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Arreola continues his way back to the top
IOWA,CITY, IOWA–Chris Arreola continued his quest for a Heavyweight title with a seven round beating of Kendrick Releford. Two weeks ago, Arreola pummeled Nagy Aguilera into submission after three rounds and he repeated his performance against Releford as he easily scored as will against the veteran Releford.
Releford is one of those opponents, who always have his cell phone by his side; just in case some one calls with a fight. Ten days ago, he was given an opportunity to fight on ESPN and Arreola as Team Arreola decided to keep their fighter back in the gym.
Arreola major problem over the past four years has been to manage his weight as he ballooned up to 263 pounds, but against Aguilera, he came in the lowest in four years. Against Releford, he marched into the ring weighing only 236 pounds and it showed up in his ring performance.
For the first minute of the fight Releford actually put on some offense as he attacked with jabs followed by straight right but by the end of the round Arreola set the pattern of the fight as he continuously beat on Releford, who played more defense than offense. It is hard to say how much of Arreola’s performance was based on his improvement and how much based on Releford more defensive style that allowed Arreola to get off first. Arreola did manage to slip punches, move his hands quicker than in past fights and he stayed on the attack.
As the fight progressed, Arreola punches started to penetrate Releford defense and Arreola used a variety of punches as he unleashed uppercuts with both hands, straight rights and left hooks to the body and head. In the sixth round, an Arreola combination forced Releford to knee down early in the round. From that point, Arreola relentlessly pounded Releford as he turned Releford into his personal punching bag. Halfway through the seventh round, a vicious Arreola combination forced Releford to the rope and Releford head spin with every punch. The referee saw enough and stopped the fight.
Since a poor showing in a victory over Manuel Quezada, Arreola found himself at a crossroads since he was approaching thirty and found himself on the verge of becoming an opponent and not a contender. Over the last three fights, he has lost weight and started to recapture the fighting spirit that he had on the way up. Can he continue this when he fights top ten fighters?
Tony Thompson began the evening fighting Maurice Harris in an IBF title eliminator, whatever that means. (The winner was schedule to fight Eddie Chambers with the winner of that bout facing a Klitschko.) Thompson is now 39 years and time is running out for a second shot at a title. The southpaw Thompson began controlling the fight from the beginning as his jab controlled distance and unlike many tall fighters, Thompson can fight inside so Harris has troubles both inside and outside.
Harris found himself in a dilemma since he couldn’t match Thompson power on the outside or inside. Thompson nailed Harris with a right hook behind the ear and sent him down for an eight count. Harris survived the second round but another Thompson connection in the early third round sent Harris down a second time. From that point, Thompson continued his attack before the referee stopped the fight.
Thompson looked impressive but the dilemma for Americans Heavyweight is that one of the best Heavyweights is close to 40 years old. Right now, the American heavyweight division is at its weakest and there are no American heavyweights competitive with the Klitschko’s brothers. Tony Thompson, Eddie Chambers, Kevin Johnson, Chris Arreola and Shannon Briggs are among Americans who have fallen short in fighting for the championship and no American have even close to making a fight with the Klitschko’s competitive since Lamon Brewser upset Wladimir seven years ago!
Both Thompson and Arreola want one more shot at winning a championship but the last great American Heavyweight was Evander Holyfield and his best years were the last century!