Yeah...you read the title correctly.
Last Saturday night, Vitali “Dr. Ironfist” Klitschko successfully defended his piece of the Heavyweight title against a very determined, very game, and “will not quit” minded Cristobal “Nightmare” Arreola in front of a packed house at Staples Center in Los Angeles California.
For those of you who missed the fight, it was what you’d have expected for the most part of a Vitali Klitschko fight. There were three other unexpected events that I will get to, but overall- this fight was all Vitali.
Dr. Ironfist used his awkward stance (a few other writers, editors and I believe that Vitali has such success being awkward because he is a boxer who still uses the movement from his days as a kickboxing champion) and his giant stature to keep Chris at the end of his punches. Chris isn’t a little man by any means, and Chris still looked small when he was in the ring with Klitschko. It was obvious that he was outgunned in height and reach from the onset, but many were expecting that to be the case.
Many people (including myself) figured that either Chris was going to get steam-rolled within either three or eight rounds. The consensus was that Chris just was not the type of fighter who was on a level anywhere near that of Vitali Klitschko. Hell- I have bagged on Chris myself in the past because I thought that he was just an average fighter who was being hyped. I say that because by the time Chris had 20 fights, he was still fighting the types of opponents that he was fighting early in his career and I wasn’t seeing any profound development. I can’t say that I had ever written Chris off, because I had never “written him on” so-to-speak. I also bagged on Cristobal because of his training and dieting habits. When Chris went into this fight, I expected him to get annihilated...but not the way that he did. I’d tell Chris to his face the same that I just typed. (Politely at that- hey, he’d whip my ass any day of the week.)
When one sees a Klitschko fight, the tone is usually the same for both brother Klitschko’s, only the older brother Vitali is trained by Fritz Sdunek, while Vitali’s “little” brother is trained by Emmanuel Steward. (While I am mentioning his name, I have to mention a few others in regards to spelling: For the last time, it’s STEWARD, not STEWART. Same with Harold Lederman. It’s LEDERMAN, not LETTERMAN, and Samuel Peter is not SAM PETERS! For f*ck’s sake!) Both brothers will usually soften their opponents up with their jabs and then start with the right hands.
Usually, when you watch fights, you will see a fighter slow down when they take a lot of punches to the body. With the Klitschko’s, it’s the opposite- you can watch their opponents slow down in real-time from eating their jabs. The Klitschko’s opponents usually get glassy-eyed and drunken looking by about the 5th round, and then get put away in the 7th and 8th rounds. Wladimir Klitschko has more one-punch KO power, where as Vitali tends to drub his opponents into quitting. The bottom line is that in most of either of the Klitschko brother’s fights, you can see their opponents giving up mentally as they continue to get punched with a few intermittent and short-lived rallies.
This simply wasn’t the case on Saturday night. In fact, Cristobal Arreola did the opposite of what a fighter usually does when they face either Klitschko. Chris stayed game and he tried to find an answer. Chris even voiced his frustration between two of the rounds when he told his corner men “He keeps f*ckin’ runnin.” No matter what Chris tried though, it just wasn’t enough to solve the puzzle of the style of Vitali Klitschko.
Chris made Vitali work hard...So hard that Vitali threw damned near 900 punches over 10 rounds which is freakish for a guy who is 6'8" and weighed in at just over 250 pounds. The last time we saw that many punches thrown by a heavyweight(s) was when David Tua fought Ike Ibeabuchi. No matter what Vitali was doing, Chris never stopped trying to find the answer and in the 8th, it looked like Chris may have been able to turn the tide of the fight, but it turned out to be more a matter of Vitali taking that round off.
Chris also displayed that he has a HELL of a chin. He took a lot of punches from Vitali and still moved forward the whole time. I’ll get to the “other” heart Chris displayed in a bit. The word “quit” was not in Chris’s vocabulary on Saturday night, and he sure as hell didn’t look like he was being rendered punch drunk by Vitali’s punches. Chris even went further in this fight than he has in his career, which until Saturday night had not seen a fight go past 8 rounds.
At the end though, it wasn’t enough, and Chris’s corner indicated to the referee that they wanted to stop the fight to spare Chris from further punishment.
Before we get into that, I want to take a jab. I have read a lot of forum posts and heard a lot of ilk spewed towards Dr. Klitschko for quitting on his stool in his fight with Chris Byrd in which he sustained a torn rotator cuff. Vitali was winning the fight, tore his rotator cuff midway through the round and at the end of the round, Klitschko indicated that he couldn’t continue...
