I have to say, there was a lot to like about Cris Arreola when he first came onto the scene. I don't just mean as a neutral writer, but as an actual fan. Her had my name, close to my height, and he was a blown-up light heavyweight from Los Angeles, who couldn't put the fork down. Simply put, I could relate to the man. He did not have a trainer with many answers for him, fought in an often sloppy style, and didn't seem to care much for training... and yet he kept winning. Arreola was also very candid, self-deprecating, but confident, and always entertaining in the ring and out.
No matter what, his 13 year pro-career has been a fun ride, but he may end up being the David Tua of this decade, in that he will make a lot of money, win many fans and memories, but never get that elusive world title. Not that this place in history is a bad one... most fighters would kill for it. However, he has always wanted to make history, and the WBC has been more than accommodating in making sure he always has a regionally invented belt and a ranking, long after most other sanctioning bodies have abandoned him. Arreola has had two shots at the WBC Heavyweight title, and is about to get his 3rd.
His best wins were against fighters who started slow, and had chin issues. Yet, he cannot even seem to get past them anymore. He is 1-0-1 draw, and 1 NC in his last 3, over journeyman-level opposition. The NC was originally a win over Travis Kaufman, but most agree it should have been a loss. It was overturned for a positive marijuana test, his second occurence in the last few years. Now, while it is ludicrous to think marijuana is a performance-enhancing drug, it does show where his priorities now lie. The KO power appears gone, and the flabby midsection, which actual hid great strength and power, now seems to match his enthusiam for fighting.
He remains an entertaining fighter, as he is durable against all but the biggest punchers... but he himself can no longer put men away. His KOs over Molina and Mitchell seem far in the rear-view mirror, and even if he did pounce on champion Deontay Wilder, it seems unlikely that the champion, who will have advantages in power, height, reach, speed, and youth, will be the one to come out on the short end of an exchange. I, for one, will be cheering for him... as I like Deontay Wilder, but Arreola pulling off an upset would shake up the already hot division. I will not be picking him, however, as I think he was selected to lose. Much like Wilder's other recent opponents, he will go rounds, and excite, but not win, or threaten. It's sad that "The Nightmare" is viewed that way, as at one time, he never gave his opponents a non-threatening moment.