By Jackie Kallen
Some say that everyone deserves a second chance. For Chris Arreola, he is hoping to capitalize on his. A one-time prospect in the heavyweight division, his train came crashing to a halt and derailed when he got squashed by Vitali Klitschko in 2009 in Los Angeles. He still relives that nightmare every day in his mind and vows to get even. But first he has to get through Bermane Stiverne this weekend in Ontario, CA.
Not too many boxing fans ever took Arreola seriously in the first place. He is a soft, sometimes-overweight Mexican American whose only meaningful win was against Jameel McCline five months before the Klitschko debacle. He stepped up to the big leagues again in 2010 by facing Tomasz Adamek, but fell short and lost the decision.
Since then, Arreola has fought and beaten seven average opponents. Yet he still dreams of becoming the Heavyweight Champion of the World and a win on Saturday will certainly help. It will put him back up where he wants to be in the division: In line for a title shot.
Stiverne, from Las Vegas, is a stepping stone. At 6’2″ he is an inch shorter than Arreola. He is also three years older. He has only one loss on his record and that was back in 2007. Since then he has won 11 straight fights, knocking out 8 of those opponents. He stopped 20-0 Kertson Manswell in 2011 by flattening him in the second round.
Both Arreola and Stiverne are predicting victory and both feel that a win will boost their careers. Neither has fought in over a year and it will be interesting to see which man has the most ring rust. They are both heavy hitters, so a knockout ending is a strong possibility.
The Top 10 in the world heavyweight division contains only two American-born names: Tony Thompson and Jonathon Banks. Thompson is 41 years old already and was stopped by Wladimir Klitschko twice. Banks was knocked out by Adamek in 2009. Boxing fans are hoping that one day the heavyweight crown will again sit on the head of an American. The dynasty created by Ali, Holmes and Tyson is in the past. Is there anyone on the horizon who will bring the glory back home?
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen