A Stirring of Styles at Staples

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 3, 2009

Klitschko NEW YORK (BASN) — The most important name in the heavyweight division is undoubtedly Klitschko. Which Klitschko? It doesn’t matter whether it’s Vitali or Wladimir because, they’re both 6-feet-7, fight at approximately 240 pounds and they pack one heck of a knockout punch. Also, the Klitschko brothers are the first fighters to simultaneously hold pieces of the world heavyweight championship.

The legendary Spinks brothers, Leon and Michael, each won the heavyweight championship but never held it at the same time.

Wladimir, the unified WBO/IBF and recognized Ring Magazine heavyweight champion, will not be in action until sometime next year because of a shoulder injury that required surgery following his June victory over then WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev. However, older brother Vitali, the WBC champion, will be in action in less than four weeks.

Making the second defense of the WBC heavyweight title following an end to a four-year retirement due to injury, Vitali Klitschko (37-2, 36 KOs) battles undefeated, WBC No. 1-ranked challenger, Cristobal Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs).

The bout will be televised live on HBO’s World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 26, from the STAPLES center in Los Angeles.

Since returning to the ring in October 2008, the 38 year-old Ukrainian has defeated Samuel Peter (TKO 8) and Juan Carlos Gomez (TKO 9). His next opponent Arreola will attempt to become the first heavyweight of Mexican decent to capture a piece of the world heavyweight title.

“I understand some people will be against me and it will mean very much to have a Mexican world champion,” Vitali said during a public workout for fans and media outlets at the popular Pound4Pound Gym in Los Angeles. “But I’ve got to tell them, ‘sorry.’ Nothing against Mexicans, nothing against any nationalities, but, we, the fighters, prove our boxing skills in the ring.”

Klitschko, under the watchful eye of longtime trainer Fred Sdunek, has prepared hard for the challenge of Arreola. The 28 year-old California native, is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, and packs a serious punch.

In recent bouts, Arreola has demolished good fighters like Chazz Witherspoon. Arreola came off the mat to stop Travis Walker in an exciting heavyweight fight last year, and stopped Jameel McCline in four rounds earlier this year.

Vitali expects a knockout victory during what should be a stern test of will, power, and overall skills.

“I doubt the fight will be won by decision,” Klitschko added. “The fight will be much shorter than 12 rounds. Arreola is a good fighter. I don’t want to underestimate him. I don’t want to make mistakes. I will show him my skills. I am much stronger than Arreola. Arreola has a big heart and a big punch. But I have a big punch, too.”

Klitschko added: “I know Mexicans are huge boxing fans and they are very knowledgeable. But it’s not the color of your skin or your nationality that they root for. I have a lot of Mexican fans who support me every fight and I’m very thankful for that.”

Vitali Klitschko works out
Photos: Pavel Terekhov/K2 Promotions

Vitali Klitschko works out Photos: Pavel Terekhov/K2 Promotions

Klitschko no stranger to L.A., STAPLES Center

Just when you’d think Arreola would undoubtedly have a distinct advantage of fighting in front of his hometown audience, Vitali is no stranger to the Los Angeles area.

“It’s good to come here to Los Angeles and STAPLES Center,” added K2 Promotions Managing Director Tom Loeffler. “It was something Vitali wanted to do. This fight was a natural for STAPLES; Arreola living in Riverside, Vitali having a house in Los Angeles. His children were born here in Los Angeles. It’s the only place this fight could have happened.”

Vitali has had memorable fights at STAPLES center. In June 2003, Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis engaged in one of the greatest modern-day heavyweight championship fights in recent memory. Klitschko was beating Lewis for the WBC title until a signature right-hand from the champion busted a cut over Vitali’s left eye. With Klitschko ahead on the scorecards, the fight was stopped after the sixth round. It was Lewis’ last bout before he retired.

“I remember the Lennox Lewis fight where the fans cheered with a lot of energy and emotion for sports skills,” Klitschko said. “In the end, they’re not rooting for the nationality or for the religion, but for the sport.”

In April 2004, Vitali Klitschko claimed the vacant WBC heavyweight crown by avenging younger brother Wladimir’s 2003 loss to Corrie Sanders. Klitschko stopped Sanders in the eighth round of a very entertaining slugfest.

Klitschko, K2 to donate 100 tickets to California firefighters

During a recent public workout at the Pound4Pound Gym in Los Angeles, Klitschko along with Loeffler, K2 Promotions managing director, announced that 100 fight tickets will be donated to the firefighters of Southern California. In recent weeks, wildfires have ravaged the Southern California area and firefighters have been working tirelessly to control the wild blazes.

“Vitali has a house on the hillside in Los Angeles where he can see all the fires, and he really appreciates the hard work and dedication from all the firefighters,” Loeffler said. “Donating 100 tickets to the Firefighters Association is Vitali’s way of thanking them for all their hard work and efforts while putting their lives on the line to keep the people of Los Angeles safe.”

Floyd Mayweather Jr
Gene Blevins - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Floyd Mayweather Jr Gene Blevins - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Klitschko-Arreola’s $25 per ticket bargain

Tickets for a professional boxing match can be very expensive, but for $25 bucks that is good enough to get you a seat into the STAPLES for what should be a very entertaining heavyweight title fight. Tickets are priced from $25, $50, $75, $100, $200, $300, and $500. In fairness, tickets for Klitschko-Arreola are priced very similar to a WWE Wrestling event.

For more information, call TicketMaster by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or go online at www.ticketmaster.com

Mayweather vs. Marquez inching closer

Juan Manuel Marquez workds out
Chico Sanchez - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Juan Manuel Marquez workds out Chico Sanchez - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

The long-awaited return of “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather ends on Saturday, September 19. Mayweather ends his 1 ½-year “retirement” or break from boxing to battle Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, NV on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Mayweather and Marquez each held workouts for the press in their respective training camps. Mayweather is training in Vegas, while Marquez holds court in Mexico City, Mexico.