Arreola-McCline Fight Preview

April 11, 2009

Saturday night's boxing event at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas will feature an interesting heavyweight fight between rising American contender Cristobal "The Nightmare" Arreola (26-0, 23 KO) and veteran gatekeeper Jameel "Big Time" McCline (39-9, 23 KO).

This fight is an intriguing matchup due to the many unanswered questions surrounding each fighter.

The 28 year-old Arreola, from Riverside, California, is without question one of America's two best young American heavyweight prospects, along with Philadelphia's Fast Eddie Chambers. In taking on McCline, Arreola will be looking to add a notable name to his record in order to firmly establish himself as a top contender and gain a possible shot at one of the heavyweight belts held by the Klitschko brothers.

Although certainly not the most polished pugilist, Arreola is definitely one of the most powerful. Arreola carries an undefeated 26-0 record with 23 wins coming by knockout, and boasts an impressive knockout percentage of 88%.

For those still not familiar with Arreola and his go-for-broke fighting style, his last fight would probably be the most representative of what kind of threat he presents, both to his opposition, and to himself. In one of the most wildly entertaining, topsy-turvy, heavyweight fights in recent memory, Arreola was able to shake off a slow start and early knockdown, and then score three knockdowns of his own to stop a game Travis Walker by TKO. To many, this fight provides the perfect example of why "The Nightmare" is actually more of a dream come true for knockout-hungry fight fans.

Despite Arreola's undeniable punching power and underestimated boxing skills, he possesses the marginal hand speed and questionable conditioning that could make him vulnerable. The fact that only four of his twenty-six career fights have gone past 6 rounds, makes Arreola's stamina a legitimate concern for his supporters.

In order to win this fight Arreola will probably have to blitz McClline, and catch him with something big early, since Arreola's conditioning could render him suspect late in the fight. To score such a big shot, Arreola will likely have to taste a few right hands first from the bigger McCline's longer reach, and then do some damage on the inside.

The 6'6" McCline should provide a stiff test for Arreola. Although he has come up short each of the four times he has challenged for a world title, McCline still remains a dangerous fighter. By far the more experienced prizefighter between the two, McCline certainly has fought the better competition over the course of his 14-year, 39-fight pro career.

In fact a close look at McCline's career win-loss record reads like a who's who of heavyweight boxing from the past few years. Even though his biggest win to date was likely his unanimous decision victory over former champ Shannon Briggs in 2002, McCline has arguably been competitive in almost all of his fights.

Despite coming up short against the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock, John Ruiz and Samuel Peter, McCline was actually in most of those fights, the exception being his loss against Klitschko. In fact, he had Peter on the canvas three times before eventually running out of gas. His other notable loss in a title fight came when he challenged former WBA heavyweight champ Nikolay Valuev, but was forced to retire after suffering a knee injury in the third round.

Apart from his advantage in ring experience, McCline also enjoys a height and reach advantage. He also is a decent defensive fighter, as he is quite adept at rolling his shoulder and avoiding right hands from orthodox fighters. The one caveat is that McCline also suffers from notorious lapses in focus and concentration in the ring. Needless to say, such a lapse would prove to be quite costly against a powerful puncher like Arreola. In order to increase his chances of winning on Saturday, McCline will have to remember to use his considerable girth and size to his advantage when fighting in close and on the ropes.

Prediction: Arreola wins in another wild slugfest.

Arreola, perhaps looking to avoid being caught flat and dropped early as he was in his last fight, predictably comes out swinging. The veteran McCline wisely controls the space and plays matador to Arreola's bull, twice catching and dropping the free-swinging Mexican with big uppercuts and counter right hands.

After heeding his corner's sage advice, Arreola begins jabbing to set up his own right hand, and then bangs away once in close with left hooks to McCline's ribs. Somewhere around round 4 or 5, the body attack begins to take its toll, and McCline starts dropping his hands for protection. At that point, Arreola then resumes launching his hellacious left hooks upstairs, eventually dropping, and later stopping a game McCline with repeated left hooks somewhere around round 6 or 7.

Of course, with these two involved, the outcome could wind up being the exact opposite.

Either way, at the very least, fight fans can expect to see an exciting fight, even if it doesn't last very long.

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for

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