By Keith Idec
McWilliams Arroyo’s return trip to The Forum went much better than his first fight there.
The former Olympian from Puerto Rico upset Carlos Cuadras in their 10-round, 115-pound fight Saturday night in Inglewood, California. In his first fight in the nearly two years since Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez easily beat him at The Forum, Arroyo out-boxed Cuadras to produce the biggest win of his career, a majority decision in the second of three bouts HBO televised.
Two judges – Tony Crebs (97-93) and Pat Russell (98-92) – scored the back-and-forth fight for Arroyo (17-3, 14 KOs). A third judge, Fernando Villarreal, scored Arroyo-Cuadras even (95-95).
Mexico’s Cuadras (36-3-1, 27 KOs), a former WBC super flyweight champ, lost in his first fight since suffering a debatable decision defeat to Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada on September 9 in Carson, California. That narrow win earned Estrada a shot at WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in the main event Saturday night.
Cuadras, who fought for the first time with renowned trainer Abel Sanchez in his corner, has now lost three of his past four fights.
Arroyo looked confident and sharp while fighting for the first time since Gonzalez dominated him during their 12-round fight for the then-unbeaten Gonzalez’s WBC flyweight title in April 2016. The 32-year-old Arroyo had much more success Saturday night than he did against Gonzalez.
Sanchez told Cuadras before the 10th and final round started that he needed to win those final three minutes to take the fight.
Arroyo attacked Cuadras at the beginning of that 10th round. He remained relaxed and let his hands go throughout that final round, which he seemed to win.
An aggressive Arroyo took it to Cudras at the start of the eighth round and affected Cuadras by landing multiple right hands. Cuadras responded by stinging Arroyo with a left hook.
Arroyo sustained a cut around his right eye during the seventh round. Earlier in the seventh, Arroyo landed a clean right hand that appeared to buckle Cuadras’ legs.
Arroyo clipped Cuadras with a right hand that stopped Cuadras in his tracks with 35 seconds to go in the fifth round. Earlier in the fifth, Cuadras drilled Arroyo with a flush left hook that Arroyo took well.
Cuadras caught Arroyo with an overhand right to the side of Arroyo’s head that buckled his legs and made him hold as they neared the 30-second mark of the second round. Before that point, Arroyo had controlled the action in much of the first two rounds.
In the first round, Arroyo buzzed Cuadras with a right hand to the side of his head and followed it up with a short left hook.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.