Who Has The Better Chance Of Grabbing A Belt - Arreola Against Klitschko Or Haye Against Valuev?

Vitali Klitschkoby James Slater - Two highly interesting heavyweight title fights are set to take place later this year, and one of them has the potential to be a real classic. WBC king Vitali Klitschko defends his title against Chris Arreola on September 26th in fight-one (the bout that has the potential to be a classic), and in fight-two WBA ruler Nikolai Valuev defends his claim to the throne against David Haye on November 7th.

Both fights will almost certainly be watched on TV by high numbers - the Klitschko-Arreola fight especially - and both fights figure to get a very good live audience (Valuev-Haye may come out on top here, with a big stadium in Germany likely to wind up being pretty full). But of the two exciting and unbeaten contenders (at heavyweight, at least, in Haye's case) who has the better shot at collecting a belt with a win - "The Nightmare" or "The Hayemaker?"

Though Haye, 22-1(21) is going up against a fighter who is looked at as the weakest of the three currently reigning world heavyweight champions, this does not necessarily make the Londoner a favourite over the man from Riverside, LA when it comes to launching a successful title challenge.. Sure, Valuev appears to be imminently more beatable than the imposing and superbly strong elder Klitschko, but is Haye up to the task? Yes, an ancient Evander Holyfield did very well against the 7-foot Russian last December - appearing to have done enough to have won the 12-rounder that took place in Switzerland - and "The Real Deal" did as well as he did thanks to speed and movement. Haye will surely try to out-speed the lumbering giant also, but will his stamina hold out?

Remember, Haye will have been out of action for almost a year come November 7th, and he only got seven-rounds of action under his belt in the previous twenty months. How can Haye's endurance levels possibly be up to speed? And what if Haye does get tired? Will his punch output fade to the point where he winds up dropping a decision in Germany? Or, perhaps somewhat shockingly, will he even find himself getting cracked on the chin by a ponderous Valuev blow and being knocked out? Both scenarios are possible.

Haye has a pretty good chance of beating Valuev, and he's already gone on record as saying he will KO the giant. But the fight is in no way a forgone conclusion. Indeed, in taking this gamble of a fight, I feel Haye could end up being beaten and thus deeply embarrassed. If pushed, I'd got for Haye on points, if his stamina holds out, and that's a big if. This fight is pretty much a pick 'em affair.

Arreola, 27-0(24) is without doubt taking on the finer champion in his fight, but is the 28-year-old a better fighter, at heavyweight anyway, than Haye? He's certainly more proven at the weight than the former cruiserweight ruler. To my mind, Arreola has a better shot at beating Vitali than Haye would have had if he'd taken the fight as originally planned. But it's not about that; it's about what chance does Arreola have against "Dr Iron Fist."

Though he is a far bigger underdog than Haye is entering his fight, Arreola will have more than just a puncher's chance in September. Vitali cannot stay at the top forever, and at age 38 the Mexican/American might just have caught him at the right time. But then again, has Arreola any way near as good a chance as Haye has when it comes to out-boxing and out-speeding the man in the opposite corner? He does not, and Arreola knows that. To win, the tough guy with the perfect record must fight a dog fight on the inside and he must land as much punishment as he can whilst taking as little as possible back.

Despite what his critics say, I think Arreola has the necessary desire, the necessary toughness and, above all, the essential patience and calmness to win a battle of attrition. Arreola has a pretty good chance of causing the upset and winning next month, I really believe that. A naturally aggressive fighter, Arreola will bury himself on Vitali's chest and pound away once he's got past the champion's awesome left jab (Vitali's best and most dangerous weapon). Adept at leaning in with punches and smothering a guy's counters, Arreola has also shown good stamina in his career. Make no mistake, he'll have to fight the fight of his career to beat Klistchko; I just have a sneaking feeling Haye will have to do likewise to beat Valuev.

Going right out on a limb, I say both Arreola AND Haye will win!

Article posted on 06.08.2009

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