...And just like that, Vitali Klitschko was labeled a quitter, despite two facts: Vitali had to have surgery on his left shoulder and if anyone is in any capacity to say who can and cannot continue, it would be Vitali who (like his younger brother Wladimir) is a DOCTOR. He holds a Doctorate in Sports Science from the University of Kiev, as does Wladimir. So if a Doctor quits based on his own EXPERT opinion, he’s a quitter, right? WRONG. He’s a DOCTOR who is well versed in human anatomy. I’d love to see anyone who has called Vitali Klitschko a quitter get into a ring with him and see how long they’d last without quitting...or being a Doctor at that. I don’t consider what Vitali did against Byrd as “quitting.” Quitting to me is intentionally looking for a way out of a desperate situation with many solutions. Vitali’s “quit job” against Byrd had only ONE solution. Surgery.
I think Chris knew he was going to lose, but quit? F*ck that...Not unless he was legitimately injured to a degree that could affect him later. Chris never said “No Mas.” His corner did. Samuel Peter who lost to both Klitschko’s did quit. Peter was on his stool, shook his head, and said “no more...no more.” Peter didn’t require surgery; Peter didn’t attempt to answer the next round. Peter didn’t make a contiguous effort to keep fighting like Cristobal did. Samuel Peter quit.
The counter to quitting is always “well, maybe he got injured from throwing the wrong punch/pivoting wrong/yadda f*ckin’ yadda.”
If that is your counter-argument then lace up a pair. I don’t want to hear about broken hands either. Plenty of guys fight with broken hands. I’ve done it in sparring. It sucks and I have limited movement with my right pinky finger, boo-hoo. Being injured to the degree that you cannot throw a punch as opposed to being able to throw a punch and feel sharp pain when it lands are two different animals. You can win a fight with bad hands. You can’t win a fight with bad shoulders that control your arms which are connected to your hands. Amazing shit, huh? Hell, Shannon Briggs weighs damned near 275 and is f*cking HUGE and he can do 12 rounds...With Asthma. If Briggs (God Forbid) had an Asthma attack halfway through a fight and he had to stop to get his ass to the hospital so he wouldn’t die, does that make him a quitter in this hypothetical scenario? Shit no.
“Uhh...I need to get my ass to the hospital to get treated for something serious BUT I could still fight and never fight again, or worse, get myself killed. Either way, it’s a no-win, so I am going to the hospital.”
Can anyone see a double standard here? It really should be a no-brainer, especially for expert commentators who can probably tell you the difference between a speculum and a scalpel; the reason that you cannot put a person who needs brain surgery under full anesthetics and the methods used to quell the swelling when a fighter receives a subdural hematoma....err...”bleeding on the brain.” I bet that they even know how to run protocols on cancer studies.
Chris’ isn’t a Doctor and I don’t think he quit because he never looked for a way out. In fact, Chris was just trying to find his way in. That is the difference. Hopefully that will sink in with some people the next time they are eager to label a fighter a quitter. Chris never gave up when he very well could have. That isn’t quitting to me. To me that is “I want to keep going even if I am losing because I know I can win.”
Chris didn’t protest the stoppage. Instead, Chris did something that he is catching a lot of shit for, and frankly, it pisses me off...Chris showed his real emotion. Chris Arreola- a guy who could whip many a persons ass and then some- broke down in tears.
I have been reading a lot of drivel about Chris crying in the ring from forum posters. It’s easy to bag on someone from behind a keyboard. It’s even easier to lie and say that you don’t cry from behind a keyboard. I say that if the shoe fits in both aforementioned cases then you are full of shit.
Now, after you’ve read that and had a laugh (or not), keep in mind that this 28 year old Mexican American fighter had his lovely Wife and adorable Kids in attendance, had just fought in the biggest fight of his life against the most dangerous fighter in the division (note that I said dangerous, not skilled) for his first crack at a Heavyweight Championship. To say that this fight in Chris’ mind was the biggest fight of his life would be the understatement of the f*ckin’ decade. I am a Father, and I have a very wonderful significant other, all of whom would have been present if it were me fighting Vitali as opposed to Chris on Saturday night (even though I’d have gotten killed because I am a natural Welterweight who could starve to Lightweight if I wanted to) for the same reasons- it’s the biggest night of my life.
