Vitali Klitschko Shows Why No One Bum Rushes Him As He Scores KO Win Over Chris Arreola

You can’t say enough about Chris Arreola charging ahead bravely Saturday night despite taking more flush shots from mega-punching heavyweight Vitali Klitschko than anyone had ever received, but what it got Arreola was what everyone else gets from Vitali: knocked out. The referee stopped the fight at the end of the 10th over the protests of an emotional Arreola, a fight in which Arreola earned more than just a knockout loss with his gutty effort and we learned once more that it is really, really hard to fight a Klitschko brother.

A review of that fight, and some other weekend action, awaits after the jump, including David Diaz’ win in a brawl over fellow lightweight Jesus Chavez.

Everyone criticizes Klitschko opponents for giving up. I’m not sure that’s exactly what happens. At some point, every Klitschko opponent has made a stab at bum rushing the giant Soviet Union products, and they get hit really hard with counter shots when they do it. It’s fruitless. It’s equally fruitless to stand on the outside and try to box them, too, but it’s probably less painful.
Still, it was nice to see someone give bum rushing a try. Arreola did, at times, launch himself forward and connect cleanly on Vitali with left hooks and overhand rights, and when he was inside, he kept his hands working on Vitali’s body. I actually gave him two rounds, the 4th and the 8th, and I don’t remember in years giving a Klitschko opponent a single round, let alone two.
It forced Klitschko to step his game up, too. He was landing 30 to 40 punches per round, way above his usual work rate. If you think that made him significantly more exciting, think again. As Arreola’s trainer encouraged his young charge to pressure Klitschko after the 5th round, Arreola answered, “But he fucking runs a lot.” That he did. I’ve never seen a 6’7″ man actually run in a fight, but so be it. Arreola tried to goad Klitschko into standing his ground, but the Klitschko brothers don’t care to be macho. They are fight-winning robots. Talented ones, but their programming says “Win win win,” not “Prove a point, score a knockout, thrill a crowd.”
In the 9th, Arreola was out of gas. Was it because he was a fatso who doesn’t take training seriously? I can’t think it helped, although it must be said that most Klitschko opponents are out of gas in the 9th. And he hurt his right arm at some point in the fight, he said at the post-fight press conference.
In the 10th, all the flush jabs and straight rights added up, and Arreola looked like he might get knocked clean out after standing up to Klitschko’s power shots pretty well earlier. It was still a bit unclear whether the referee stopped the fight on his own or if Arreola’s trainer encouraged it, but Arreola’s breaking into tears was among the more understandable incidents of boxers breaking into tears in recent years.
America may yet discover whether it can be happy with a heavyweight champion who’s named after a part of a woman’s breast and who is sloppy chubby, but not today. Not with the Klitschkos around, either, I’d expect. Arreola can make fun fights while he waits for the Klitschko brothers to depart the scene, but I don’t see this version of Arreola being the American who retakes the heavyweight throne from either Klitschko sibling, or who becomes the first boxer of Mexican heritage to win a heavyweight title while they’re around.
Vitali’s next opponent might be another of America’s heavyweight title hopes, Kevin Johnson. I’d expect Vitali to dispense with Kevin Johnson in one of those two ways — by knockout via Johnson bumrush, or by knockout via Johnson getting picked apart from the outside. You gotta appreciate the skills and accomplishments of the Klitschko brothers, but the most drama they’ll produce in the ring atop the heavyweight division for the foreseeable future will be dependent on this kind of drama: finding a long shot opponent who maybe can pull off a miracle. 
  • Outside of the HBO show, GoFightLive aired a Saturday night card where Diaz and Chavez didn’t disappoint, producing a straight up brawl that Diaz won narrowly. I scored it a draw, as did one judge, but the other two judges had it for Diaz 97-93 and 96-94. Diaz didn’t look shot to me, as you might have wondered whether he was after the beating he took from Manny Pacquiao last year and following a long layoff. He handled what power Chavez had well, fought through a 4th round cut and scored with tons of uppercuts. Chavez was busier, more diverse, but you could tell his punches didn’t have the same level of steam. Diaz probably deserves to rejoin the lightweight rankings, and I could see him winning another alphabet title belt under the right conditions — he’s tough and more skilled than I sometimes think of him as. There was some talk of Chavez retiring if he lost, but he was so competitive I could see him making one more stab, too, although the idea of him winning a belt is a tad more far-fetched to me. This was my first time buying a fight from GoFightLive, and while I didn’t like the absence of commentators, there were few technical difficulties and I got to watch a fight I wouldn’t normally have had a chance to watch. I didn’t pay tremendously close attention to the undercard, but I saw a few other brawls that were kinda kickass. I usually try to give lesser-known guys who are in fights like that at least a shout-out, so of the ones whose names I caught, mad props to Diamond Baier and Jose Javier Guzman and Jaime Sandoval and Oscar De La Cruz.
  • Junior featherweight Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym blitzed Bernard Dunne in rounds 2 and 3 of their Saturday fight after getting outboxed by the light-punching alphabet belt titlist in the 1st, and it scored him a knockout win. Dunne has some skills, and he definitely has heart, but he doesn’t hit that hard and he doesn’t take punches all that well. Once Kratingdaenggym figured out to charge ahead and close the distance on the longer-armed Dunne, it was basically over. Dunne made a good account of himself in what was an enjoyable scrap, but Kratingdaenggym really can punch and knocked Dunne down three times. Dunne will remain popular in Ireland, win or lose. Kratingdaenggym will become the clear #1 man in the division once Juan Manuel Lopez and Celestino Caballero depart, unless something crazy happens between now and 2010. On the undercard, heavyweight Tyson Fury won a decision over somebody or the other. Fury said he hurt a hand in the fight, so maybe that explains the “meh” performance, but I’ve moved from “not sold on Fury” to “officially skeptical of Fury,” and I try not to do that kind of thing with 21-year-olds. He doesn’t do anything particularly badly, but then, he doesn’t do anything particularly well, either.
  • Speaking of blitzes involving Irish fighters, middleweight Matthew Macklin was the blitz-deliverer Friday in scoring a 1st round KO of Amin Asikainen. Macklin landed a great counter left hook that essentially ended matters as Macklin floored then battered Asikainen around the ring the rest of the round and scored another knockdown to prompt the ref to halt it. Asikainen protested, as he nodded that he wanted to continue, so it was a borderline call, and I always favor borderline calls going to the safety of the boxer who’s hurt. You can watch the video below. Ricky Hatton, Macklin’s promoter, says he wants to get Macklin in against Sebastian Sylvester, which could be a decent-sized fight in Europe. Also Friday, light heavyweight Jean Pascal did what he was supposed to in knocking out Silvio Branco, who somehow was the mandatory challenger to Pacal’s newly-won alphabet belt but whose night ended when his corner threw in the towel in the 10th. (I didn’t watch this one.) Pascal now moves on to a mouthwatering rematch against Adrian Diaconu.

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.