Arreola and Williams make their case

By Tom Donelson
Updated: April 12, 2009

Paul Williams (left) defeated Winky Wright Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Paul Williams (left) defeated Winky Wright Saturday night in Las Vegas.

IOWA CITY — Jameel McCline came out of retirement to earn a paycheck against Chris Arreola and as HBO’s Larry Merchant noted this was a Heavyweight bout in which “both men came in the fight overweight.”

In the opening minutes of the battle of soft bellies, Arreola attacked McCline’s body and McCline used his jab while attempting at fighting tall.

At end of the first round, Arreola gained the upper hands as his body shots were followed by head shots that made McCline grimace. In the second round, Arreola’s body shots forced McCline on the corner while McCline occasionally scored with jabs but Arreola’s constant pressure forced McCline to retreat in a defensive posture.

In the third round, McCline nailed Arreola with a left hook that staggered his younger opponent. Both men laid some power shots on each other but in the last minute, McCline got the better of the exchanges.

It looked like McCline started to get the better of his younger opponent.

In the fourth round, Arreola maintained the aggressive style that served him in the first two rounds.

In the first minute, he punished McCline with body shots before slipping two hard rights to McCline’s head; sending McCline down for the count. Just like that, it was over and McCline didn’t even attempt to get up.

What did this fight prove? Hard to say since it is hard to know how much McCline had left as a fighter, but Arreola did do two things. He took McCline’s good left hooks delivered in the third round and fought back.

In the fourth round, he finished McCline when he had him in trouble.

McCline is past his prime but he is a Heavyweight who had fought some of the best and last year, he nearly stopped Samuel Peter when he knocked Peter down three times only to wilt down the stretch.

McCline could not keep Arreola off him nor could he hurt him like he did Peter the year before. Last year, Arreola fought weighting 235 pounds and now he is fighting 255 pounds.

His own team wanted him to be ten pound lighter and this could be his Achilles heel. Peter shows what happens when a fighter fights at a weight higher than optimal. Peter began his career fighting at 230 pounds and he weighted 260 pounds in a key lost to Chamber.

Arreola does have one nice promotional niche, he is of Hispanic descent. Considering that Hispanics are important demographics when it comes to boxing promotion and Arreola could become a big star in the division and give the Heavyweight division a needed boost.

For the Heavyweight division, Arreola has the potential to regain focus on the premier division but he has to win a share of the title first before challenging the Klitschko’s brothers.

THE MAIN EVENT

Paul Williams fought his first Middleweight bout against the veteran Winky Wright, in a fight between guys that other fighters tended to avoid.

Williams provided a challenge for any top Welterweight and junior Middleweight with his long wingspan and the additional factor that he is yet a superstar with great economic potential; making a fight with him a risk with little economic return adds to reason for avoidance.

In the opening round, the trend was set as Williams threw twice as many punches and connected twice as many punches. Throughout the bout, Williams used volumes to overwhelm Wright defenses but throughout the early rounds, Wright would occasionally nail Williams with a right hand hook; so Wright had his moments.

Wright best chances came when Williams would fight on the inside.

For a tall man, Williams showed instinct for inside fighting but on those occasions that he moved out, he moved out straight and making himself vulnerable to Wright’s straight left.

Williams’ own corner wanted him to move and jab; forcing Wright to chase. On one occasion, his corner extorted, “Wright has old legs, don’t make it easy for him. Move.”

In the 10th round, Wright grimaced from an onslaught that started with the body shots before numerous head shots in the last 30 seconds. Williams came up through Wright gloves, neutralizing Wright’s defensive style.

In the final round, Williams threw series of combinations in a go for broke style with the idea of stopping Wright but Wright managed to nail Williams with a straight left after being hit with a combination.

Williams chose not to play it safe and took risks. He continued to throw punches from different angles and with 20 seconds left, Williams nearly stopped Wright but he was still standing as the final bell ranged.

Williams showed that he was legitimate Middleweight and serious contender for any title from Welterweight to Middleweight. (He had won the Welterweight title but had yet to fight for a title in the junior Middleweight and Middleweight division.)

Williams showed strength with inexhaustible energy as he threw nearly 100 punches per round and never tired out but the question that remains, could he get away fighting on the inside with Kelly Pavilk or Arthur Abraham, harder puncher than Wright?

Williams is ready for a title fight with the two best middleweights and he has the quickness and speed to pull off an upset. He has options but his best option for a big money fights is go for Middleweight title.