Is Tua Next For Arreola?
By Manuel Perez: After watching #7th ranked WBC heavyweight champion Chris Arreola (24-0, 21 KOs) make easy work of unbeaten heavyweight prospect Chazz Witherspoon, stopping him in the 3rd round after the referee disqualified him due to his corner help entering the ring while Witherspoon was being given the standing eight count after being knocked down, Arreola moves on towards a possible fight with former heavyweight title challenger for later on this year. Tua, 35, has a fight against a yet to be determined opponent on July 12th, but if he comes out the winner of that fight, which most fully expect him to, this will set up a huge potential fight between the up and coming Arreola and Tua.
Arreola, only 27, has quickly proven himself as one of the best up and coming heavyweights in American, and perhaps in the entire world. He’s got everything you would want from a fighter – good size at 6’4″ 240 lbs, enormous power and a non-stop punching style of fighting, which he uses to batter his opponents into submission. While he doesn’t have true one-punch power or anything resembling that, the fact that he hits hard and constant, evens things out and makes him just as dangerous a puncher than he would be if he did have enormous power. He’s like a big hammer in the ring, one that pounds away at his opponents over and over again without stop.
Eventually, Arreola drives his opponents to the canvas with a mass accumulation of blows to the head and body. He throws combinations and tends not to give his opponents any breathing room with which to get a break from his nonstop attacks. Unlike other top heavyweights like Wladimir Klitschko and Samuel Peter, Arreola isn’t dependent on using his right hand, and is equally comfortable with throwing both hands with good power.
Based on his busy work rate, Arreola would figure naturally to be a very tough opponent for the 35 year-old Tua, who hasn’t fought a top fighter in years, dating back all the way to 2003 when he fought to a draw against Hasim Rahman. That fight signaled a point in which Tua stepped away from boxing for a period of two years while he worked out managerial problems and other things in his life. When he came back in 2005, Tua seemed a changed fighter, much more cautious in terms of whom he fought. Indeed, Tua has fought a big string of third tier fighters starting from Talmadge Griffis to most recently beating Cerrone Fox, and the one remaining constant is the low quality of his opponents.
It seems that Tua has lost his nerve a little, like a person that falls from a horse and is afraid to get back on for some reason. At 35, he needs to have more urgency than he’s been showing, which is why it was a big relief when word came out that Tua was interested in fighting the winner of the Chazz Witherspoon vs. Chris Arreola fight that took place last Saturday night at the FedEx Forum, in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s unclear whether Tua will choose to fight Arreola or not, but if he does, this will be a fight that likely interest a lot of boxing fans around the world.
At first glance, this is the kind of match-up that would be in Tua’s favor, for Arreola goes right after his opponents trying to take them out from the opening bell. Tua, who with his limited height and reach, has mostly mediocre boxing skills with which to use against heavyweights with more height and reach. However, when Tua has a heavyweight that goes right at him, throwing nonstop punches like Arreola, Tua has historically done well against them. You couldn’t compare Arreola to Rahman or Lewis, two taller fighters that Tua had problems with, because Arreola will most likely go right at Tua and won’t box like Lewis or Rahman.
Even if Arreola does choose to do something unexpected like boxing from the outside, I can’t see him doing it for long, because he’s never showing the ability to box even for short [periods of time much less an entire 10-round bout. As such, it would come down to which fighter has the better chin – Tua or Arreola. I don’t see either of them backing up an inch, not for one second. The winner of the fight will get a huge bump up in the ratings, and would likely put them in the driver’s seat for a future heavyweight title shot against one of the champions like Klitschko.
Arreola looked very impressive against Witherspoon last Saturday night, immediately going after him and walking through Witherspoon’s excellent jabs. Arreola gave Witherspoon no room with which to set up his jab or defense, staying on top of him and letting him have it with a steady stream of combinations. In fact, Arreola never stopped punching from the opening bell and quickly backed Witherspoon up to the ropes where Arreola unloaded on him with hooks and straight rights to the head. Witherspoon tried to fight back the best he could, but he was really out of his element and no match for Arreola’s all out brawling style of fighting. At the end of the 1st round, Arreola succeeded in staggering Witherspoon with a big left hook to the head. Though Witherspoon made it out of the round, he was in bad shape as he walked back to his corner.
I figured that he’d be lucky if he could recover from the shot enough to make it out the next round in one piece. To his credit, Witherspoon fought well in the 2nd round shooting jabs and right hands in on Arreola and matching him punch for punch. However, the pace that Arreola was fighting at seemed to be having a withering effect on Witherspoon, who began to look a little haggard looking by the end of the round. Witherspoon often likes to fight at a slower, more deliberate pace which he usually dictates to his opponent. Arreola, though, wasn’t about to fight at a slower pace, as he seemed to be fighting in top gear and didn’t appear to be even considering taking it down a notch in the following rounds.
This is where Witherspoon got in trouble, for in the 3rd round Arreola, like in the two prior rounds, immediately jumped on Witherspoon, tagging him with big nonstop shots and quickly hurt Witherspoon, causing him to retreat to the ropes where he attempted to cover up. It was no use, however, as Arreola hit Witherspoon with an avalanche of shots ending with two big lefts, causing Witherspoon to fall backwards onto the canvas. He got up and was checked out by the referee and then the action was resumed.
Arreola immediately started back in where he left off, hitting Witherspoon with a massive amount of shots to the head, backing him up and burying him with unanswered shots. Seconds later, Witherspoon went down for the second time in the round, this time falling face first on the canvas. He got up, staggered backwards into the ropes, and was given the standing eight count by the referee. While the referee was checking over Witherspoon, the corner help of Witherspoon came out on the canvas, as the round had ended while the referee was giving Witherspoon the count.
Thinking it was now okay to come into the ring, Witherspoon’s trainers assisted him in walking back to his corner. The referee, however, instead of immediately calling a halt to the fight, disqualifying Witherspoon, seemed to wait five to ten seconds before stopping the fight and signaling that Witherspoon had been disqualified. It’s unknown why he chose to wait that long, or whether someone had talked to him during that time. It would have gone over better if he had stopped the fight with Witherspoon still in the ring, but it still would have caused a lot of anger on the part of Witherspoon, because they felt that they were in the right to come out on the ring apron as the round had already ended.
Never the less, in the grand scheme of things, I doubt that it changes much. There was no way that Witherspoon would have survived the round, because Arreola was just too strong, too busy and in too good of shape for Witherspoon to deal with. It was like watching a larger version of Antonio Margarito vs. Kermit Cintron, with Arreola acting the part of the nonstop punching Margarito. However, in this case, Witherspoon didn’t even have massive punching power going for him like Cintron had.