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.
- 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.