Arreola Outslugs Minto in Four


When Chris Arreola was annihilated by Vitali Klitschko in September, most experts pointed to the enormous gap in ability as the cause of the bludgeoning. But there were many who felt Arreola gave himself even less of a chance when he weighed in at 251 pounds going into the fight.

In the post-fight interview, a sobbing and cursing Arreola vowed to return better than ever. It would have been hard for anyone to call him a liar at that moment. On the undercard of the Williams-Martinez bout, he returned, but whether he showed any improvement is up for debate.

Rather than commit to harder training going forward, the often-criticized Arreola weighed in for his rebound fight against the limited – both in size and ability – Brian Minto at an astonishing 263 pounds – a career heaviest.

Still, Minto, being four inches shorter and 45 pounds smaller, wasn’t given much of a chance. But in heavyweight boxing, the unexpected often becomes reality, and Minto surprised a lot of people by putting up quite a fight against Arreola.

Minto landed the first good shot of the fight – a clean right hand thirty seconds into round one. Arreola took it well and came back with his own right that, combined with getting their feet tangled, sent the smaller Minto staggering aside. Later in the round, Arreola bounced a thudding left-right combination off Minto’s face, helping him to win it, but Minto got in his licks, including the same combination to the face of Arreola.

After slugging with Arreola to start round two, Minto dug in with a body shot but absorbed two short left hooks. Minto then stepped in and blasted Arreola with a hard right hand that turned his head, but Arreola countered with another hook. Again, Minto scored big with a right, only to catch an equally hard one in return. After eating three crunching jabs, Minto bulled in and scored with a left-right combination to the head. But it was Arreola who finished the round strongest, landing two big rights that nearly dropped Minto.

Coming out for round three, Minto was cut over his right eye and swelling badly under his left. Arreola took advantage by snapping Minto’s head back with his jab. When Minto tried to run through it, Arreola caught him with a right and a left hook. Minto then came through with a clean right to the side of Arreola’s head, and Arreola briefly clinched before Minto followed up with a smacking left hook. They finished the round trading along the ropes, with neither man backing down.

Though he had lost every round, Minto had made them all competitive, landing more than his share of power punches. Early in round four, he walked through a hard left hook to snap Arreola’s head back with a big uppercut that nearly saw Arreola fall over the top rope. But back in the center of the ring, it was Arreola’s fight again. He bombed Minto with a pair of one-twos to the head, the second of which almost caused Minto’s glove touch the canvas as he doubled over. Rising to full height again, Minto turned into another straight right hand from Arreola, and, this time, he dropped to a knee before lying out flat on his stomach.

Minto got up to his knees by Referee Eddie Cotton’s count of seven, then stood up, bleeding from the bruise under his left eye. Arreola quickly marched forward and drilled Minto with two more one-twos to the face. Incredibly, Minto battled back, landing a left hook and a right that drove Arreola into the ropes. Minto buried in another right and grabbed Arreola around the waist, slamming him into the ropes. Arreola pulled away, and Minto slumped to all fours on the canvas, nearly spent.

When Arreola came in to finish the fight, Minto blasted him with a three-punch combination to the head, fighting back rather than clinching and trying to survive the final minute. Three more right hands landed flush for Arreola, but Minto stayed upright and punching to the shock of the crowd. Another huge right hand from Arreola nearly took Minto’s head off but failed to put him down.

Minto marched forward, walking through five flush power shots from Arreola, the last of which was a left hook that doubled him over and saw him fall between the ropes but not completely through them. Arreola turned and slammed home a left-right combination to the head, and Minto collapsed face down on the canvas before Ray Mercer’s demolition of Tommy Morrison could be reenacted.

Minto rolled over onto his back, looking out of it, but he continued rolling to all fours and stood just after Cotton’s count of nine, though he was wobbly. Cotton took a close look and waved off the fight for the sake of the fighter because Minto was not going to quit. He was escorted to his stool and surprisingly appeared to be fine.

The win really means nothing for Arreola, who was just looking to get back into the ring quickly after suffering his first defeat. But because his weight increased since the embarrassing loss to Klitschko, it appears the effort was wasted. Training did not keep him in shape nor should the fight have restored any confidence, given how most realized Minto had no chance anyway.

Arreola is not the savior Americans are looking for in the heavyweight division. The fact that he is praised for being able to punch in combination tells just how bad the division is – perhaps the worst ever seen. Arreola is an explosive personality, but his limited skill set will make it almost impossible to win a heavyweight title. His inability to control his weight gives him no shot whatsoever.

A much more talented fighter named James Toney, who, ironically enough, was also promoted by Dan Goossen, was never able to get his weight under control, which seemed to be all he needed to do to collect several of the heavyweight belts, so there is no reason to believe Arreola can ever be the total package. Like Toney, however, he will remain a draw for his personality and the fact that his fights are flat out entertaining.