By Robert Aaron Contreras
As a part of a Brooklyn homecoming show on FOX, Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KO) extended his perfect record against the recognizable slugger Chris Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KO), pouring it on over the entire 12 rounds, a punch output apparently unmatched by any heavyweight fight in the CompuBox history.
The judges had it 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111 for Kownacki, who showcased his talent in front of a familiar partisan crowd at the Barclays Center. Competing there for the ninth time, finally on the main stage.
“I thought it was a good fight,” Kownacki told PBC correspondent Heidi Androl. “Close—but I know I pulled it out. Chris is an Aztec Warrior. I gotta keep sharpening my skills. Hopefully next year I get a title shot.”
The fireworks were off from the opening round. Thee proper heavyweight slugfest, Kownacki chugged along, moving forward behind his jab. Arreola was there to fight. The veteran did his best work up close and personal. Neither man’s fists stopped oscillating.
Almost entirely, and in both directions, the punches remained upstairs. Kownacki continually plugged away at one-two combinations. Hardly bending at the waist, he simply slung leather from an upright stance. Still generating power, his crisp blows reminded champion-turned-broadcaster Deontay Wilder of a poor man’s George Foreman.
Arreola had his own assortment of winging punches. But sometime in the the third round he took back the center of the ring only to have his head snapped back from uppercuts. It was that array of creative punching that was hedging the fight in Kownacki’s favor.
But in the fourth frame, Arreola’s best combo—a sloppy jab followed by an awkward, stiff overhand right—did find its target. Between rounds, his trainer Dan Goosen’s implored his fighter to double up on his punches.
Kownacki, however, outworked the older man. He strung together punches from every angle. His one-two began to vary, not always ending in a straight right hand but also the occasional chopping blow. He pelted away at the giant in front of him at a rate that amazed even heavyweight legend Lennox Lewis who was commentating ringside.
The opposing heavyweights mixed it up through the middle stages. And in the ninth round, Kownacki had seemed to make a dent in Arreola, who would drop his hands, and step back in exhaustion (or despair) with every exchange. Up close, Kownacki adjusted and took advantage of Arreola putting his head down, drumming the sides of the Mexican-American’s head.
Pushing 270 pounds, Kownacki had never seen the championship rounds of 11 and 12. So Arreola thought he was out of gas and sat back, willing to catch blows, waiting—one, two three shots bouncing off of him—and then return singular punches of his own.
In the end, Kownacki still delivered more accurate shots, more often. He connected on 35 percent of his total punches, compared to 26 percent for Arreola. Together, Compubox numbers recorded over 2,000 punches between both of them.
Arreola, 38, was still happy with his work. And, as it turned out, his career too.
“I honestly feel like it’s about time,” Arreola said, suggesting his retirement. “I let it hang out. Even after breaking my hand—there was no quitting. I know I cracked him with a few punches. But he kept coming.”
Kownacki, 30, is on an opposite trajectory. Now in prime position for a world title. Saturday marked his second victory of 2019, coupled with a quick knockout in January of Gerald Washington. He ranks in the Top 5 by both the WBC and IBF, making him eligible to fight either one of the world’s beltholders in Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr.
Jean Pascal upsets Marcus Browne for light heavyweight title
Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KO) rolled into Browne’s (23-1, 18 KO) backyard to take away his WBC light heavyweight belt—overcoming +1300 odds—knocking down the champion three times and eventually mauling him in the latter stages of a fight that would come to a screeching halt in the eighth period from a clash of heads.
Browne, dethroned, and blood above his eye, was not in the ring to hear the technical decision: 75-74 across the board for Pascal, who reclaimed championship gold at 36 years old.
“I dropped him three times,” Pascal said after the fight. “Even though it was close, I was winning the fight. We have the best rapper in the game—Drake. We have the NBA championship. And now I’m taking the light heavyweight belt back to Canada.”
Canadian faithful must have been holding their breath through the first three rounds, their man Pascal clearly on the losing end. Browne and his challenger traded power blows in the opening round, but Browne secured a lead, jabbing, and throwing at a higher output.
It was the same routine in the fourth frame. More jolting jabs from Browne before he began sitting down on winging lefts that backed up Pascal. But overconfident, he never saw the right hand Pascal would uncork later in the round that stretched out the champion.
Browne popped up and flashed a wide grin, beating the count, wherein Pascal chased him around with punches to close the inning.
The action picked up in the fifth, highlighted by a handful of phone booth exchanges. But with an adjustment, aiming punches to the midsection, Browne seemed to have stolen back the momentum, nicking the next two rounds.
As Pascal’s output continue to dwindle, Browne racked up more points: extending his right hand and timing a slashing left hook into Pascal leaning over. But lo! another buzzing right hand eventually clipped Browne, dropping him—again.
The champ got up smiling—deja vu setting in. But he was back on the canvas before the end of the seventh from a short exchange along the ropes, his legs unsteady.
Pascal did what he had to in the eighth round, bullying his opponent, chippy shots reigning down from all over. Just enough to snatch the remaining moments of this grudge match.
Eventually, the opposing fighters leaned into one another, a burst of sweat exploded from their colliding foreheads. Referee Gary Rosado immediately called for the ringside physician and the title tilt was over.
There was not word from Browne, who left early to lick his wounds. Tragic happenstance following his last fight, a title winning performance over Badou Jack, who was similarly cut open—cartoonishly gashed across the forehead.