Sharkie's Machine: Skill Tames Will in Vitali Klitschko vs. Cristobal Arreola

KlitschkoBy Frank Gonzalez Jr. Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, WBC Heavyweight Titlist Vitali Klitschko (38-2, 37 KO’s) took on the most exciting prospect I can think of in the American HW division, Cristobal Arreola (27-1, 24 KO’s). Vitali is a big man, at six foot seven plus, he’s got great boxing skills, uses his height masterfully, he’s tall enough to keep both arms low as he keeps opponents at the exact distance he wants them to be. Watching him work is something I’m sure any boxing purist would agree is great entertainment! Vitali is not just a good big man but a total tactician. He almost makes it look easy.

Chris Arreola is a young prospect with good size and mindset for a heavyweight and a huge warrior spirit. His measured skills are ever improving his fighting spirit and dedication in the ring is a joy to watch—sloppy as it may be. Even when he was getting his ass kicked by the best HW in boxing, there was always a faint feeling that something dramatic might happen in Arreola’s favor at any moment. Unfortunately for Arreola, that moment didn’t come..

After the tenth round ended, the referee, Jon Schorle, stopped the fight after witnessing the pummeling Arreola was taking. He knew Arreola would march into his own coma if he didn’t stop this fight and did what his profession requires.

This was as one-sided a fight as I’ve seen in a while but there was that extra element of knowing that Arreola would never quit and it was going to be a matter of who clocks who first with the better shot. Klitschko did most of the punching in this one and his style of boxing has evolved into what looks like swimming around the ring, landing punches at will, athletically using the ring, leading his opponent to his fists with efficiency.

Arreola did his best to cut off the ring and force Klitschko to trade. Klitschko didn’t mind trading, so long as he controlled the currency from the distance of his preference. Arreola pressed on and on but Klitschko led him around the ring like a Matador does the Bull. How do you say Ole’ in Kiev?

Arreola didn’t land often but whenever he did, the crowd at the Staples Center went berserk and Klitschko’s reaction was to reestablish the space between them and go back to work with his long jab and combo’s from outside. Within the first few rounds, Klitschko had established the tempo of the fight. Though Arreola tried and pressed, Klitschko’s jab kept him just beyond his reach. Whenever Arreola got too close, Klitschko clinched and forced a reset from the ref. It took every moment of a round for Arreola to finally get close enough to land against the taller, faster Klitschko and just when he would be on the cusp of success—the bell would ring. Strategically, this was like watching a game of Chess with Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots as the pieces.

The great thing about this fight was that although Arreola hadn’t won a single round, he was ‘in the fight’ in every round and though he came up short most times, there was a feeling of what defines the human sense of hope with how Arreola showed no sign of quit, even when he looked ripe for being knocked out.
After the stoppage, Arreola was an emotional mess. He cried and winced in emotional pain. Frankly, he made a wee bit of a spectacle out of himself there. But hey, this guy brought everything he had only to fall short. That has to hurt. Klitschko sought him out among the crowd that convened instantly inside the ring and told Chris that he gave a great performance and that he was surprised. Vitali’s admiration for Arreola’s big hearted performance was clear. And when Larry Merchant interviewed Vitali, he was quick to mention his admiration for Arreola, crediting him for his toughness and big chin. He said Arreola took his right hook where most others went to the canvas. He was impressed with his chin and heart. Vitali said Arreola will be a champion…someday. Most of Klitschko’s post fight remarks centered on his respect for the young Mexican American warrior, who even in losing gave a respectable account. Though it was one sided, it was a great fight for the drama.

A moment later, Arreola was interviewed, after he was almost able to collect himself emotionally but he couldn’t contain his distress at losing this fight. He cried and apologized to his fans. He looked like a Halloween cut out Pumpkin face as he told how Klitschko fought the right fight and ran when he was supposed to and every time he landed something, Klitschko found a way to take it away. This was a sobering moment for Chris, he was in there with a master and he got his ass handed to him. All his hard work seemingly for naught but alas, this experience is sure to make Arreola a much better fighter. This was a good loss, because now Arreola has faced the best HW in all of boxing and didn’t get knocked out. Though he might’ve had Schorle not stopped it after the tenth round.

Chris Arreola still has a lot to learn. He appears to have the dedication and as he said at the tail end of his interview, “F@%$ it, I’m coming back!” That may endear him to some, but when that kind of language is over used, it loses its charm. Outside of that iddy biddy complaint, I’m a big fan. I can hardly wait to see Arreola fight again. Guys I want to see him fight include David Haye, Nicolay Valuev, Alexander Dimentrenko and the slick boxer, “Fast” Eddie Chambers. Hey, if they’d get the damn schedules moving, there could be some excitement in the HW division before this year is through.

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Article posted on 27.09.2009

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