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Fri May 9, 2014, 11:56 AM

Boxing (5-10)

May 10
At Los Angeles (ESPN): Bermane Stiverne vs. Chris Arreola, rematch, 12 rounds, for vacant WBC heavyweight title.

ESPN boxing continues to provide fans with bouts that are often as interesting as those on HBO or Showtime, including most PPVs. Saturday night's bout, for the heavyweight title vacated by Vitali Klitschko, is certainly one of them.

In April of 2013, Steverne beat Arreola by decision in twelve rounds. He broke Chris's nose in the third round, and won almost every round on all three judges' cards. This earned him at shot at Klitschko, but Vitali postponed the bout once, then retired. Thus, Steverne has been out of action for a full year, although not by choice.

Steverne, 34, is 6' 2" tall, has an 80" reach, and packs knockout power in his right hand. Most people would have difficulty recognizing many of his opponent's names -- other than Arreola, and perhaps a faded Ray Austin -- but he is the #1 ranked contender in a division long dominated by the Klitschko brothers. Although he did not have the luxury of solid backing early in his career, he has a record of 23-1-1 (20 KO wins; 1 KO lose). His lone defeat came early in his career.

Arreola is the more familiar of the two, as his fights have frequently been televised. At age 33, he is an inch taller than Steverne, but has 4" less in reach. His record is 36-3 (30 KO wins; 1 KO loss). In 2009, Vitali Klitschko stopped Arreola in 10 rounds. Since that first defeat, Arreola has been inconsistent in the ring; when he trains, he has impressed, but too often, he does not show the self-discipline needed to compete at the highest level.

About a month ago, Chris spoke with Teddy Atlas from ringside at an ESPN Friday Night Fights. Chris is a very likable, outgoing young man, who rarely seems serious. Teddy put the good humor in check quickly, and pointed out Chris's lack of discipline. (For example, Chris was proud he was doing 2 miles of roadwork.) I know that since then, Teddy has been visiting Chris's training camp -- and Teddy is not a funny guy in the gym!

So, Chris should be in good shape. And I know Teddy focused a lot on his jab. Everything behind the jab. At the same time, Steverne -- a quiet, thoughtful man -- has put himself through hell in his training camp. So it should be what people want to see: a tough, hard fight between two highly-trained warriors. May the better man win!

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Reply Boxing (5-10) (Original post)
H2O Man May 2014 OP
fishwax May 2014 #1
H2O Man May 2014 #2
fishwax May 2014 #3
H2O Man May 2014 #4
Name removed May 2014 #5

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun May 11, 2014, 12:20 AM

1. that turned around in a hurry

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Response to fishwax (Reply #1)

Sun May 11, 2014, 07:41 AM

2. Yeah, it did.

Teddy had noted that Chris was getting tired at the end of the last round before the knockout. And he starts making mistakes when he's tired. Without question, throwing a slow jab, then not bringing it back fast, is dangerous when facing a hard-hitting counter-puncher!

I've watched Chris a lot through the years, and never seen him hurt like that. He had zero control of his legs. I think that the years of "partying," and not being disciplined, have taken a toll. A fighter can't reclaim their past, once they've reached a certain point.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Sun May 11, 2014, 09:21 PM

3. I thought the ref might call it after the first knockdown, until Stiverne got too close and

that bought him a little extra time. I thought at that point it would take a small miracle for him to last the round. Then after the second knockdown I was a bit surprised that the ref let him continue.

Arreola still sounded defiant about his ability to train harder and come back stronger, but it sounds like you're skeptical ... what do you think of Silverne going forward?

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Response to fishwax (Reply #3)

Mon May 12, 2014, 02:19 PM

4. I remember Chris from

back in the amateurs. He was a light heavyweight, and had all the potential in the world. I thought he would likely win the light heavyweight title after turning pro, and eventually grow into the cruiserweight division. But he bulked up, some by lifting, some by a poor diet for a fighter.

The slow-motion replay of the first knockdown provided ample evidence that he has layers of excess weight. He lacks one of two things: the discipline to lose it, or the physical strength needed for that level of training. About a month before the bout, he tried to assure Teddy Atlas that he was training really hard -- he bragged he was doing two miles of roadwork a day.

At that point, he should have been doing at least four miles, six days a week. (On an internet boxing forum, some clown attempted to argue with my son, saying no heavyweight does 4 miles. Of course, my boy documented ten top heavyweights' training schedules. Four-to-six miles, 6 days per week. It ain't coincidence.)

Chris can continue to be a top ten contender. But the abuse he has done to his body, including diet and partying, takes a toll on a fighter in their 30s. You can't reverse that. Thus, I am confident that he isn't going to fulfill that potential he once had. He got caught up in the role of fighter/funny guy that his "friends" liked. In a sense, he compares with Max Baer, though Max was always in good shape.

Stiverne is clearly more disciplined. He added a serious left hook to his offense. The problem I see is his habit of carrying his left hand low. That can work against guys around as tall as him. But both Wilder and Klitschko are taller, with longer reaches. I think Stiverne attempts to incorporate some of the Mayweather shoulder-roll. In boxing, he who knows "why" always masters he who knows "how." The question is if Stiverne knows why not to attempt that move with one of these two. If so, what does he replace it with?

I noted that while he was in better shape than Chris, he had a roll at his trunk-line. To beat either of these guys, he'd need a lot of upper-body movement. He needs to work on that, as it takes a lot of energy. More, he is somewhat stiff in the ring, which cuts down on the mobility he needs for taller foes.

Still, he is an intelligent, disciplined fighter. And he is certainly capable of learning.

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