(Credit for blurry photos to come shortly: Tim Starks)
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Oh Chris. Why do you do this? Two days ago, Arreola told me he weighed 257 pounds. Today he weighs 263, higher than he ever has prior to stepping into the ring. Let’s set aside one theory for how that happened — he wasn’t right or honest two days ago. The question becomes: How do you even gain six pounds in two days? I’m pretty sure I’ve never done that over Thanksgiving weekend, when I’m just stuffing myself full of turkey and everything and refusing to do anything more strenuous than laying around. Furthermore, I’m not 6’4″, when, I presume, you’d have to eat even more to gain six pounds in two days.
This won’t ever change. I had hopes he might come in at a semi-reasonable 245 or something by going straight from the Vitali Klitschko loss (which he said would motivate him to try harder) into this Brian Minto fight Saturday. Instead, he went the other direction. If a loss and a short layoff between fights won’t do the trick, I’m guessing nothing will.
Conversations with a few undercard fighters, thoughts on peoples’ weights and other stuff after the jump.
The other big headline, besides Arreola’s 263 (to Minto’s 218, although he looked a little soft around the middle, too) is that Sergio Martinez came in heavier than Paul Williams. Martinez was 159 to Williams’ 157. Now, for Williams to weigh 157 for a middleweight fight isn’t unusual. He did it in his last middleweight fight. I suppose it just was a little surprising that Martinez, who’s fought at junior middleweight, moved up and outweighed the guy who’s fought at middleweight. It also makes me say, once again: Everyone so skeptical that Williams can make welterweight, I think they’re just having trouble imagining that this guy can look like he does and weigh that amount. Dude says he’s never weighed more than 162.5 in his life. If Arreola has the kind of crazy metabolism that allows him to gain so much weight in two days, it shouldn’t be so hard to believe that this rail-thin genetic freak can make 147.
What are the ramifications for the fight? I suppose it’s possible that Martinez will be the “bigger man,” therefore carrying more power and strength, and maybe it’ll help Williams neutralize Martinez’ speed advantage a little. Or it might not have any impact at all. In terms of demeanor and what not, Williams was very serious-looking, and Martinez was very energetic. He was sort of leaning forward on his tip-toes and getting in Williams’ face a little, and afterward he made the familiar throat-slash gesture. Maybe he’s nervous, or maybe he is just excited because he realizes if he wins this fight, he’s going to be regarded very, very highly.
I had a brief word with Carlos Quintana, who’s fighting Jesse Feliciano on the undercard (153.5 for Quintana, 152.5 for Feliciano), but it wasn’t ideal because he doesn’t speak English and one of his friends translating was having trouble with the chore. But he told me Williams looked “very good” in sparring; Quintana couldn’t have been a better sparring partner for Martinez, really. He also said of his own fight, “He, Feliciano, looks like he’s in good shape and I’m waiting for a tough fight.”
I spent most of my time — when I wasn’t waiting for the weigh-in — talking to heavyweights Chazz Witherspoon and Tony Thompson about their undercard fight, which is quite a nice match-up. (Witherspoon weighed 234, about what he usually weighs, to Thompson’s 250, also in his usual range.)
As it happens, the two had sparred together a couple years ago. Witherspoon said of Thompson: “He’s a very crafty boxer. He’s better than a lot of people give him credit for.” He said he’s not sure yet how he’s going to attack Thompson, since he’d noticed Thompson had a tendency to fight differently in the ring than he had in sparring. “I want to see what he does first.” He also said it was a big fight for the both of them. “It’s going to propel one of our careers forward, and the other is going to fall back by the wayside,” Witherspoon said.
Thompson had a high opinion of Witherspoon as well. “He’s a tough Philly fighter,” Thompson said. “I know he’s going to come to fight. He’s got credentials and he’s got some strength, and I know he’s out to prove something. The winner of this fight, people are going to start to talk about him again.” Thompson said he “fell off the radar” because he had two knee surgeries. He said he fought Wladimir Klitschko with a torn meniscus, but he didn’t know it was torn beforehand. Some may recall that Thompson seemed to hurt his knee during one of the knockdowns in that fight.
The two were talking to one another during the face off. Thompson told me after the conversation was pretty simple: Thompson said “Good luck,” Witherspoon said “Good luck,” Thompson said, “It’s business” and Witherspoon said, “I know.” These are two class acts and pretty good fighters. Thompson’s also pretty funny, you may recall. He added, “I’d knock out my brother if they paid me. Or I’d try. He’s no slouch.”
One last note: promoter Dan Goossen walked by me, we made eye contact and patted me on the shoulder then said a little loudly with a smile, “Hi, how you doing” as if he remembered our conversation and thought, in retrospect, it was funny. Which it was.