why he is the most avoided fighter in boxing. His imposing size and dominating reach proved to much for Verno Philips.
The first two rounds saw Verno Philips countering effectively and opening a profusely
bleeding cut over the left eye of Paul Williams. It was ruled the cut was caused by a clash of heads. By the sixth round, Paul Williams was clearly in the lead and opening up opportunities every time he went to the body. The fight ended with Verno Philips on his stool after the end of the eighth round. Paul Williams earned himself the WBO interim 154lb title with the win.
The last time Verno Philips was stopped it was was 20 years ago. Verno Philips acknowledges he is at the end of a great career and hopes to have just two more fights before hanging up the gloves. Verno Philips who turned 39 on the day of the fight dropped to 42-11, 21 KOs with the loss.
In the post-fight press conference, Arreola gave explicative laced comments on the match. Asked what was running through his mind when Walker knocked him down Arreola simply quiped "oh, shoot!" and in describing his opponent repeatedly stated that Walker hit him "pretty mother freaking hard."
Arreola is colorful fighter who could make the Citizen Bank Arena his "home-field" for several fights to come. Arreola though made it clear he wants to fight for the heavyweight title as soon as possible and is even willing to go to Germany to fight either of the Klitschkos.
Paul Williams also gave the media few moments before rushing off to get cosmetic surgery on his eye. While less colorful in his comments he also expressed a desire to seek bigger fights and that he is willing to fight anyone between 147-160 pounds. Most fans would like to see him fight Antonio Margartio. Apparently an offer of four million dollars fell through when Margarito instead agreed to take less money to fight Sugar Shane Mosely in early January.
The Citizen Bank arena is a new venue and still struggling to find a fan base. Parking was surprisingly free for this event. This the inaugural boxing event in this new arena drew a promising 5,400 fans.
Joe Nixon was at ringside for latinboxing.com