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Arreola vs. Walker on November 29th

Chris Arreola Travis WalkerBy Jim Dower: In a match-up between easily the two hardest heavyweight punchers in the U.S., undefeated contender Chris Arreola (25-0, 22 KOs) will face 6’4″ Travis Walker (28-1-1, 22 KOs) on November 29th at a yet to be determined location in the United States. Arreola, 27, who is coming off an impressive 3rd round stoppage of Israel Carlos Garcia on September 25th, was rumored previously to have been in the planning stages of a bout with the hard-punching David Tua. However, it looks as if nothing has come of that, leaving Arreola looking in another direction.

It’s a credit to him that he’s willing to face a puncher as dangerous as Walker, who although somewhat raw and unpolished as a fighter, arguably punches as hard as any heavyweight in the division, including heavyweight champions Samuel Peter and Wladimir Klitschko. What Walker doesn’t have that those fighters do, is solid defense and good boxing skills. He makes no bones about what he’s going to do in the ring, namely go right after his opponent and try to take him out as fast as he can with power shots to the head. Walker doesn’t waste much time on throwing body shots, instead preferring to go head hunting for knockouts.

He was a previous sparring partner for Vitali Klitschko in 2004, and was said to have dropped Klitschko in a sparring session with a tremendous shot while the Ukrainian was training for his ill-fated bout against Hasim Rahman. Watching Walker fight for just a few minutes, it’s obvious why he was able, if true, to knock Vitali down, because he punches like a freight train with both hands and is always dangerous no matter what type of punch he’s throwing. He gets a lot of power in his hooks, probably his best weapon, and loads up constantly with his shots. Unfortunately, this tends to slow him down, and make him easy to hit by his opponents.

So far, however, he’s fought almost exclusively soft opposition, making it hard to tell how good he really is. His lone loss, a 1st round TKO to TJ Wilson in October 2007, probably shouldn’t even be considered a loss because the referee stopped the fight in the first 15 seconds of the bout with Wilson landing a flurry of punches on Walker as he covered up on the ropes. Some of the shots, in particular the last four, landed to the head of Walker and caused him to momentarily drop his hands as if he were badly hurt.

But, as soon as the fight was stopped, Walker looked perfectly fine as if he was okay to continue fighting. Four months later, Walker proved that the loss was just a fluke by avenging his earlier defeat by stopping Wilson with a flurry of shots in the 2nd round. In his last bout, Walker destroyed Wallace McDaniel in a 1st round TKO in September.

As for Arreola, he’s been very impressive in the past year, stopping good solid heavyweights like Malcom Tann, Cliff Couser and Chazz Witherspoon. However, he came into his last fight against Garcia badly overweight and looking much slower than he did against Witherspoon, perhaps his best performance of his career. One would hope that he doesn’t continue to battle weight issues in the future, because he looks to have the type of body that easily puts weight on.

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