Boxing


Chris Arreola, The Biggest Threat To Wladimir Klitschko? Or Will David Haye Get There First?

Chris Arreolaby James Slater - Unbeaten heavyweight slugger Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola moved one step closer to a planned shot at IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko last night, as he got off the floor to stop a game and dangerous Travis Walker just over ten seconds into the 3rd round. Billed as some kind of IBF eliminator, last night's fight, and win, saw to it that the man looked upon as America's best young heavyweight out there retained this reputation, and perhaps even enhanced it.

Make no mistake, though he was guilty once more of coming into a fight, this one a very important one, while at least 20 pounds overweight, Arreola is the real thing. Deceptively accurate, hardworking and comfortable in the ring, with a good chin also, the 27-year-old poses a threat to the man he is chasing in "Dr. Steel Hammer." Indeed, David Haye aside, who would you rather see the younger Klitschko defend his belt against once he has seen off last chance saloon visitor Hasim Rahman next month?

Sorry to bring up Haye (after all, this is Arreola's article and the glory he earned last night is his and his alone), but in today's heavyweight picture it's hard not to mention "The Hayemaker." These two heavyweight contenders are not only the two best young heavies out there (in the eyes of many), they are also the most exciting. An article right here on ESB has already commented upon how much of a natural pairing an Arreola-Haye clash would be, and it sure would. But I'll be surprised if the two men's paths cross. Both guys want Wladimir Klitschko (Haye says he'd also fight Vitali, but the elder brother has his hands full at the moment with a mandatory against Juan Carlos Gomez) and it looks like one of them will get what he wants. But which one?

Without a doubt, in taking both fighter's achievements at heavyweight only, Arreola is the more deserving contender. Still, after all he did at cruiserweight, winning all but one of the world titles there, Haye is also seen as a deserving and very attractive challenger. However, aside from a final eliminator of a bout between the California and London natives, there is no way to determine who should get a crack at Klitschko first. It seems one of these two hungry young heavyweights (no pun intended towards Chris and his fondness for burritos!) will be squaring off with the IBF and WBO champ some time next year, though.

Who else is there, really? Juan Carlos Gomez will be accommodated by WBC champ Vitali, leaving just rival WBA champions Nikolai Valuev and Ruslan Chagaev in the short list of prominent heavyweights currently fighting. It's a no-brainer, Arreola and Haye are the two most attractive, most sellable, most fun and most logical title challengers at big guy level in the sport today.

Haye and Arreola may never fight, but they are already in a battle - the battle to see who gets to Wladimir Klitschko first!

Article posted on 29.11.2008



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