Boxing


Vitali Klitschko vs. Chris Arreola: The Comparisons

By: Orgil B. Martin - Arreola is a young, undefeated, fresh heavyweight who can pressure well, while packing decent punching power in both hands. He is untested, however, and he is stepping up to fight a top-tier opponent for the first time in Vitali Klitschko. Vitali Klitschko is arguably the most skilled and experienced heavyweight today, with his age and durability being the only questions surrounding him.

You cannot ask for fighters who are so different, so in analyzing the upcoming fight between them it is best to compare the strengths and weaknesses of the two, rather than trying to list every single difference one can find in the two heavyweights. So here it goes:

Arreola’s Strengths and Klitschko’s Weaknesses:

1) A combination of volume and power: It will be interesting to see how the pressuring style of Arreola plays out. Klitschko completely schooled and embarrassed the powerful Nigerian Sam Peter a year ago.. But the problem was that Sam Peter could not even put together a three punch combination in that fight. His attacks did not have any volume in punches whatsoever. Klitschko easily countered Peter with his stinging combinations off of his skillful defense. Can Arreola then, be different in trying to attack Klitschko? Can he attack in volume the Frazier way? He certainly has proven that he can effectively pressure with power and volume in his previous fights, even though the competition level was mediocre at best..

We have seen Klitschko handle fighters with strengths and power, but we are yet to see the 38 year old champion deal with effective volume punching and power through a long fight. That brings the next point.



2) Age and attitude:

Arreola is ten years younger, meaning ten years fresher in the hurt business. Can that be an advantage though? Can the champion easily triumph over the challenger with his experience and polished skills? Or will the champion fold under the pressure of the relentless and fresh challenger? Age, or freshness, is certainly an advantage that Arreola carries on to the fight, but we will see if the experience will matter more.

How about the injuries that forced Klitschko to retire in 2005? Will Vitali be able to handle a busy fight with even exchanges for 12 solid rounds? That is another interesting question. Though it is highly speculative, one could argue that if Vitali gets injured during the fight, then it is highly likely that Arreola’s hand will be raised, much like how Klitschko quit against Chris Byrd while winning the fight. However, it is also possible that Vitali now knows how to fight through an injury. It remains to be seen.

Attitude wise, both the fighters appear very confident. While Klitshcko keeps a smile that says “I have seen ‘em all”, Arreola continuously repeats the phrase popularized by Joe Frazier, “He’s got two hands, and so do I”. If Arreola truly believes that he can stand toe-to-toe with a 6-foot-8 skillful champion, then that could be a subtle advantage.

3) Hometown:

The fight will take place in the challenger’s backyard. An upset will prove to be a historic achievement by Arreola, and thus many fans will be excited to be there. But that is hardly an advantage, as Vitali Klitschko is fairly familiar with the place. It was in the same Staples Center where the fight is going to take place, Klitschko had his famous match with the soon to be legendary Lennox Lewis. Klitschko, originally from Ukraine, had fought in the biggest arenas the world had to offer in his career. However, if somehow the fight lasts for 12 rounds, then the advantage can certainly be realized for Arreola.


Klitschko’s Strengths and Arreola’s Weaknesses:

1) Experience

Needless to say, the upcoming fight will be the first time Arreola stepping up to face a top-tier opponent. All the unforeseen intangibles during the fight will be more familiar to Vitali Klitschko. Even though the current heavyweight division is one of the worst in history, Vitali had fought the best fighters of his own time. Vitali had faced cuts and injuries during the fight, and had fought fighters with different styles in different arenas throughout the world.

How will Arreola respond to frustration and pain? As he had never been tested, we truly do not know the answer. Will Arreola feel jitters and anxiousness during the biggest fight of his career? That is another question.

2) Skills and ablilties

Standing at 6-foot-8, Klitschko can use his natural assets with much ease and skills. His ability to use his size can be comparable to Shaquille O’Neal, rather than to Yao Ming in a basketball analogy. For a fighter standing shorter than 6-3, Klitschko is near impossible to land a flush head shot. Arreola is 6-4, and how the height difference plays out remains to be seen.

Klitschko is a fundamentally sound boxer. He does not have major flaws in his techniques. He does not move around excessively, and can counter off of pivots, rather than dancing away. He can use his height as a defense many a times, using his arms to parry shots while leaning away. He is a proven mismatch for most fighters.

Arreola, on the other hand, has a very mediocre defense. He is capable of pressuring well, but he had never tried to pressure a highly skilled boxer/puncher. Arreola can use his upper body strengths well and can punch from different angles, but he had never attempted that on a 6-foot-8 world class champion.


Outcome

I anticipate a very good fight, hyped by the passionate crowd in support of the underdog, reminiscing the stronger days of the heavyweight division. Stylistically, the fight can be made interesting by the effective pressure of Arreola. However, barring the unlikely outcome due to the older Klitschko’s injuries, I see the champion winning the fight. If the fight goes the distance, which is less unlikely than a late-round stoppage by either fighters, Arreola has a better chance of getting the nod simply by the hometown factors. My final prediction is a Klitschko win by a Round-10 TKO.

The author can be reached at orgil.b.martin@gmail.com

Article posted on 22.09.2009



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