Fight Preview & Prediction: Chris Arreola vs. Chazz Witherspoon

Photobucket With its recent offerings HBO’s recently maligned Boxing After Dark series seems to have finally hit its proverbial stride.¬† At long last it seems that the brass at HBO have finally realized that in order for the sport to progress there has to be a display organic growth.¬†¬† With Mayweather’s recent retirement and De La Hoya’s own swan song rapidly approaching it appears that the cable giant is beginning to invest in the future stars of the sport.¬† This all comes as a welcomed reprise from some BAD fights that were just plain, well,¬†bad.¬† This Saturday night HBO will televise an intriguing heavyweight match up pitting Riverside, CA based Chris Arreola (23-0, 21 KOs) against Philly based Chazz Witherspoon (23-0, 15 KOs).¬† Both Arreola and Witherspoon are undefeated talented fighters who many are lauding as the future of the division.¬† It’s a tantalizing fight and one that embodies your classic “brains (Witherspoon’s cerebral approach) vs. brawn (Arreola’s balls out aggression)” battle.¬† The Fighters: As I mentioned above both fighters bring with them completely different strengths that should mesh well when the bell rings.¬†¬† For Arreola his strength lies in his all out aggression and strength.¬† An accomplished amateur Arreola’s professional career has been a tale of two fighters with the dividing factor being his weight.¬† Over 230 pounds and Arreola fights in sloppy uninspired bursts.¬† Under 230 pounds and Arreola is noticeably more agile and aggressive.¬† The burining question is which Arreola will show up Saturday night in Memphis.¬† Witherspoon is in many¬†respects the complete opposite of Arreola.¬† The college educated 2004 Olympic alternate is a thinking man’s fighter.¬† Tucked behind a high guard and economical punch output Witherspoon has not exactly set the world a fire in his recent performances.¬† Though that is not to sell the Philadelphia prospect short by any means.¬† Witherspoon is hard-nosed methodical puncher who has sharpened his craft by sheer dedication and gym work.¬† Unlike Arreola, Witherspoon lives an exemplary life outside the squared circle which should pay him dividends if the fight goes into deep water.¬† Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the pedigree that Witherspoon enjoys being the cousin of former heavyweight title holder Tim Witherspoon.¬† It’s unclear if the young Witherspoon will be able to replicate his cousin’s success within the sport but I do believe should Chazz reach such pinnacle his stay will be much longer.¬† My Prediction:¬† I like Witherspoon to eek out a close decision Saturday night.¬† On paper one would tend to believe that Arreola enjoys the greater advantages.¬† This may be true but I can’t help but think that Witherspoon is going to shock a lot of people Saturday night.¬† My prediction also flies in the face of my usual logic that states to never bet against a fighter who trains in the fertile SoCal boxing gyms.¬† The thing is I just can’t shake this feeling that Arreola is not mentally up to snuff going into this fight.¬† After all it has not been that far removed since his best friend was killed during a random act of violence and Arreola pulled out of a scheduled fight because his mind was not in its proper state.¬† I’m not sure if he has fully recovered from such a traumatic loss and I trust my gut in picking Witherspoon.¬† My Confidence:60%.¬† I really like Arreola and I think that his Mexican-American heritage and all action fighting style will make him a success in terms of marketing and landing the big money fights but his inconsistencies are too much to ignore.¬† On the other hand Witherspoon is the picture of stability.¬† While not outstanding in any one aspect Witherspoon does everything well.¬† Couple that with his ability to think on the fly and tight defensive nuances and well you have yourself one very hard to beat fighter.¬† Of course if Arreola comes in at his ideal weight of 220 then Witherspoon will be in for a hell of a fight.¬†

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.