|Arreola: Another Bowe Brewing?
By JD Camacho, DoghouseBoxing.com (Sept 25, 2009) Photo © Jan Sanders/Goossen Tutor Promotions
“The knock on him was that he was lazy,” mused commentator Jim Lampley to the HBO camera. “There were rumors all the time. He had to be barred from the kitchen during training. It was difficult for him to get up and do his roadwork.”
Sound like a certain undefeated American power-puncher on the eve of his first title shot? In 1992, Riddick Bowe unseated the indefatigable Evander Holyfield in a back-and-forth fight and earned the heavyweight championship. With the stirring victory, Bowe silenced the many critics who claimed he lacked the resolve to defeat the best. On Saturday night, another unbeaten, US-based knockout artist with questionable dedication has the opportunity to repeat history against a similarly inexorable champion.
This Saturday, Cristobal Arreola squares off against WBC heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko, a man many feel is the most formidable heavyweight boxer in the world. Few give Arreola a chance to win his first title fight. Some point to the size and experience disadvantages. Others claim Arreola lacks the conditioning to beat a top-flight heavyweight, and that Klitschko is as top-flight as they come.
Indeed, the battle of the bulge rather than the battle for the belt remains central to the Arreola discussion. How much will he weigh? How will he look? What will he eat? What WON’T he eat? But that shouldn’t be enough to dismiss Arreola as a legitimate challenger. After all, Riddick Bowe put together an all-time great performance against a hall-of-fame caliber champion despite all the skepticism around him.
“It was perhaps the best training camp we ever had,” said Bowe manager Rock Newman, speaking with HBO. “Bowe was ready to fight for the title.”
Newman’s words are analogous to Arreola trainer Henry Ramirez’s. “He’s in by far the best condition of his career because he’s done twice the work,” Ramirez told ringtv.com. “He had to for a fighter like Klitschko.”
And while Arreola lacks some of Bowe’s best attributes reach, a power jab, a vicious uppercut he brings lots of similar strengths to the table for his first title fight: Youth. Power. Desire. Those things can go a long way in a single fight. But Arreola’s preference, like Bowe’s, to eat rather than train may also be his downfall.
“Bowe was not a partier, was not a drinker, smoker, or drugger,” said Rock Newman. “What he did was he gorged himself.”
Not only does Arreola gorge himself he’s also a drinker. “The biggest thing that changed, though, was the beer,” Arreola said to RING correspondent Michael Rosenthal. “I’m not saying that I drank at training camps in the past, just not five or six weeks before the fight. This one, it’s been NINE weeks.”
Bowe’s gorging contributed to his loss in the rematch to Holyfield, and the quick decline of his skills thereafter. Arreola may suffer the same fate.
“Once [my trainer] came to my room and pounded on the door,” Arreola said, according to Rosenthal. “I wouldn’t answer. I said fk that; I didn’t want to go nowhere. But Henry had a key so he came in and woke my ass up. It wasn’t really early, 8, 8:30. I just didn’t want to go. I was tired; my body hurt. I asked, ‘Can I just go to the pool now?’”
Difficulty getting up to do roadwork? This is happening before Arreola has accomplished anything of lasting significance in this sport. How hungry will he be if he’s already champion? That question, perhaps, is twofold.
Cherish the Arreola you see on Saturday. If Bowe’s career is any indication, you may never see the same fighter again.
-The Floyd Mayweather Juan Manuel Marquez fight was a mismatch. You knew it. I knew it. Everybody saw it, if the projected pay-per-view buyrate turns out to be a true. It’s unfortunate that such a big event once again failed to showcase the sweet science at it’s best, it’s most exciting, and it’s most competitive. Events like that create lifelong fans. But I doubt it turned away anyone permanently. 1999 had two huge events turn into two huge disappointments bigger disappointments than Mayweather Marquez, the way I see it. What happened? Tons of casual fans bought pay-per-view fights in 2000 for the same fighters, no less…
-Speaking of the buyrate, Mayweather perhaps proved he’s something of a pay-per-view draw. Whether they’re fans of Floyd or not, people are tuning in to see Mayweather. That boxing even has a mainstream star like that is a good thing. It’d be better if he fought more exciting fights against the best available competition, but his PPV drawing power suggests that the casual fan can still be hyped for boxing. When that’s no longer the case, then boxing’s in trouble…
-Shame on Max Kellerman for pulling the mic away from the Mayweather-Shane Mosley-Bernard Hopkins drama. That stuff’s good television. WWE’s Triple H must have felt right at home…
-The deception at the weigh-in was low stuff from Team Mayweather. Let’s hope Miguel Cotto doesn’t get any ideas prior to his November fight with Manny Pacquiao…
e-mail JD at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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