Vitali shows he’s not done yet

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: September 27, 2009

IOWA CITY (BASN) — Chris Arreola showed against Vitali Klitschko that he was a tough hombre willing to take punishment to get off one punch. But unfortunately, it takes more than heart to win.

Vitali Klitschko is one of the two best heavyweights, the other being his brother Wladimir. The Klitschko’s brothers are head and shoulders better than any other heavyweights and one has to fight the perfect fight to beat either brothers.

They are simply too good for any other heavyweight and Arreola showed that he, like all other heavyweights, lacked the skills to beat Vitali.

Arreola had the right strategy to defeat Klitschko, for his goal was to force a fast pace; hoping that the 38-year-old Klitschko would tire out. In the first round, Vitali threw 88 punches while shuffling a quick pace to avoid Arreola.

He barely threw over 30 punches but he forced Klitschko to fight at a faster pace than the Ukrainian wanted.

The second round was not much different but one pattern was being set; Klitschko controlled the pace as his jab consistently hit Arreola’s face. Klitschko is an underrated defensive fighter and he uses his height to his advantage.

His jab is more than a range finder but a sledgehammer that allows him to set up his other punches including his fierce right hand. Throughout the bout, Arreola had trouble consistently reaching Klitschko and he often avoided Arreola’s winging shots by a simple movement of his feet by a step or two.

In the fourth round, Arreola mounted his first offense as he finally nailed Klitschko with an overhand right but this was but brief moment before Vitali regained control. The one exciting round was the eighth where Arreola finally nailed Klitschko with his best combination.

Halfway thought the round, Arreola chased Klitschko and it appeared that maybe seven plus rounds of throwing 80 plus punches per round were taking its toll. For the one and half minute, it appeared even.

This was the extent of the drama as Klitschko came out in the ninth and started to shoot his jab as he once again reestablished not only his space but his pace. Arreola looked more tired than his older opponent and his face showed the results of being nailed with repeated jabs as his face swelled.

The 10th round was Arreola’s worst as he slowed to a crawl as he moved forward; he kept getting nailed with combinations. He wanted to continue but the referee decided that it wasn’t going to get better for the young Mexican-American and he ended the fight.

Arreola showed heart but throughout the fight, he chased Klitschko but he proved ineffectual in cutting off the ring. Rarely did he give Klitschko any angles and he simply became a target. The strategy was sound but the execution was poor.

Maybe it is time to recognize that the Klitschko’s brothers are the two best heavyweights in the world and they have been the best Heavyweights over the past decade.

Wladimir moved forward when Vitali took off four years due to various injuries. He’s a more fluid fighter whereas Vitali fights a more European traditional style. Both fighters have beaten the best Heavyweights over the past decade.

Wladimir’s reputation suffered from devastating knockout losses to fighters inferior to his skills but he has not lost a fight since his knockout lost to Lamon Brewster, which he avenged.

As for Vitali, his two losses were to Chris Byrd (due to injuries), and Lennox Lewis (due to eye cut). The Lewis defeat actually provided more respect than any of his victories as he wanted to continue despite deep cuts.

It was a fight that he was winning before deep cuts ended the fight in Lewis’ favor.

HBO’s Jim Lampley noted that to beat the Klitschkos, you must treat boxing as a year round job. Vitali averaged 80 punches per round, activity rarely seen among Middleweights and this is coming from a 38-year-old man.

Arreola’s body looked soft compared to Klitschko and if he wants to be a great fighter, he must adopt Klitschko brothers’ work ethic. He also needs to improve his techniques for there were times that Arreola looked amateurish.

In fairness to Arreola, he was more effective than past Klitschko opponents but there was no doubt that there was significant difference in skills between Arreola and Klitschko.

He now knows what it takes to be the best; the question is whether he will be willing to pay the price.