Chris Arreola: That was a different Chris Arreola we saw during and after his first-round knockout of Seth Mitchell on Saturday in Indio, Calif. No one is saying he has become a gym rat. And, no, he’s never going to be a serious threat to anyone named Klitschko. We have to give Arreola this, though: The Mexican-American looked as fit as he ever has, weighing a relatively tight 242 pounds. He trained in Arizona, far away from hometown distractions in the L.A. area. And his post-fight comments, while typically entertaining, also had an edge. At 32, he seems to understand that he must stay on course if he is to realize his dream of winning a world title. And things might be working his favor. Arreola (36-3, 31 knockouts) presumably will be the No. 2 contender for Vitali Klitschko’s WBC title, behind No. 1 Bermane Stiverne. If Klitschko retires – which some expect – Arreola and Stiverne could fight for the vacant title. In April, Stiverne outpointed Arreola, who suffered a broken nose early in the fight. A healthy Arreola would have a decent chance of earning that elusive belt.
Seth Mitchell: Mitchell’s efforts to transition from college football player to professional boxer have been impressive. Still, he has become a poster boy for a general rule: You can’t take up this sport in your 20s and expect to have great success. Mitchell (26-2-1, 19 KOs) has athleticism, power and, by all indications, a strong work ethic. He simply doesn’t have the skills that are learned at young age and honed over many years, as Arreola does. And, while we’re at it, Mitchell doesn’t appear to have the best chin. He has been hurt in each of his past three fights. All of that is why an interesting matchup of American heavyweights quickly turned into a mismatch everyone should’ve seen coming. Mitchell has vowed to continue fighting, which is no surprise. He has devoted more than five hard years to this endeavor, a significant investment that has yet to pay off. That doesn’t mean it would be a good idea, though. It seems more clear than ever that he isn’t going to make it big in boxing.
Burns-Beltran: The chorus of those who are appalled at the Ricky Burns-Raymundo Beltran draw is as loud as that of any recent bad decision. Virtually everyone believes Beltran, fighting in the WBO lightweight titleholder’s native Scotland, should’ve left the U.K. with the 135-pound belt around his waist. Andre Van Grootenbruel scored it for Beltran 115-113 but Richard Davies had it 114-114 and Carlos Ortiz Jr. somehow had Burns winning 115-112. Of course, another scoring debacle is bad for boxing. Viewers must perceive a level playing field for the sport to maintain its legitimacy. I feel particularly bad for Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KOs), though. He fought his way out of dire poverty in Mexico, became a trusted sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao and ultimately earned the right to fight for his first major title. And he appeared to realize his goal. That it was stolen from him by incompetent (worse?) judges is heartbreaking. By the way, Burns (36-2-1, 11 KOs) showed tremendous courage by fighting with a broken jaw.
Rafael Marquez(41-9, 37 KOs) could be finished after he was stopped in the ninth-round by Efrain Esquivias Saturday on the Arreola-Mitchell card, the Mexican’s second consecutive KO loss. The former two-division titleholder had his moments – even hurting Esquivias (17-2-1, 10 KOs) in the seventh round – but his war-weary body seems unable to take punishment. Whenever he steps away permanently, he’ll be remembered as one of the great warriors of his era. ÔÇª A number of observers thought Ronny Rios (22-0, 10 KOs) was the best of a young group of fighters Golden Boy Promotions featured in its defunct Fight Night Club series a few years ago. Nothing has changed recently. The L.A.-area featherweight outpointed journeyman Jose Angel Beranza (36-28-2, 28 KOs) in an eight-rounder on the Arreola-Mitchell card, the latest in a series of one-sided victories for Rios. He’s ready to take the next step. We’ll see how he does.