I feel I’m somewhat of a rarity these days – a British fight fan who still makes a point of watching USA heavyweight boxing. Everyone knows the issues surrounding the heavyweight scene in America and the lack of a genuine titleholder in the last 6 years or so. That said, there’s still a lot to be excited about, and with the heavyweight scene about to undergo its biggest shake up in years, American heavyweight boxing could be about to receive a badly needed boost.
The heavyweight showdown between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne for Vitali’s vacated title in June in Mexico will ensure we see one of the big belts go to a non-Klitschko which in itself is exciting enough!
Whether you feel Chris Arreola (36-3, 31 KO) is deserving of the opportunity to fight for the title (and avenge his defeat last year) against Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KO) is debatable. What can be guaranteed however is another great fight, which should – hopefully – be even more engrossing than the last fight.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the last fight in Arreola’s hometown of Riverside, California last year. I genuinely believed Chris would be able to overpower Stiverne late in the fight in front of his own fans, and like many people, greatly underestimated Stiverne’s capabilities. Chris was in good shape for the fight, so its tough to see what adjustments he can make in this rematch, and at this stage of his career.
Like many I’ve fight fans I’ve talked to, I feel this may be last chance saloon for Chris as a serious contender. His first round demolition of Seth Mitchell last year was impressive, but predictable; with the questions surrounding Mitchell’s punch resistance being fully answered. Arreola was still tagged far too many times (and far too easily) by Mitchell in the opening few minutes. For this reason I don’t see Arreola having the defence or footwork improvements to avoid being tagged regularly the sharp and accurate work of Stiverne.
Stiverne – who seems to be a late developer in the fight game, fought the perfect fight plan first time around, so won’t have to make too many adjustments to his game plan come fight night. His accurate jabbing made a mess out of Arreola’s face by the later rounds; only Arreola’s bravery and determination kept him in the fight, and pushing forward until the last bell.
Arreola’s bravery has never been in doubt, as has his passion for the sport, which clearly shows in post fight interviews & pre fight presser’s. I’m not sure what Chris can do to change the result this time around – but – this is heavyweight boxing and a chance for one of the fighters to go into the history books. I’d love to see Arreola be that man, after all the entertainment he’s provided us fight fans with over the years.