Arreola as couragous as ever in defeat
Chris Arreola (left) didn't beat Tomasz Adamek on Saturday but he also didn't hold back. Photo / Naoki Fukuda
ONTARIO, Calif. – Chris Arreola is ridiculed because of his flabby body, which his critics cite as evidence that he doesn’t train properly. Even the 10 hard rounds he fought as he got pummeled by Vitali Klitschko couldn’t convince them otherwise.
Yet there he was on Saturday, fire burning in his heart in the 12th round of a grueling war with Tomasz Adamek, angrily trying to coax the tough, but cautious Pole into three more minutes of brutal warfare. And he did it with his left eye almost closed, the result of painful head butts he said, and a throbbing left hand he injured in the middle rounds.
Arreola isn’t and never will be a gym rat but he trains to fight 12 rounds, which he does with purpose if he has to. And no one ever said he boxes as well as someone like Adamek, although he holds his own for such a big man.
However, he fights with the kind of reckless passion that has drawn fans to this sometimes-exhilarating sport since men started throwing blows. The fans who stood on their feet and roared their approval during his best moments on Saturday are proof of that. He’s not the best fighter in the world — as his loss to Adamek indicates — but he’s a fighter through and through.
We love boxing because of the Chris Arreolas who lace up gloves.
“That was the toughest fight I ever fought,” said Adamek, who has been in a lot of tough fights.
Everyone knew Adamek (41-1, 27 knockouts) was the better boxer going into the fight. The question was whether he could handle the power of a young, legitimate heavyweight like Arreola, who outweighed him by 33¾ pounds. Turns out he can.
That didn’t deter Arreola, though. He stalked the smaller man from beginning to end. Adamek, the much quicker of the two, peppered his face with quick jabs and landed hard combinations. Still, Arreola stalked. He hurt his hand. Still, he stalked.
And, certain that he could hurt Adamek, he had his moments. He rocked Adamek with a left and follow up flurry in the fifth round, at which time he thought he had his man. He did the same in the sixth and then again in the 10th, when a right seemed to send a shiver through Adamek’s body.
Yet Adamek, perhaps the toughest boxer in the world pound for pound, never faltered. He stuck to his stick-and-move game plan and the result was an important victory in his quest to become heavyweight champion.
“He did what he wanted to do in the fight,” said Arreola, who had no problem with the decision.
It was close. Judge Tony Crebs scored it 114-114 while Barry Druxman and Joseph Pasquale scored it 115-113 and 117-111 for Adamek, respectively, the final score an insult to a fighter who laid his heart on the line in the ring.
However, he has now lost two of his past three fights. That probably leaves him out of the title picture at the moment, although one never knows in this crazy sport.
Arreola (28-2, 25 KOs) won’t quit, though. He’ll continue to eat like there’s no tomorrow and then work off the extra pounds before his next fight with the help of strength and conditioning coach Darryl Hudson. He’ll continue to be ridiculed for the way he looks but will be ready to fight.
And, when the time comes, he’ll continue to fight has hard as he possibly can. That’s who he is.
“Boxing is a spectator sport,” said Arreola, his face red and swollen after the fight. “Without great spectator fights there would be no spectators. If someone else had fought Adamek, it probably would’ve been a boring-ass fight.
“I made that exciting fight happen. It was me.”
It always is.