By Gary Purfield
Chris Arreola fought for the second time in thirteen days and gets his second win in the same amount of time. He has won four straight but more importantly seems to have committed himself to his craft and his physique. Thirteen days ago he stopped Nagy Aguilera in the third round and gladly took the opportunity to headline ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. The quick return to the ring kept Arreola who is known for falling out of shape between fights active and in the gym to keep healthy.
Arreola 32-2 (28 KO) dominated from start to finish over Kendrick Releford 22-15-2 (10 KO). He opened by banging to the body and sneaking in right uppercuts through his opponents guard. By round five Releford was looking worn down. In round six Releford was getting bombed from every direction and stepped back to take a knee. He rose and managed to survive the round but by this point the outcome was clear.
Arreola continued his punishing attack in round seven and snapped Releford’s head back several times with uppercuts from both hands. Finally mid-way through the round with Arreola teeing off and Releford all but out on his feet the referee jumped in to stop the fight delivering Arreola a seventh round TKO win.
Arreola looked impressive in his new slimmed down body that weighed 236lbs down 30 pounds from where he was three fights back. He has better endurance, his punches come faster, and at a higher work rate. Sure Releford is not a beast but he is a decent journeyman pro and Arreola had no problem dominating every minute of every round.
The question is will this new found commitment to honing his skills and his body last. Arreola was once considered the top American hope for a heavyweight champ. He had a perfect record, a loyal fan base, and regular spots on HBO. Then along the way he began ballooning in weight out of the 230’s where he was when he scored his impressive win over Chazz Witherspoon and into the 250’s where he was when he was dominated and stopped by Vitali Klitschko in his title opportunity.
With another chance on HBO against Tomasz Adamek the Nightmare Arreola made no attempt to properly train and was outworked by the smaller but better conditioned Adamek. Arreola has since admitted that he lost that fight before the bell rang due to not preparing properly. As his commitment went down so did the support from fans who did not pack the seats anymore and HBO no longer televised his fights.
Now it appears he has turned that corner where maturity gets the better of an adult and they start to realize what matters. Arreola is saying all the right things about his commitment and dedication. If he follows through he has the talent and personality to be a big figure (relatively big at least in size hopefully) in the boxing picture. Between his exciting action fighting style and very colorful personality complete with total lack of filter during interviews he is made for TV. Boxing needs quality fighters with colorful personalities to draw viewers and the Mexican American heavyweight fits that bill in every way.
Time will tell how his career will go. Keeping him busy and in the gym seems to be the plan which should be effective for a fighter with Arreola’s love of food.. Ultimately though whatever plan that is laid out by trainer Henry Ramirez, promoter Dan Goosen, manager Al Haymon, it is only Arreola that can choose to be dedicated and continue this new positive path to the top.
In the first fight of the evening heavyweight Tony Thompson scored a 3rd round TKO over Maurice Harris. Thompson 36-2 (24 KO) who previously lost in a title shot by knockout to Wladimir Klitshko landed a right hook to the head of Harris 24-15-2 (10 KO) that dropped his opponent and ended the night. With the win Thompson earns a fight against Eddie Chamber for the mandatory IBF shot at Wladimir Klitschko. Thompson has won five straight since the loss to Klitschko.
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