Boxing


'Call Em Out Fridays': Chris Arreola - Is The 'Nightmare' Another Bad Reality Waiting To Happen?

By Vivek Wallace: In this weeks 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment we take a look at one of America's few rising stars amongst the heavyweight ranks. In an era of the sport where the once prestiged division is no longer dominated by Americans, we take a deeper glimpse at a man whom many believe has the best chance to become relevant amongst them..

Chris ArreolaDespite the glimpses of greatness that we often see from him, there are also a few hints that lead some to believe this offering may result in more smoke than fire. In an effort to find out the real deal, like any other of my weekly 'Call Outs', we'll analyze the 'Supportive' perspective, the 'Critics perspective, and to keep it fair and balanced, a more 'Neutral' perspective as well. So with no further ado, we lower the microscope directly above Mr. Chris Arreola....

Chris Arreola - (Supportive Perspective): In a recent conversation with an American boxing icon - (who wishes to remain anonymous) - I asked the question, "why is it that Americans have failed to deliver on the heavyweight platform"? His response was that "after the Ali era, Mike Tyson ushered in a new era that made American fight fans more eager to pay and see typical left-hookers who could end the show in a round or two, and despite the rush we got from seeing that, no one has stopped to realize that that blueprint hasn't worked for anyone ever since Mike Tyson". When you think of the David Tua's, and a countless amount of others that attempted to duplicate that style, few have possessed the overall tools needed to do so, and he's actually right, none of them hit pay dirt. After pointing out that trend, this same individual stated that of all the potential candidates out there on the heavyweight scene, there's one that seems to have the goods to pull that off. That person he referred to, none other than Chris Arreola. The more you analyze the short history of Arreola, the easier it is to fall into that belief. 22 KO's in 25 fights, has spent significant time sparring with everyone from Klitshcko, to James Toney, and perhaps the biggest plus to this candidate of them all, he stands 6'4", which nearly puts him eye to eye with the current champs, which is something recent American contenders haven't had going for them. He's been boxing since the age of 8, and the fact that he has an amateur background that spans more than 200 fights is a valued asset that few possess. There are many reasons to look at him and ponder how far he may go in the sport, and his sheer ability and brute strength find a way to answer that question every time he enters the ring. Now, of course we know nothing in life is perfect, and despite his blemish-free record, categorically, Arreola isn't either. As we attempt to take a look at this figure from all angles, that mere 'truth' will now set the stage for the 'critics' view on Mr. Arreola......

Chris Arreola - (Critics Perspective): Off all the great things we can say about Chris, there's equal as many that his critics can parallel. For starters, it's common knowledge that he's been fighting since age 8, and that he's currently said to be in the weight range of a solid 235 or so, however, when we dig a little deeper, the rest of those stories suddenly creep out. Many heavyweights today have found a way to eat themselves right out of a career, and judging by Arreola's past history, this issue remains at the forefront of his profile as well. As recent as 2 months ago, Chris entered the ring weighing as much as 258 pounds, and despite the early KO victory, his performance was far from inspiring and he left much to be desired, as he also criticized his own performance. That same lack of focus that allowed him to slip in discipline basically is what was responsible for the delay in his progress professionally to this point. During his amateur career, (for reasons he would personally term as "lost interest"), he took off what amounted to a collective four years away from the sport. Even in his return he cited the "potential to make big money" as his sole motivating factor. This focal issue, paired with the fact that he has never fought beyond 8 rounds at any point in his professional career leads many to wonder "how much longer can he continue to motivate himself enough to compete at this level"?, and if the going gets tough and he actually loses, "will he have enough heart to continue"? At some point, all of these questions will be answered, but as it stands now, many would have to openly concede that his critics have some very solid points.

Chris Arreola - (Neutral Perspective): When it all boils down, I think both supporters and critics of Arreola have very solid points, and the only one that can provide us with the answers is Chris Arreola himself, and time. I don't think anyone can really factor the whole issue of him not going beyond 8 rounds as a legitimate issue because Kelly Pavlik was in the same realm, (only beyond 9 rds once in 26 fights) before falling to a man who I think would have defeated him with or without the extra experience in Bernard Hopkins. Like Pavlik, Arreola's power is an ex-factor that will allow him to stand a punchers chance no matter who he's in against, and until he faces someone with a huge amount of experience (which the heavyweight division doesn't really have), he has to be considered a formidable foe. This same punchers chance allowed him to return to action after a near 4yr layoff as an amatuer and still win a Golden Gloves Championship on only 3 months of training, so not only is it deft, but it's in full effect. I think the true question about Arreola is whether or not he can avoid the 'silk pajamas' trap that so many other fighters encounter after they reach a certain comfort zone, earning the type of money they desperately desire? Failing to train properly may still work against the cupcakes of the division, but those days of challenging the weak are quickly vanishing as he moves up the ranks. I think we all have to respect his upside and see it for what it is, but it's hard to ignore his downside as well. They say that the 'power' is the last thing to go, but when the chicken wings on a fighters plate are amongst the first, that power can quickly become irrelevant. Saturday night, Arreola will once again have the opportunity to win a few more votes and perhaps dispel a few more rumors. I don't know how focused he is this time around, but hit or miss, whether he likes it or not, the spotlights on him and it's time to deliver. Hope he has the mail! Stay tuned.

(Got questions or Feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, or show some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved).

Article posted on 28.11.2008



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