By Michael Rosenthal
LOS ANGELES – Chris Arreola, hoping to get one more shot at a heavyweight title, stopped journeyman Maurenzo Smith at the end of the sixth round on the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury card Saturday at Staples Center.
Arreola hadn’t fought since he challenged for Wilder’s WBC belt and was knocked out in eight rounds in July 2016, Arreola’s third failed attempt to win a major title. Smith, a little-known fighter from Houston, was the perfect opponent to get Arreola back in the win column.
Arreola (37-5-1, 32 knockouts) pounded away at the resilient but limited Texan from beginning to end, landing his biggest blows in the final round. Smith (20-11-4, 13 KOs) had taken enough punishment at that point and remained on his stool.
Arreola, 37, said before the fight that he’d retire if he lost.
He had lost previous title fights to then-WBC beltholder Vitali Klitschko (TKO 10) in 2009 and Bermane Stiverne (TKO 6) for the vacant WBC title in 2014.
The victory on Saturday was Arreola’s first since he outpointed Curtis Harper in March 2015, more than 3½ years ago. He defeated Travis Kauffman by a split decision in December 2015 but the fight was later declared a no-decision when Arreola failed a drug test.
Also on the undercard, a battle of unbeatens saw Carlos Licona (14-0, 2 KOs) win a twelve round split decision over 2012 Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1 KO) to capture the vacant IBF minimumweight title. The scores were 115-113 for Barriga, and 115-113, 115-113 for Licona.