Put yourself in Chris’ shoes for a minute...You have all of your Family, Friends and people you want close to you on the biggest night of your life- the night that you have been waiting for so long to come along; the night you are going to prove the world wrong- and then you get your ass handed to you. What would you do? Be a fake assed motherf*cker and talk shit, or do what Chris did?
I will say that I’d have done the same if I were in Chris’ shoes. I’d have let the world, the fans, and my family all share my disappointment with me. To me, that is real. To me that shows balls. And then Chris took it further and broke down for a minute in the post fight interview. Most fighters in his shoes would run to the dressing room, but not Chris- he stayed in the ring despite being dejected and still gave us an interview. That takes a lot of balls for a MAN to do. Especially a MAN who just fought for the heavyweight title and is also 6'4" and weighs 250 pounds. That is why I say that Cristobal “Nightmare” Arreola is a REAL American Heavyweight...And fighter...And HUMAN BEING.
Chris may have lost his first battle, but I am convinced that he will make history one day and become the first fighter of Mexican heritage win the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Vitali Klitschko even told Chris that he would be a champion one day. Vitali is damned good...And Chris surprised Vitali. Ponder that thought.
So Chris, if you are reading this- Don’t apologize for being a warrior. Don’t be upset because you lost to the toughest Heavyweight champ at the moment. Don’t be embarrassed because you never gave up. Don’t think that you didn’t do good enough either- You exceeded the expectations of many including myself. The only advice I would offer is to eat lean, and start running and swimming more. You showed us a lot about your abilities in your fight with Klitschko. You answered questions about your chin. You answered questions as to what would happen in the late rounds. You answered questions about your heart too. I think that you have a lot of heart and you WILL be the first Heavyweight of Mexican Heritage to earn a title...For fans of Boxing in TWO countries that really want a Heavyweight Champ right now. As you said in the post-fight interview- “F*ck this, I’ll be back!”
I say, you’re damned right you will be, and you WILL make boxing history.
A FEW LATE JABS:
First, I’d like to extend a special “f*ck you” to the people in Houston (I live here, so as Mike Muir once sang “I’m sorry if it offends you, but maybe you needed to be offended, so here’s my apology, F*CK YOU!”) who were booing the Arturo Gatti and Vernon Forrest tributes. How in the F*CK are you going to buy tickets to a sporting event that you presumably follow, only to BOO a tribute to two of the most beloved fighters of our generation? As my friend’s dad always says: “Have you had shit for brains your entire life?”
I’d also like to say “f*ck you” to the assholes in Section 14 of Toyota Center that started the first of 5 mini-riots during the Ishe Smith- Daniel Jacobs fight. What, do you think that because you are watching a Boxing match that it means you suddenly know how to fight? And you wonder why people think Houston is such a shitty place...
I also want to say “f*ck you” to all of the people in the arena who made it a point to heckle Paulie Malignaggi as much as possible. I bet half you motherf*ckers never heard of Paulie until you saw him that night. Thanks for ruining his post-fight interview for everyone too. Maybe if you’d have shut your sucks for about 10 minutes, you’d have learned something because Paulie wasn’t off kilter with what he stated. That night, you put the “Football Hooligans” to shame. Congratulations. Not. As a die-hard Juan Diaz fan, who has also trained out of the same gym, I will say that if a rematch takes place, I hope it takes place in New York City, and that Juan gets the same treatment that Paulie got here from the crowd. I also hope that the people who were in attendance at the fight in Houston who were causing the entire ruckus have simultaneous television interruption at the hands of a drunkenly thrown remote if Paulie gets the win, if the rematch takes place. If you cannot control yourself for 10 minutes at a live event, I wouldn’t expect you to control yourself for two minutes at home. Why not just clap and applaud both fighters next time for giving you what you paid for? Why not applaud both fighters because you love Boxing as opposed to a fighter? I clapped for both of them because I think they are great fighters who gave me a great fight. F*ckin’ AMAZING.
Gale Van Hoy- I think it is time to retire. 118-110 Diaz? My nuts don’t have eyes and they can score a fight better than that. If Juan won that fight by that margin, then you are either blind, losing your mind or my Mother is a virgin. Either way, that card was a f*cking travesty and you f*cking know it.
At the end of the day- Vitali did what he was supposed to do, Chris put a lot of nay saying to rest about his abilities, and both guys walked away winners this past Saturday night. Great and hard earned defense for Vitali Klitschko, and a great, valiant effort followed by a REAL reaction on Cristobal Arreola’s part.
If you want to know their records, go to boxrec. Records don’t mean a damned thing to me. It’s the fight that matters!