It took Luis Nunez nearly 10 full rounds Friday night, but he got the knockout he sought against Carlos Arrieta in their televised main event.
The Dominican featherweight prospect hurt Arrieta badly with a right hand and stopped his game Puerto Rican opponent with 1:19 to go in their 10-round, 130-pound fight at Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. Showtime aired Nunez’s knockout as the headliner of a three-bout “ShoBox: The New Generation” telecast.
Nunez, who improved to 16-0 and recorded his 12th knockout, was ahead on two scorecards entering the 10th round (88-83, 87-84 and 84-87). He also dealt the previously untested Arrieta his first professional defeat (14-1, 8 KOs).
Only two of Arrieta’s prior opponents had winning records. He also arrived in Orlando overweight this week, which caused promoters of the event to increase the contracted weight limit for this main event from 126 to 130 pounds.
Nunez was well on his way to a points victory when he blasted Arrieta with a right hand that wobbled Arrieta with 1:55 to go in 10th round. Aware Arrieta was badly hurt, Nunez attacked his vulnerable opponent and unloaded an array of power punches that made Arrieta slump into the ropes.
Referee Frank Gentile stepped between them to protect Arrieta, who wasn’t returning punches, and halted the action at 1:41 of the final round.
Gentile warned Arrieta for holding in the opening minute of the ninth round. He later told Arrieta he was going to take a point for holding.
Nunez caught Arrieta with a chopping right hand about 1:20 into the ninth round. He also connected with a right hand and a left hook just before the ninth round concluded.
Nunez cracked Arrieta with a right hand about a minute into the eighth round. Nunez knocked Arrieta with a right hand with just over a minute to go in the eighth round.
Nunez connected with multiple right hands with just over two minutes on the clock in the seventh round, yet Arrieta pressed forward. Arrieta showed signs of fatigue in the seventh round, though he kept countering Nunez’s punches.
Nunez landed an eye-catching right-left combination toward the end of the seventh round.
Nunez drilled Arrieta with a right hand that made Arrieta clinch 40 seconds into the sixth round. An overhand right by Nunez landed approximately 1:15 into the sixth round.
A left hook by Nunez made Arrieta reset his feet about 30 seconds into the fifth round, but Arrieta quickly landed a left hook of his own. Nunez’s straight right hand backed up Arrieta approximately a minute into the fifth round.
Nunez caught Arrieta with a left hook and then a right hand with just over a minute on the clock in the fifth round. Nunez caught Arrieta with another flush right hand just before the fifth round ended.
Gentile warned Nunez after he pushed Arrieta down to the canvas about 40 seconds into the fourth round. By then, swelling was evident underneath Arrieta’s left eye.
Nunez landed a chopping right hand with just under a minute remaining in what was a competitive fourth round.
A left hook by Nunez landed flush just after the midway mark of the third round. Arrieta took that shot well and kept throwing punches for the rest of the third round.
Nunez laned a right uppercut about 45 seconds into the second round, but Arrieta fired back with two left hooks up top and a right to the body. Arrieta attacked Nunez’s body barely a minute into the second round.
Nunez snuck another right uppercut between Arrieta’s guard with approximately 55 seconds to go in the second round. Arrieta continued to trade with Nunez for the remainder of the second round.
Nunez nailed Arrieta with a left hook 1:15 into the first round. He caught Arrieta with a left to the body that made Arrieta hold him just before the midway mark of the opening round as well.
Nunez later landed an overhand right with 30 seconds to go in the first round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.