Miami Herald boxing article by Santos Perez on Cris Arreola.
Arreola: A boxer on rise
Posted on Mon, Nov. 24, 2008
BY SANTOS A. PEREZ
Evander Holyfield and Cris Arreola define the current extremes and wilderness that have become American heavyweight boxing.
One fighter clings to his name and history for one additional payday and championship thrill while the other pushes for a breakthrough and provide the weight class its first established attraction in a decade.
Sadly, American heavyweights have failed to captivate since a younger Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe and Michael Moorer ruled the division.
Similar to an aging golf champion receiving annual invitations to participate in the Masters, Holyfield continues to land title fights. The 46-year-old, four-time heavyweight champion will face World Boxing Association titleholder Nicolay Valuev Dec. 20 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Holyfield has not fought since October 2007, when he lost a lopsided decision against Sultan Ibragimov for the World Boxing Organization belt. Despite Holyfield’s lengthy inactivity and diminished skills, the WBA rewards him with another title bid against the seven-foot Valuev.
The casual fan will likely recognize Holyfield instead of Arreola if both fighters were spotted in public. But Arreola, 27, soon could cure the American heavyweight malaise, considering his convincing rise through formative bouts and now to television performer.
”There are a lot of young heavyweights that are good, but the problem with the division is the matchmaking,” Arreola said Saturday. “Who wants to see Valuev-Holyfield?
“People are trying to live off their names. No offense but [ Hasim] Rahman is still living off his knockout win over Lennox Lewis years ago. More power to him.”
Arreola has won his first 25 fights, 22 by knockout. The Los Angeles native will fight on his second HBO telecast with a scheduled 10-round bout against Travis Walker on Saturday in Ontario, Calif.
A victory over Walker (28-1, 22 KOs) could move Arreola into a line of fights against former champions — the progression fighters usually make before earning the title bout.
Ricky Hatton scored an 11th-round technical knockout over Paulie Malignaggi late Saturday in Las Vegas.
Malignaggi (26-2) stunned Hatton with a right to the head late in the second but could not follow up with telling shots. Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs) recovered and increased punch volume for the remainder of the junior-welterweight bout.
Miami promoter Felix Zabala Jr. will present his final card of the year at Miccosukee Resort and Gaming on Dec. 5.
The eight-bout card will be headlined by a regional super-flyweight title fight between Mexico’s Jesus Jimenez and Colombia’s Luis Melendez.
Miami’s Joey Hernandez remained undefeated with a fourth-round technical knockout victory over Jesse Davis Friday night in Hammond, Ind. A junior-middleweight, Hernandez is now 14-0 with seven knockouts.