Saturday, July 2, 2016

Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola

Legacy Arena, Birmingham, AL, July 16
TV: Fox
By Peter Lim

Until about five years ago, Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) would have been custom-made for Arreola. In his prime, the tough, concrete-chinned Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) had a crowd-pleasing knack for walking down slicker opponents with better skills, taking their best shots and steamrolling them with wrecking-ball hooks and crosses. But Arreola's punch resistance is not what it used to be and his reaction time has eroded with age.

Despite his imposing size, Wilder, 30, is alarmingly easy to hit. He has unheedingly allowed crude brawlers to effortlessly penetrate his guard and rock him with clean solid punches. So far, he has managed to get in the knockout punch before all of his opponents, but if the mediocre fighters the likes of Eric Molina and Johann Duhaupas could stun him, who knows what kind of damage a seasoned top-notch heavyweight like Arreola in his prime might inflict on him.

Unless Arreola, 35, can turn back time and recapture his relentless pressure-fighting form, he will be custom made for Wilder at this juncture of their careers. Arreola has been reduced to a plodder, half a step too slow on his feet and a split second too slow on the trigger. Wilder will dictate the action, break him down, bust him up and stop him in the seventh round.

Kudos to Arreola's corner for stopping the fight. He's done as a major player in the heavyweight division.

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