Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola (28-1, 25 KO’s) didn’t wait long to return to the ring and Saturday night in Atlantic City, he faced the respectable Brian Minto (34-3, 21 KO’s) in a pretty entertaining, yet brief fight that saw two motivated fighters banging with the kind of frequency you’d expect from a lightweight fight. At six-foot, four inches tall, Arreola was the much bigger man and too big a climb for the five-foot eleven, Minto, who gave a spirited effort and landed many clean shots but took a pounding in the process.
It was all back and forth action for the first three rounds, with Minto scoring and fighting smart. Arreola always landed the heavier punches and was aggressive but a bit more relaxed than he’d been in past fights. Arreola has profited from his loss to Vitali Klitschko. That experience alone has made him a better fighter in subtle ways but the best way to tell would be to see him fight another very big HW.
Though Minto showed good skills and a huge heart, he was floored twice in the fourth round and though he got up at the count of nine on the second knock down, referee Eddie Cotton mercifully stopped it. Minto had already suffered a cut by his right eye and had a large swelling over his left eye.
There was a lot of respect from Arreola towards Minto when all was said and done. After all, Minto came to fight, he wasn’t just some tune up caliber tomato can there to make Arreola look good.
As for looking good, Arreola has been criticized for his lack of commitment to discipline between fights and entering the ring embarrassingly overweight. Ironically, Arreola came into this fight even 20 pounds heavier than he was when he faced Vitali Klitschko a little more than two months ago. But though Arreola weighed more, he had a lot less jiggle around his belly than he did a couple of months ago. Apparently Chris has converted some of that fat into muscle, which weighs more and is a good sign.
Chris Arreola has the right attitude and brings excitement to the division like no other American has in a while. I’d like to see him fight David Haye next but somehow I doubt Haye would be interested in such a risky fight. There are some other possibilities too, like Eddie Chambers, who’s a great boxer when he stays focused. I’d love to see how the top HW’s would fare in a HW version of the Super Six tournament. Imagine Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, Ruslan Chagaev, Alexander Povetkin, Eddie Chambers and Chris Arreola in a tournament? It would sure inject some interest in the dullest division in boxing, not to mention that it would sell a lot of tickets! Since that HW tournament idea is an unlikely scenario, wouldn’t it be funny to see Arreola fight former titlist Nicolay Valuev?