Are Chambers and Arreola challenging the wrong Klitschko brother?

Eddie ChambersBy Ismail Lorgat - Both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko will defend their heavyweight titles against American foes in the coming months. Vitali has agreed to defend his WBC title against big punching Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola whilst Wladimir is in talks to defend his Ring Magazine, WBO and IBF belts against mandatory challenger “Fast” Eddie Chambers.

Both Arreola and Chambers will enter their fights as underdogs and rightly so.

Wladimir has not been seriously troubled in a fight since Sam Peter dropped him three times in their encounter back in 2005. Since then he has outclassed the likes of Chris Byrd, Sultan Ibragimov and Ruslan Chagaev in punch perfect performances..

Since coming out of an injury-enforced retirement four year ago Vitali has defeated two highly rated fighters in the aforementioned Samuel Peter (who was the reigning WBC champion) and Cuban southpaw Juan Carlos Gomez.

However, Vitali showed some weaknesses in the Gomez fight. He seems to have lost the speed, reflexes and timing he had during his prime when he destroyed Kirk Johnson and gave Lennox Lewis one of the toughest fights of his career. Also, the elder Klitschko’s advanced age (he is now 38) and four years of inactivity have hardly helped him.

It seems unlikely that Chris Arreola will be the one to exploit and fully expose these weaknesses. If Arreola comes forward in straight lines and attempts to bomb out Vitali like he has previous opponents then he will most probably be picked off and stopped by the heavy-handed Vitali. Yet, in my opinion, if it was Chambers in the opposite corner against Vitali then the champion would be in for a tough night.

Although small by modern heavyweight standards, standing at just 6”1 and weighing only 207lbs for his last fight, Eddie Chambers is one of the most skilled fighters in the division today. In his last fight Chambers outclassed 6”7, 240lbs Alexander Dimitrenko who came into the ring with a 29-0 record. “Fast” Eddie’s handspeed, combination punching and punch selection proved too much for his Ukrainian opponent. These skills would greatly aid Chambers against the slower Vitali and he could box his way to a points win if he was fully focussed and in top condition.

However, Chambers will be stepping into the ring with Wladimir Klitschko who will present an entirely different problem. Wladimir has established himself as the world’s dominant heavyweight in recent years and has developed one of the best jabs in the business under the tutelage of Emmanuel Steward.

It is the jab that has helped Wladimir keep shorter opponents such as Ruslan Chagaev and Sultan Ibragimov at bay and dominate fights from long range. Eddie Chambers will struggle to, and probably won’t be able to, slip the jab against the 6”6 Wladimir. Chambers’ lack of aggression would allow Wladimir to dictate the pace and tempo of the fight.

An aggressive fighter that would force the fight against Wladimir is none other than Chris Arreola. Arreola would be willing to walk forward and pressure Wladimir even if it meant eating a few jabs. “The Nightmare” would bring out the best in Wladimir and force him to fight at a higher tempo.

It is common knowledge within the boxing community that Wladimir has weak chin and Arreola with his power and gung-ho style could present a lot of problems to the champion.

Ultimately, and somewhat unfortunately for boxing fans, Arreola will not be fighting Wladimir and Chambers will not be fighting Vitali. The American challengers wouldn’t be guaranteed to win if they were fighting the other brother but they’d have a much greater chance and boxing fans would have two much more intriguing fights to look forward to.

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Article posted on 12.08.2009

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