Fight fans not on board the Chris Arreola bandwagon were waiting to see if the California heavyweight, the latest US hopeful in the XL ranks, could pass the sternest test of his career, as he took on perennial contender Jameel McCline in the chief undercard bout to the Winky Wright-Paul Williams scrap from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Arreola did indeed pass the test, as he stopped McCline in the fourth round of a scheduled twelve rounder. But it is doubtful that a humongous influx of Arreola bashers of those on the fence will hop on his bandwagon, because the McCline that showed up Saturday was overweight, and judging by his apparent lack of urgency in beating the count in the fourth, underinspired.
Afterwards, he said his showing wasn't stronger because he had only six weeks notice for the tussle. He told Merchant that he can see Arreola getting a title shot against a Klitschko, but wouldn't commit to stating that he believes Arreola can take down one of the Brothers K.
I find myself taking half a step onto the bandwagon, however. Because one of the main beefs many critics have with Arreola is his weight. It is too high for his bouts, they say, and they may be right. But his work rate in always rock solid, and we have to say, even if he doesn’t look like a ripped specimen of bad intentions, his stamina is solid.
The end came at 2:01 of the fourth, with Tony Weeks presiding over the haltage. Retirement is almost a sure thing for McClien. Next for Arreola? Wladimir Klitschko is booked for awhile. Vitali needs a bout, but he is angling for Nicolay Valuev, so Arreola’s dance card is up in the air. TSS U, weigh in with suggestions for Arreola promoter Dan Goossen.
The NABF heavyweight title was up for grabs. McCline (39-9-3, 23 KOs; living in Fla., born in Harlem; age 38) weighed 271 pounds Friday, while NABF champ Arreola (26-0, 23 KOs; from Riverside, CA; age 28) was 255. McCline has been at 270 above 11 times in his career, but usually he wore that weight a bit better. He’d retired after he just scraped by Mike Mollo in November, but couldn’t resist this payday. Neither man looked like they adhered to the most strict of fitness and training table regimens.
McCline pumped the jab, and Arreola worked the body, and looked to land meaningful bombs from the first round on. McCline looked a little gassed at the end of the second, after eating a bunch of Arreola combos. The Californian’s one-two-threes are simple combos to pull off, yet many heavies either forget or are too lazy to pull them off, so give Arreola kudos for that. McCline looked to clinch regularly, but he did rip a left hook that Arreola felt in the third. Jameel was mostly on the defensive, but his left hooks at the end of the round jazzed the crowd.
In the fourth, McCline hit the deck off a combo. He did not make the count, and the crowd didn’t exactly explode with glee. They sensed that perhaps McCline didn’t show up in tip top shape and didn’t summon all his guts to beat the ten count. A left upper-right floow hurt McClien and a right cross sent him to the floor.