Sharkie’s Machine: Witherspoon’s Corner Gets Him DQ’d After Third Round
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (June 22, 2008)  
In a rare setting, two undefeated Heavyweights with nearly identical, unbeaten records fought each other, risking their unbeaten status at an early stage in their pro careers. Rare for an era characterized by protectionism. It was a clash of styles on the menu at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis when Chris Arreola (now 24-0, 22 KO’s) took on Chazz Witherspoon (now 23-1, 15 KO’s).

Arreola admits that he likes getting hit. It’s what lets him know he’s in a fight. Arreola’s a banger
and he loves mixing it up in a fight. Chazz Witherspoon is the nephew of former USBA Heavyweight Champion Tim Witherspoon. Chazz is a “boxer” and not a brawler.

The Fight

In the first round, Witherspoon showed some good boxing skills, used his height, landed some clean jabs and was able to handle Arreola, who landed a nice uppercut before rallying his offense. Witherspoon was the better boxer and landed more often from outside but let himself get drawn into a brawl late in the round that saw Arreola land a big right followed by a left that stunned Witherspoon and stole the round for Arreola. 10-9 Arreola.

In the second, Witherspoon (at the insistence of his corner) went back to boxing from the outside. Arreola pressured him into the ropes and scored well on the inside. Both scored in spots and had their moments. This round was pretty even in my eyes. 10-10.

In the third round, Arreola was steadily getting more aggressive, moving in, punching often. Witherspoon used his legs and tried to keep things at a favorable range. Arreola forced the issue and cracked Witherspoon with a series of punches upstairs and to the body that were setting the tone, in spite of Witherspoon’s efforts to box outside, he found himself against the ropes, with Arreola relentlessly punching up and down. Witherspoon tried to clinch but Arreola didn’t cooperate and landed a series of right, lefts or one-twos that saw Witherspoon go down.

After shakily beating the count, there was 52 seconds left. Arreola forced the action, punching Witherspoon into the corner ropes and taking one for every three or four he delivered. With ten seconds to go, Arreola rallied with a barrage of punches and at the bell, Witherspoon fell forward to the canvas. During the ref’s count, Witherspoon got up on wobbly legs and before the ref finished counting; one of Witherspoon’s corner men was inside the ring, which is illegal. Referee, Randy Phillips, took it upon himself to enforce this rule and disqualified Witherspoon. It was over. Arreola had won by DQ 3.

Arreola looked to be en route to winning by KO after hurting Witherspoon pretty badly in the final moment of the third round. Had the fight continued, no one will ever know what might’ve happened but it’s pretty safe to speculate that Arreola would have caught the rubbery legged Witherspoon and ended the fight in the fourth. In a way, Arreola got robbed of a KO victory.

I though the stoppage was unnecessary. The technicality was on the borderline of the rules because the bell had rung to end the round but since the ref was in the process of giving the fighter a ten count, technically, the round was still in progress. Witherspoon’s corner should’ve been more familiar with the rules. Their action cost Witherspoon whatever chance he may have had to turn things around.

Because of the nature of this stoppage, a rematch might be commercially feasible. Witherspoon did show some quality boxing skills and seemed capable of continuing during the post fight interview, where he spoke coherently and looked fine physically. I still think Arreola would have finished him in the fourth but, it is what it is.

Actually, I’d rather see Arreola go after some of the top guys in the division. He can bring some excitement back to the sleepiest division in boxing.

Can you imagine Chris Arreola against the likes of Sam Peter, Ruslan Chagaev, Alex Povetkin or Sultan Ibragimov? Those would be wars! Arreola showed a good chin, decent defense and a great willingness to FIGHT. With Arreola’s style, he might even give Wladimir Klitschko a run for his money.

Congratulations to Chris Arreola, who improved his record to 24-0, 22 KO’s. Arreola took some shots without flinching and attacked his opponent with no regard for the return. Reckless? Maybe—but definitely entertaining.
Chris Arreola is an example of what the Heavyweight division needs more of. I loved when he said during the post fight interview that he loves getting hit and fighting. He said, “I love it. I love to fight. I love getting hit cause if I’m not getting hit, then I’m not in a fight. I’m here to please everybody, the fans, everybody watching on TV. That’s what it’s all about. We’re entertainers. That’s how us Mexican’s do it, like Chazz did, we’re warriors and we came here and we fought.”

How refreshing.

Yeah, yeah, I know, don’t get too excited. But hey, it’s high time for a new star to rise at Heavyweight. It’s been pretty damn boring since Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko retired. Hell, it was even boring then. But all I can say now is I can’t wait to see Chris Arreola fight again!

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