Recently, I heard that Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola had lost to beefed up cruiserweight Tomasz Adamek. I won't say I was shocked, after witnessing Arreola get brutally beaten by Vitali Klitschko and have trouble with Brian Minto, I thought his career was on the way down.
Initially, that fight sparked little interest in me because I was focusing on the upcoming Paul WIlliams-Kermit Cintron bout. I didn't even read any of the press releases or the Bleacher Report editorials. However, on Sunday night I was channel surfing and found the Arreola fight on-demand and went ahead and ordered it to get a look at Tomasz Adamek.
To make a long story short, I came away far more impressed with Arreola's chances within the divison if he continues to make the strides he very obviously made going into this fight. He's only 29, is coordinated, has power and knows his way around the ring.
Sometimes a loss actually enhances a fighters reputation, and in my humble opinion, this fight did exactly that for Chris Arreola.
Growing up and Early Career
Chris Arreola was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in East LA. The son of a former boxer, he started boxing at the age of eight and had approximately 200 amateur bouts between then and age 16.
He took a hiatus from 16 to age 20, but returned and after only three months of training he won the National Golden Gloves in 2001 at light heavyweight. After celebrating his improbable feat, he took another sojourn from the sport and returned at age 20.
Arreola is sort of like a monk who takes sabbaticals every couple years or so from the sport.
Fate stepped in as he arrived too late to sign up for the 2003 Golden Gloves, so he turned pro.
Infamous Goosen Tutor signed the portly, heavily tattooed fighter in 2003 and he started a roller coaster ride through the heavweight division. Arreola has stopped such unbeaten prospects as Chazz Witherspoon, Thomas Hayes, and Zakeem Graham on his way up the ladder.
He fought highly regarded prospect Travis Walker and got up off the canvas to knock Walker out.
Arreola faced veteran Jameel McCline and knocked him out with an uppercut to set up a title fight with Vitali Klitscho that was televised worldwide on HBO.
Vitali Klitschko who is 6'7" 250, is an absolute brute and was a heavy favorite in the days leading up to the fight.
During the fight, Klitschko dominated Arreola with pawing jabs, hard straight rights and body shots which prevented Arreola from closing the gap. Arreola's corner and the referee stopped the fight before the start of the 11th, giving Klitschko a TKO.
The judges had it 99-91, 99-91, 100-89 for Klitschko at the time of the stoppage, and it really wasn't even that close. Arreola was thoroughly dominated in the ring, and devastated in the interview afterwards, breaking down in tears.
The Nightmare came back to defeat lightly regarded Brian Minto in December of 2009 on the undercard of the incredible Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez fight. Minto gave Arreola a little trouble before he dispatched him in the fourth.
Chris Arrreola Versus Tomasz Adamek
In most of these fights Arreola's weight and conditioning seemed to be lacking as he often looked flabby and started breathing through his mouth early in his fights. To his credit, he is the ultimate warrior who never gives up, and that was truly on display against Tomasz Adamek.
Adamek's record is 41-1 with 27 KOs. He is the former WBC world light heavyweight champion and the former IBF, IBO and The Ring magazine cruiserweight champion.
As of the end of 2009, Ring Magazine has ranked Adamek as the 30th best boxer in the world. Adamek is known to have one of the toughest chins in boxing.
Unfortunately it seemed Arreola left his crowd-pleasing, brawling syle with the weight. After only two rounds, you could hear the crowds begin to boo.
The fight was held in Ontario, California which is practically Arreola's backyard. I immediately wondered how bad of beating Arreola had taken to lose a decision in his hometown.
Especially with the questionable hometown decisions in the Carl Froch-Andre Dirrell and Mikkel Kessler-Carl Froch fights recently where the scoring was highly debatable at best.
The fighters came to the ring and Adamek didn't look much smaller than Arreola who weighed in at a positively svelte looking 250 lbs.
Once the fight started though, Adamek's speed was quickly evident, as he was on his bicycle for much of the evening. I don't mean this disparagingly because he simply took advantage of one of his strengths.
