Thursday, July 14, 2016

Preview & Prediction: Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola: Last Chance Arena For Arreola

By Peter Silkov

There is nothing that boxing fans love more than a true blue, slam-bang, fists flying, heavyweight brawl.  Yes, boxing is the sweet science and some boxing followers still appreciate that side of the sport. But, even those who can appreciate the finer techniques and nuances of the sport, and we seem to be a dying breed, there is still a fascination with boxing at its rawest and most brutal.  A fight such as this may be about to break out this Saturday, July 16th, at The Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, when Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35koes) defends his WBC world heavyweight title against Chris Arreola (36-4-1, 31koes.)

This will be Wilder’s 4th defence of his WBC title since he won it on January 17, 2015, with a point’s win over Bermane Stiverne.  Whatever you say about Wilder, he can’t be accused of being inactive.  The problem with Wilder has been the standard of his opposition.  His rise up to the WBC title was paved with the senseless bodies of no-hopers and a couple of has-beens, and since beating a strangely subdued Stiverne for the title, Wilder’s opposition has hardly improved.  Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupass, and Artur Szpilka all entered the ring against Wilder with winning records, but each one was limited, and inexperienced at world level.  Wilder was set to defend his title against the number one contender, Alexander Povetkin, and the strong, durable, and experienced Russian is regarded as a genuine test for the champion.  Unfortunately, this fight fell through when Povetkin allegedly tested positive for meldonium, something that the Russian now has been cleared of by WADA.

With Povetkin out of the picture, Wilder needed a replacement to defend his title against, and that replacement has turned out to be Chris ’The Nightmare’ Arreola.

At first glance this looks like being a genuinely good fight, pitting two big punchers together for a match, which could go either way.  Arreola is one of the division’s higher profile names, due to his colourful personality outside of the ring, and his exciting gung-ho fighting style inside of it. The problem with Arreola is that quite often he has been too colourful for his own good.  He has become almost as well known for his love of junk food, as for his efforts inside the ring, and while he always give s 100% during his fights, it has often been a different story when it comes to his training.

Arreola has already challenged for the world title twice in his career. In his first title shot on September 26, 2009, Arreola challenged Vitali Klitschko for the WBC title, and found himself totally out-boxed and out-classed, before being stopped in the 10th round.  Arreola’s other world title try came on May 10, 2014, when he faced Bermane Stiverne for the vacant WBC title, and was stopped in the 6th round, after making a good start.

In what is his 3rd attempt to win a World heavyweight title, Arreola is aware that he needs to make it third time lucky, as even in today’s era of multiple championships, there may well be no 4th chance.

Arreola fights just one way, he is a straightforward, come-forward brawler with a solid chin, and a decent punch. The only way he can win is to try and rough up Wilder and land something potent upon Wilder's questionable chin. Wilder has been visibly shaken on the few times that he has been tagged on his jaw, but he has never been caught square enough or often enough by a fighter with Arreola’s strength and power.

This may well be the fight that goes some way to telling us just how durable Wilder really is, if Arreola managed to land one of his heavy swings upon Wilder’s chin.

One of the questions about Arreola is how much he has left at the age of 35 and a number of brutal ring wars behind him?  In his three fights since being stopped in 6 rounds by Bermane Stiverne, Arreola has been distinctly unimpressive.  He out-pointed Curtis Harper over 8 rounds, was held to a 10 rounds draw by Fred Kassi, and then laboured to a controversial 12-round decision win over Travis Kauffman (Which was then reversed to a no-contest, after Arreola tested positive for marijuana.)

Were Arreola’s less than impressive performances due to a lack of motivation or a sign of age and ring wear?

All the signs are that Arreola is not the same force that he was a couple of years ago.

This is a fight, which is not likely to go many rounds, and will be entertaining while it lasts.  Arreola will come to fight as always, and Wilder, with his reach advantage and natural punching power, will look to out-box ’The Nightmare’ early, before dispatching him with one of his bombs before the middle rounds have been reached.

It is ironic that this fight is taking place at The Legacy Arena, as both fighters are seeking to add to their legacies.  Wilder is looking to build on his credibility and show that he is on track to a possible showdown with Tyson Fury, who is considered by most to be the ’real’ Heavyweight champion of the world.  Arreola on the other hand, is looking to finally fulfill his dream of winning a World heavyweight title, after an exciting up and down career, that has sometimes promised more than it has delivered.

Wilder also has the added pressure of fighting in front of his home Alabama fans, so he will be especially eager to deliver in this fight. 

Arreola’s best chance of victory is to jump onto the champion early, and try and get through to that questionable Wilder chin. The problem with this strategy is that it leaves Arreola open to Wilder’s dangerous counter punches.

‘The Nightmare’ is sure to leave it all in the ring again on Saturday night, but the champion Wilder, despite his shortcomings, looks to be just too young, awkward and powerful for the shop-worn Arreola.  Look out for a Wilder win within the first 6 rounds.  It’s not likely to be pretty, but it will be entertaining.  

Fighthub: Complete Faceoff:

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