The Boxing Futures of Chris Arreola and Ricky Burns
By Jeremy O’Connell
Chris Arreola stayed relevant with his one round demolition job of the chinless failed prospect Seth Mitchell on Saturday night. Where does he go from here?
His stated aim is a world title shot, but, in particular, he’s said he’d like to avenge his defeats to Bermane Stiverne, Tomasz Adamek or Vitali Klitschko. Another option for Arreola, if he can continue his momentum from this win, could be a fight with Wladimir Klitschko, who has expressed interest in returning to America to take on a contender from the States, and despite all his flaws, Arreola is popular and has a fun style that could bring out the best in Klitschko.
However, none of those fights are particularly interesting or likely to take place, but what would be absolutely fascinating is a matchup with top prospect Deontay Wilder, who would be taking a huge step up in class if he were to fight Arreola. It would be a terrific crossroads clash between Wilder’s much vaunted punching power and Arreola’s experience and aggressive, smothering style. Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer has said he’d like to make the fight, so let’s hope it will happen.
Also at the weekend, Ricky Burns retained his Lightweight title in a highly controversial draw with Raymundo Beltran, seen as the clear winner by almost all observers. Burns suffered a badly broken jaw in round 2 and bravely fought through adversity for 10 whole rounds in a punishing fight. He proved, just as he had in his torrid prior fight with Jose Gonzalez, that he has a pound for pound-level heart.
Burns’ title reign at 135 would appear to be on borrowed time, with the talented Terence Crawford looming as a nightmare mandatory. Alternatively, if he hopes to unify in the future, the likes of fellow titlists Miguel Vazquez and Richar Abril look like very tough fights for him to win.
A long layoff due to the jaw injury (which required surgery and the insertion of a steel plate) seems certain, and Eddie Hearn’s latest comments also suggest that a move up to Light Welterweight will be the plan once Burns can return to action. There is speculation that Burns has been tight at the weight, and a move to Light Welterweight, which could be quite a thin division in the near future with various fighters moving up, could provide a more favourable path for Burns and Matchroom to navigate.
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