Arreola jabbed and stalked. Adamek just worked him over with crisp two to three punch salvos and was doubling the punch output of Arreola through three rounds.
In round four Arreola came alive and punished Adamek, as if he caught him with his wife in the backseat of a Ford pinto, with right hands and left hooks to the head. Arreola wobbled Adamek twice, once with a straight left and then with a right hand in round five.
Adamek had terrible footwork, that reminded me of myself at my first school dance, and it made Arreola's punches look even better than they were as he staggered drunkenly around the ring. In round six, it was more of Arreola with a nice punishing jab that shoved Adamek all round the ring.
Arreola threw nice combinations and Adamek responded with thudding hooks to the body and a couple of low blows.
So far it has been the tale of threes, the first three rounds for Adame and the last three for Arreola.
Adamek won the seventh, eight and ninth on nice clean one-two-three(left-right-left) combinations to the body and the head. He would throw, and then dance out of the way frustrating Arreola, who motioned to Adamek to come fight.
Adamek ignored Arreola's attempts to lure him into a firefight and continued to circle, step in and deliver, back out and circle and repeat.
In rounds 10 and 11, Arreola ratcheted up the aggression and started throwing combinations of his own. He was very successful in driving Adamek into the ropes, and the crowd started to roar, but as he hit Adamek on top of the head with a straight right, he pulled back with it and visibly winced.
There was about a minute and a half left in the round and Arreola didn't use the right for the rest of round 10.
Arreola came out strong in round 11 and threw the right but pawed with it more than anything. Adamek ran and countered, but it was Arreola's round, because in the last minute he threw caution to the wind and fired the right hand again.
The bell rang and Arreola and Adamek came out for the twelfth round and they looked amazingly different. One announcer said Arreola looked like a bloody Shrek, which was an apt description, while Adamek looked ready for his high school senior pictures.
Arreola came out strong, but Adamek sidestepped him and picked him apart throughout the entire round, while he landed vicious combinations to the body and the head. Arreola threw the right with out holding back, but couldn't connect. He fought like a warrior to the end, but it was clear to me at least, that it just wasn't enough.
Judge's Scoring and Analysis
After the fight, he informed the announcers he injured his arm in the fifth round. For seven rounds of a heavyweight fight against a quality opponent, without a vital weapon, Arreola went to war.
Judges Scoring: 114-114 draw 115-113 Adamek 117-111 Adamek
Tomasz Adamek fought a smart, controlled fight, but he is not threat to either David Haye or the Klitschkos.
He circled Arreola, threw three punch combos, worked the body and did his best to avoid heavy exchanges with the larger Arreola. Adamek seemed determined to wear out Arreola, but did enough to win to the fight with clean effective punching.
The heavyweight champions are just too big, polished and strong for Adamek to succeed against. If one of the Klitschkos had Adamek on the ropes like Arreola did, they would have finished him off. If Arreola's arm hadn't been injured, he very well might have pulled it off.
Chris Arreola came into tonight's fight looking nothing like the fighter who was dominated by Klitschko and had trouble with Brian Minto.
He looked almost trim and light on his feet and seemed determined to establish a surprisingly crisp jab early in the fight. Arreeola's stamina was impressive, he did a minimum of clinching and he threw more combinations than at any time I could recall.
He was no match for Adamek's foot speed and his defense is still rudimentary, but Arreola fought a clean, fight with nice overhand rights and a jab that at times staggered Adamek.
Chris Arreola showed a ton of potential in this fight. It doesn't matter that he lost. He came in looking fit, fought a twelve round fight without giving away rounds while taking a break and looked agile and competitive.
Arreola fought hurt for seven rounds and he fought hard in every round.
If he continues to train hard, stay motivated and self assured, he should earn another shot at the title and when he does, he will be much better prepared to take advantage of it.
I doubt he will ever beat the Klitschkos, but I would love to see him fight Haye.
There's a new face in the heavyweight division and it's a familiar one: The Nightmare is back.