'Call Em Out Fridays': Chris Arreola - A Look At The 'Nightmare' From Ale Street
By Vivek Wallace - The American heavyweight landscape has left much to be desired over the past few years, but eager to step beyond the shadows of his recent predecessors and make his own mark in the sport today is a man who many feel doesn't quite seem to fit the bill. An ancient adage tells us that "looks can be deceiving", and in a pure confirmation we learn that every effort to judge this book by it's cover is met with the reality that the old adage does in fact bear more than a slight hint of truth. Like all fighters in the sport, categorically, the story of Chris Arreola contains a deep chapter in both upside and downside. When you review that upside, considering the current era of super-heavyweights we now live in, standing at 6'4" with a 77-inch reach can be considered a strong asset, but an 86% KO ratio goes a lot further, as all but 3 of his 28 career opponents took an early walk back to the showers.
Several other things can be said about the upside of Arreola, but more often than not, we hear strengthening whispers from critics who seem to almost exclusively dwell on his downside which not only encompasses limited experience, (95 rounds in 6 professional years), but also a questionable work ethic. The first thing to come to mind at the mere discussion of his work ethic is his weight, which has fallen as low as 229, and as much as 263, (lbs).. Fight after fight we're reminded that there's very little middle-grounds when it comes to his ability to control this mass fluctuation, yet the oddity comes to fruition in the fact that it has yet to stop him in the heat of the battle. Work rate and punch output both remain steady and active, prompting some to question how potent he could be if he truly dedicated himself to his craft.
The best gauge we've seen of Arreola's true worth so far was his effort against Vitali Klitschko in a fight where his great mental toughness and even greater determination failed to be good enough in the end, extinguished by a mountain that few have been able to scale. Some viewed the loss to be a case where Arreola wasn't good enough. The reality is that this measuring stick used to gauge his ability in this particular case (Vitali-K) was arguably one of the best to ever step foot in the sport. When you see things from that perspective it brings forth two questions.......Does that loss to one of the best in the history of the sport mean that he can be good, but never great? Or does that lost to one of the best in history mean that his evolution simply hadn't come full circle when the two met?
Perhaps the best answer for these two questions is that both apply. Like most power punchers, Arreola's power remains not only his biggest strength, but in so many ways his biggest weakness, as his limited career rounds have subsequently limited his experience. Not only are veteran greats like Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko more schooled, but far more talented. The good thing for Arreola is that of these two 'bookend' champions of the heavyweight division, he already faced the one that many consider to be more of an overwhelming threat. Not that Wladimir would come as an easy target, but of the two, clearly the larger Vitali presented a more dangerous mission.
In the end analysis, the general consensus is that Arreola will unquestionably be better than the average, but in a constant struggle to prove his greatness. Where the intrigue comes in is that at age 29 with a heavy appetite for success, anything is possible. That term 'appetite' couldn't be any more fitting, as used literally it could be his biggest asset; however, if used figuratively it could serve as a catastrophic liability. Just like life itself, the answer to ultimate success for Arreola will come down to a matter of contrast. He's well known for his passion for Mexican food and his favorite ale's, yet he recently tipped the scales 13lbs lighter than he did in his most previous fight, which was a career high. Hopefully, for him, this is a sign that his love for one 'ale' has finally been supplanted by a hatred for the other ("L"). In just a few hours he'll step into the ring against a very 'game' opponent in the midst of a mission of his own. Tune in to HBO Saturday night to see how the next step in Arreola's evolution all unfolds. (Check local listings for fight time).
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook and Myspace).
Article posted on 23.04.2010