A crossroads fight for Arreola

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 8, 2011

IOWA CITY (BASN) — When Chris Arreola fought another heavyweight prospect — Chazz Witherspoon — he weighed 239 pounds. That was in June of 2008. He hasn’t weighed less than 250 pounds since.

Arreola is a warrior in the ring as he never gives up, even in defeat and he keeps throwing punches. The problem is what occurs between fight as Arreola career is at a crossroad. Arreola has never had sculptured body but his weight gain over the past three years have not aided his career.

As the fall approached in 2009, Arreola prepared to fight Vitali Klitschko as the number one American Heavyweight prospect. That bout revealed weakness in Arreola’s arsenal as Klitschko pounded the young American from opening bell to the tenth round when the fight was stopped.

Arreola showed his strength, his heart but he also was made to look amateurish as his defense consisted of blocking Klitschko punches with his head and he rarely tried to jab his way into Klitschko’s body nor could he wear the Ukrainian down despite being a decade younger.

Those weaknesses were further disclosed when he fought Tomasz Adamek. Adamek was a technical fighter with some pop in his punch but as a former light heavyweight and Cruiserweight so he came into the fight as the smaller fighter.

Arreola attempted to overpower Adamek but he used his boxing skills to pot shot Arreola as he slipped combinations after combinations on Arreola’s face. By the end of the fight, Arreola’s face was bruised and swollen while Adamek won a majority decision in a fight that most pundits saw it as an easy Adamek victory.

Since then, Arreola fought Manuel Quezada on ESPN in a fight that saw him win an easy decision but it was a hard to judge Arreola’s progress back since Quezada is hardly a top twenty heavyweight nor is his next opponent, Joey Abell.

Abell is a Minnesota based fighter who has spent much of his career fighting on the Midwest cycle, so this is a fight that Arreola should end early if he is still an elite heavyweight.

The problem with Arreola is a problem that many heavyweight prospects, the inability to take the next step from top ten fighters to elite championship level. Many prospects often find that they don’t take the next step simply because either they are not good enough or they don’t adapt their style to the better fighters.

Dominick Guinn was a solid heavyweight prospect in the early part of the last decade but he lost to Monte Barrett and from there, he simply slipped to mediocrity.

Evander Holyfield observed during one of Guinn’s fight that he has become predictable. Guinn failed to change his style nor could he adopt to defeat the better fighters.

Arreola is now at similar stage in his career. He now has to find a way to beat elite fighters to take advantage of his pressuring style. At 6-foot-4, Arreola is tall enough to challenge some of the bigger fighters plus he is a strong puncher so his pressuring style can wear opponents down.

Arreola does not always use all of his punches, including a jab to set up his other shots so the question that remains, can he grow or will he join Guinn into mediocrity?