Richard Quiñones (Journeymen Boxing) Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola was knocked down early, but recovered to outpoint friend and old sparring partner Travis Kauffman Saturday night at the A T & T Center in San Antonio, Texas in a 12-round affair.
Arreola (37-4-1, 31ko’s) has now won two of three but this once could have went either way for the 34-year-old and he showed some guts after suffering an early knockdown en route to the split-decision win.
The judges saw it for Arreola by scores of 114-113 twice, while the third judge had it 114-113 for Kauffman during an exciting bout.
Kauffman (30-2, 22ko’s) pushed the pace hard from the get on, and never let up against his old sparing partner and friend.
Arreola, who came into this fight at around 236 — his lightest in years — won the first two rounds, but it was the 30-year-old Kauffman who scored a brilliant knockdown in the third round. The Reading, PA native went to the body, and then continued to connect with sharp punches upstairs where he floored Arreola. Kauffman had a unique game plane, switching to southpaw, showed some serious power in his shots.
“I thought I had it won,” Arreola said after the bout. “I won the last four rounds. I put the work in. I knew I had to win. The last four rounds, I put in more work then he did, that’s what got me the win.”
The two would exchange shots over the next several rounds, and the action again heated up in the ninth round, when Kauffman caught Arreola with a low blow, resulting in a time-out. The rest appeared to help Arreola, who caught his breath and came out strong for the 10th and 11th round, clearly outworking Kauffman.
The 12th round was action-packed and both fighters went at it with Kauffman stunning Arreola again, but this time he did not go down.
Kauffman suffered just the second loss of his career and thought he had clearly won the bout.
“I was very surprised [by the decision],” Kauffman said. “If you hear it, the crowd is chanting for me, not Chris Arreola. I won over the whole Mexican crowd. He’s a Mexican fighter and I won over the whole crowd. I love Chris like a brother but I won the fight.”