According to a number of publications – The LA Times and RingTV.com to name just two – Mexican/American heavyweight Chris Arreola is very much in the frame to challenge WBC king Deontay Wilder in Wilder’s next fight, his fourth voluntary title defence. In fact, Lance Pugmire of The LA Times, in revealing info he has received from “two officials close to the situation but unauthorised to speak publicly about the talk,” writes how Arreola is Wilder’s choice as far as his next challenger.
The fight, still needing a date and a venue, is being talked about for July some time. How will fight fans receive this fight if it does get made? Certainly, Arreola, 36-4-1(31) is a big name and a big puncher. “The Nightmare,” as the Riverside heavyweight is known, is also ultra-experienced, having been in with everyone from Vitali Klitschko to Bermane Stiverne and Tomasz Adamek and Eric Molina. Interestingly, both Stiverne and Molina have also shared a ring with Wilder. Stiverne, who twice fought Arreola, scoring a points win in fight-one and then stopping Arreola in the 6th-round of a good action bout in fight-two, took Wilder the full 12 in losing the WBC belt he had won by beating Arreola in their rematch.
Going by the respective showings of the two men against Stiverne, Wilder would have too much for Arreola. But Arreola did score a crushing 1st-round stoppage win over Molina, the same Molina who hurt Wilder and extended him into the 9th-round last year. That quick win by Arreola was a while ago now though (2012) and Arreola, now aged 35, has struggled in his most recent fights. Last time out, in rising from a knockdown to out-point a determined Travis Kauffman in December of last year, Arreola subsequently saw his close win demoted to a No-Decision due to his failing a post-fight drugs test (for marijuana).
In that fight, Arreola, though game and always aggressive, was easy to hit. Too easy in the opinion of those fans who think Wilder would have too much firepower for him. Still, how motivated was the fan-friendly slugger for that fight? Arreola, if he gets the call, will be hugely up for a shot at Wilder, no doubt. And if he pushes himself in training, to the extent that he gets his weight down to around 235 to 240, Arreola might prove he has one great ring effort left in him.
Wilder will no doubt be a significant favourite to win if he faces Arreola, but this fight, at the very least, has “fun fight” written across it large. And say what you want about Arreola, no-one has ever had an easy time with him. Put down the pizzas, Chris, it could be time for the biggest fight of your career!