- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Chris Arreola stopped Jameel McCline in the fourth round Saturday night, passing the biggest test in the top American heavyweight prospect’s unbeaten career.

Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs), the 28-year-old brawler hoping to become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican heritage, finished impressively against his most accomplished opponent to date on the undercard of Winky Wright’s middleweight bout with Paul Williams.

McCline, a 38-year-old veteran who has fought for four heavyweight titles, crumpled to the canvas after taking two big right hands to the head midway through the fourth. Although he raised himself to one knee, McCline (39-10-3) couldn’t stand before referee Tony Weeks finished his 10-count at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

“I took good punches, and I gave some good punches,” Arreola said. “I want to fight the best. I want to convince the fans that I can fight the best, but in order to fight the best, I have to fight who’s currently best, and I believe Jameel McCline is.”

Arreola is widely admired for his punching power and mean streak, but he also has been dogged by concerns about his dedication and conditioning. He weighed in for this fight at a paunchy 255 pounds on his heavily tattooed frame, but he moved plenty well enough to handle McCline, who also carried plenty of superfluous weight on his 6-foot-6 frame.

“He beat me. Is he blazing? No, but he beat me,” said McCline, who has lost four of his last five fights. “What right do I have to say he isn’t blazing?”

Arreola has called out the division’s biggest names, including both Klitschko brothers, and he could soon work his way into a mandatory title shot.

Shawn Estrada, the East Los Angeles super middleweight who fought at the Beijing Olympics, remained perfect in four fights as a pro with a third-round stoppage of Omar Coffi. Although pushed past the first round for the first time, Estrada got three knockdowns before Coffi’s corner stopped the fight.

Danny Garcia, a 140-pound Golden Boy prospect, also improved to 12-0 with a one-sided decision over Humberto Tapia.

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