Can Chris Arreola Play Heavyweight Spoiler? That is going to be the question this Saturday, July 16th at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. Arreola faces WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (36-0) in the main event of a card set to air on FOX, and frankly, few people are giving Arreola any kind of shot at pulling off the upset.
Heading into fight week, the sports books have Wilder a big-time -3700 favorite, with Arreola returning at +1850. There is no over/under line posted yet, but Wilder has 35 knockouts in his 36 wins and the talk is that this one is unlikely to see Arreola still standing at the final bell.
Back in 2009, Arreola had worked his record to 27-0, earning him a shot at Vitali Klitschko and his WBC heavyweight title. Arreola lives with the specter of that one-sided loss to this day, and since then he has not made the most of his opportunities. Arreola has struggled with discipline problems, at times letting his weight balloon. His last fight, back in December of 2015, was a lackluster showing against Travis Kauffman which he won by majority decision, only to have the outcome become a no-contest because of a failed marijuana test. This was Arreola’s second failure for pot. It should be noted that unless you are trying to clear a buffet, marijuana is not a performance enhancer.
This fight materialized for Arreola in late May, so he has had roughly six weeks to prepare. Wilder was scheduled to meet Alexander Povetkin in Russia in late May, but that fight fell out because Povetkin had drug-test issues of his own pop up. Wilder, feeling the loss of a $4 million dollar payday, was looking to put a fight together quickly.
Can Chris Arreola Play Heavyweight Spoiler?
So which Chris Arreola signed for this fight? It is easy to forget after all the ups and downs his career has taken that at one point Arreola was 27-0 and at the top of the list when it came to American heavyweights. Yes, Klitschko put a beating on him in that fight, but losing to Vitali in retrospect means a loss to one of the top two heavyweights of that era.
In that fight with Klitschko, things went wrong almost immediately for Arreola, who always found too much real estate between him and Klitschko when he was throwing punches. Meanwhile Klitschko picked him apart, landing roughly four times the number of blows that Arreola did. In the end, it was Arreola’s corner who threw in the towel and stopped the fight. Arreola himself, though bloodied and swollen, would have kept going.
There is no over/under up for this fight yet, as stated, and it bears noting that Arreola has tasted the canvas since his gutsy showing against Vitali, as he was floored by Bermane Stiverne and by Kauffman. Wilder is likely to fight at a distance with an active jab, and Arreola will have to do what he failed to do against Klitschko, and that is get inside. Wilder, while not as technically sound as Klitschko, presents many of the similar obstacles. Wilder is far more mobile than Klitschko, so Arreola will likely be chasing him all night, trying to cut off the ring.
This Saturday night in Alabama, Chris Arreola gets his third chance at the WBC world heavyweight title. We will see this weekend if Arreola came in motivated for what will likely be his last shot at a world title. He entered the fight against Klitschko seven years ago at the top of his game but yet with only a “puncher’s chance” to win. And it looks like that will be the case again come Saturday, whether he is in top form or not.
Can Chris Arreola Play Heavyweight Spoiler? (Picture courtesy of The Premier Boxing Champions).