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McCline vs. Arreola: Chris Has A Lot to Lose If He’s Beaten

Chris Arreola Jameel McClineBy Dave Lahr: Four-time heavyweight title challenger Jameel McCline (39-9-3, 23 KOs) faces the tough task of fighting unbeaten Chris Arreola (26-0, 23 KOs) this Saturday night on the undercard of the Paul Williams vs. Ronald “Winky” Wright fight at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. McCline, 38, is coming into this Saturday’s bout having lost three out of his last four fights, although to good competition.

Despite his 6’6” 260 pound frame, McCline hasn’t been able to find much success in his career when stepping it up against good competition like Arreola. However, McCline showed against Samuel Peter just how dangerous he can be by knocking him down three times in the first two rounds of the fight. McCline also has previously knocked down Chris Byrd in a failed attempt at winning the IBF heavyweight title in 2004.

Likewise, McCline was giving World Boxing Association heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev all he’s worth in the 3rd round and was hammering the big Russian with combinations when suddenly McCline’s left knee became dislocated and he couldn’t continue fighting.

It was like fate had dropped its hand on McCline at that moment and taken away a golden opportunity for him to win a heavyweight title for the first time in his career. Who knows whether McCline could have continued giving the big bear-like Valuev problems in the coming rounds, but the important thing was McCline looked to be taking control over the fight at the time that his disappointing injury took place.

McCline followed that performance with a loss against Peter in October 2007, a fight in which McCline was leading in the first half of the bout, but ended up running out of gas and losing by a close decision. In McCline’s fight following that, he was beaten by John Ruiz by a 12-round decision loss in the WBC heavyweight title eliminator match in March 2008.

Just when it looked as if McCline’s career was on the ropes, Jameel sprang back to life with a 12-round decision over heavyweight prospect Mike Mollo in November 2008. The win showed what McCline was capable of when he fights behind his jab, fights tall and doesn’t wear himself out trying for a knockout.

Ranked #11 in the WBC, McCline call ill afford to lose if he wants to keep alive hope for an incredible fifth title challenge some point in the future. A loss to Arreola will likely knocked McCline even further down the heavyweight rankings and likely out of the top 15 altogether. At 38, working his way back into the top 15 would likely be a hard task if at all possible.

This is why McCline has to beat Arreola on Saturday night. However, it won’t be an easy task beating the 28-year-old Arreola, who’s ranked #2 in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight rankings and is considered by some to be the best heavyweight in the United States.

That may or may not be true, because Arreola still hasn’t fought anyone that I would consider talented enough to get a good gauge of his talent level. Arreola has beaten Chaz Witherspoon and Travis Walker, two good heavyweights, in the past year and dominated both of them.

However, Arreola looked vulnerable in getting knocked down in the 1st round by Walker and had to get up off the deck to come back and beat him. Additionally, Arreola has let himself balloon up in weight since defeating Witherspoon in June 2008.

Arreola came into his last two fights weighing a portly 258 and 254, looking way too heavy for him. He got the wins but was breathing hard at the end and didn’t look nearly as fast as he was when he fought in the low 240s. Arreola really needs this win if he’s to keep alive his hope of possibly one day fighting WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, who has stated that he’s interested in fighting Arreola. A loss to McCline would wipe that out along with the big payday that Arreola would no doubt be getting in a fight with Vitali.

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