Sharkie's Machine: Chris Arreola TKO’s Travis Walker in Three in a Peek at the Future of American Heavyweight Division
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Nov 30, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor  
On Saturday night, from Ontario California , we got a glimpse of the future of the HW division here in the USA . The future looks bright too, as Cristobal Arreola (26-0, 23 KO’s) took on Travis Walker (28-2-1, 22 KO’s) in an exciting fight that lasted all of three rounds and produced more drama than I’ve seen in all the rounds of HW boxing in 2008. The prize involved the NABF Title, the WBC Continental Americas Title as well as the number two ranking in the WBC.

The crowd booed when Travis “Freight Train” Walker entered the ring.

They screamed in adoration as Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola made his entrance. Let’s get right to business.

Round One

Walker was first, popping his jab and then landed a series of punches, mostly rights into Arreola’s face and head, causing Arreola to clinch. A moment later, Arreola tried to initiate the punching and Travis jumped all over him with a swarm of punches, many landing cleanly. Chris again clinched. Walker jabbed Arreola into a defensive posture, with Walker ’s shots often breaking past his guard, often to the body. Arreola landed a nice left just before the bell but it looked like we might’ve been seeing a quick end to the high hopes for Chris Arreola, as he was outworked, out punched and dominated in round one by a fighter of perceived lesser status.

Round 2

They exchanged, with Arreola marching forward into Walker as they banged heads after exchanging a few punches. Walker landed a combination set up by a jab, followed by a right that put Arreola on his seat. Chris got up at eight. When action resumed, Walker continued to beat Chris to the punch and back him up. Arreola landed a couple of shots and was starting to back Walker up when Time Out was called to replace Walker ’s mouthpiece. Action continued and Arreola landed a crushing right that saw Walker clinch. Arreola followed up with a series of his punches that put Walker down. When action resumed, Arreola went for the finish, aggressively chasing Walker down with a barrage of punches. Walker held and the Ref separated them. Arreola pressed him again, landing another combo that floored Walker . Walker got up, with seconds left and Arreola went after him again but Walker survived the remaining seconds. Three knockdowns in one round! Wow.

Round Three

With Walker still a bit a bit stunned, Arreola landed a combination forcing Walker towards the ropes, where an Arreola left hook sent him to the canvas. The ref called immediately waved the fight off, while a restrained Walker protested the stoppage. The ref crouched over Walker , blocking him from trying to get up. The ringside doc rushed in and started to quickly do the eye test thing. I thought that stoppage was questionable. If Walker was clearly conscious and appeared capable of continuing, why not let him stand up and take a count? That stoppage felt like a method to insure a desired outcome for the favorite. Arreola didn’t need the ref’s help to get the KO; he might’ve gotten it anyway. And maybe the tide would’ve changed yet again? We’ll never know. Either way, its official; Chris Arreola gets the win by KO in three.

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Against Arreola, Walker crumbled a bit after being hit a few times. But Walker is still a pretty good puncher. I look forward to seeing him fight again and hopefully against someone in the “top fifteen” of the division. Its time to bring in some new contenders to the HW scene here in America, where most of the best boxers at this weight class are playing pro Football in the NFL for real, consistent money, 401K’s, health insurance galore and an almost guaranteed financially set future. Adam “Pacman” Jones notwithstanding.

Congratulations to Cristobal Arreola on a tremendous show of determination will. He showed a great chin, ability to absorb punishment and then the ability to drop the hammer on his opponent for the finish when the moment presented itself. During the post fight interview, when asked about being knocked down in round two, Arreola credited Walker for being, “a strong Mother F’ker.” Then in answer to the next question, he said, “Shit…I got to get back up and win the round…” The crowd loved it. Hey, Arreola’s entertaining.

Chris Arreola still hasn’t done anything too notable and the truth is, he’s still a prospect—but he’s EXACTLY what the HW division here needs to breathe life back into it. With the sturdy chin he showed Saturday, he could very well be ready to face the top guys in the division, all two of them, Wladimir Klitschko or his most dangerous brother, Vitali Klitschko. I’d love to see him fight rising star David Haye right away. Haye is explosive on offense and Arreola is built like a tree. I can’t imagine Haye can chop that tree down but only the ring would provide the facts on that case. Let’s hope it happens. Haye just fought recently and could easily schedule to meet up with Arreola in a couple of months to prove which one of them is the better fighter. With his #2 spot in the WBC, his next opponent will probably be Juan Carlos Gomez, the #1 ranked WBC fighter. That one seems easy to handicap.

Thanks to Cristobal Arreola, for bringing excitement back to the American HW division.

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