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McJoe Arroyo beats Arthur Villanueva for IBF belt

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McJoe Arroyo won his first world title tonight, but didn't do so in very fan friendly fashion.

Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

McJoe Arroyo wasn't exactly sensational, but neither was opponent Arthur Villanueva. In fact, the most fantastic performance in the ring probably belonged to referee Rafael Ramos, who inserted himself early and often.

In the end, an awkward style matchup made for a lack of action, a southpaw-righty matchup made for a lot of head clashes, and a new IBF super flyweight titleholder was crowned, with Arroyo beating Villanueva via technical decision in nine-plus rounds, the fight stopped due to a deepening cut on Villanueva's brow.

Arroyo (17-0, 8 KO) got the nod on scores of 97-92, 98-91, and 98-91 in a fight that seemed plenty closer than that, but was also hard to score in just about every round. BLH had it 95-94 for Villanueva, but with no real confidence in that tally, either. This was a fight where Villanueva was ineffectively busier, while Arroyo was arguably slightly more effective, not that it it took a lot, but with far less output.

Villanueva (27-1, 14 KO) was docked a point in round six for headbutts, but the butt that caused the cut that eventually stopped the fight came from Arroyo, and that one was ruled unintentional.

To put it simply, this was a lousy fight that fell well below expectations. Both guys have been in some good fights and are quality operators, but the styles just did not mesh in this one, and it was bowling shoe ugly throughout. Arroyo gets the win, Villanueva takes the loss, and there will be better nights for both to come.