Boxing


Forget The Weight, Arreola Is The Best Young Heavyweight Out There

Chris Arreolaby James Slater - 28-year-old Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola did it again last night; he won a fight and looked impressive doing it as he carried into the ring with him a poundage in excess of the 250 mark. Many critics have been on Arreola's case for his continual desire to weigh-in in excess of the weight he often says he will tip in at, at 240, but until there comes a time when the excess weight affects Arreola to the point of him running out of gas or slowing down to a crawl, the Mexican/American can ignore such criticism.

In blowing away the huge Jameel McCline inside four rounds last night, Arreola proved he is the best of the current young and hungry heavyweight title contenders.. No, McCline, at age 38, is no world beater, but only fairly recently he came within a whisker of beating Sam Peter to capture the WBC crown, he is dangerous early, he is as experienced as they come, and he has not been stopped as quickly as he was last night for a long time (the freak, knee injury loss to Nikolay Valuev, in a fight he was winning, aside). Some people will argue that David Haye, Eddie Chambers and maybe Kevin Johnson have more of a chance of taking one of the two Klitschko brothers out of their current comfort zone, but for me the not exactly svelte, but genuinely tough guy from Riverside, California - a man who really enjoys fighting - is the best bet to end the Ukrainian's dominance.

Chris has often argued back when people have moaned about his weight, claiming, quite rightly, that he has never huffed and puffed in a fight and that his punch output remains as prolific late in a fight as it starts off in one. Remember, Haye was starting to look a little tired before finally despatching Monte Barrett last time out (to say nothing about the time he ran completely out of gas when he lost to Carl Thompson down at cruiserweight), and Chambers simply stopped fighting against Alexander Povetkin in his only loss. Johnson has yet to struggle in any fight, but he has not met the quality Arreola has.

Also, Arreola has good punch variety and real heavyweight power. He goes to the body well, he jabs well and he has a cracking right hand. "The Nightmare" has also proven the strength of his chin far more than Haye, Johnson and Chambers have. How would either of those guys have reacted had they been hit with the hard left hands to the head "Big Time" landed on Arreola in the 3rd round of last night's rumble? And Arreola showed he can keep a clear head and come back from a knockdown in his win over the heavy-handed Travis Walker. There is no doubt in my mind, though "Fast Eddie" scored a good, if slightly pedestrian win over an under-motivated and overweight Peter recently, Arreola is the best of the current heavyweight young guns.

Haye, should he shock both the odds and Wladimir Klitschko in June, will make mincemeat out of such a claim, but until then, Arreola - a guy the fans like because they see action, KO's, a high punch volume and because he is a humble, approachable warrior outside of the ring - gets this writer's vote as the best of the heavyweight hopefuls. 255 or less, "The Nightmare" is at least earning his shot by keeping busy, by taking risky fights ( be honest, how many of you picked McCline to win last night?) and by being entertaining.

Now 27-0(24), Arreola may get his chance to really silence his critics later this year.

Article posted on 12.04.2009



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