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Arreola’s TKO loss diminishes promoter Goossen’s star power

Cristobal Arreola hits the deck against Bermane Stiverne.
Cristobal Arreola hits the deck against Bermane Stiverne.
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Cristobal Arreola’s days as a heavyweight contender may have ended Saturday when Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1) stopped him in the sixth round of their bout in Los Angeles for the vacant WBC heavyweight title.

Stiverne, who had upset Arreola (36-4) in April 2013, flooring him in the third round en route, won the title vacated by Vitali Klitschko as he concentrates on political leadership in Ukraine, and the victory positioned Stiverne for a showdown with Klitschko’s brother, Wladimir, who holds the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles. Wladimir had said he wanted to take on the winner and unify the title.

Stiverne looked eminently beatable in the first five rounds of his rematch with Arreola but knocked him down twice in the sixth before referee Jack Reiss stopped the bout at USC’s Galen Center.

The demise of Arreola further erodes the empire of promoter Dan Goossen, who was visible at ringside during the ESPN telecast.

Goossen was still welterweight/middleweight star Paul Williams’ promoter when the lanky left-hander was paralyzed in a 2012 motorcycle accident. And Goossen barely retains control of Andre Ward, who has been stymied by the California boxing commission rulings in his efforts to part ways with Goossen.

Ward wants a promoter who can engineer paydays commensurate with his standing as the No. 2 fighter in the world pound-for-pound.

But he also wants scrupulous behavior in his midst, and he feels Goossen has violated trust by declining to include Antonio Leonard in recent negotiations on Ward’s behalf.

Leonard’s presence has been visible throughout Ward’s ascendance to his current elite level since the spring of 2009 (and thus visible on the SF Boxing Examiner’s page). Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated filed a detailed account of the Goossen-Leonard situation last week.

When Goossen, 61, announced Leonard’s role in Ward’s affairs five years ago, it appeared he was grooming a successor. Goossen’s enterprise blossomed in the 1980s when Michael Nunn was a superstar client, and the 1990s, when the Ruelas brothers were stars, but the current decade once loomed as Goossen’s best yet and he seemed poised to go out on top around, say, 2020.

Goossen’s enthusiasm doesn’t seem to have flagged much in those five years. The same can’t be said of his enterprise.

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