“Racial” as well as boxing history is guaranteed to be made when Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola fight for the vacated WBC heavyweight title Saturday, May 10th at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California. Stiverne is Haitian born and Arreola is Mexican American Los Angeles born, neither racial demographic having ever held a heavyweight title before, but, barring a draw or double disqualification, one most certainly will after the smoke clears in what should be a huge battle for the honor as it should be in every fight.
Most boxing fans could give two hoots or a hollor about racial demographics unless it’s one of their own fighting for glory. They’d rather get behind a good fight that this promises to be. The WBC wanted to reprise the historical event deep in Mexico, but that was an obvious no go, so instead Stiverne, 23-1-1, 20 KOs, will rematch Arreola, 36-3, 31 KO, yet again in California. First go round Stiverne put up the best fight of his career, knocking down Arreola, breaking his nose, and otherwise staying in command down the stretch to cop the unanimous decision.
Since then Stiverne has been inactive while waiting for the boxing politics to play out for this opportunity. Arreola looked uncharacteristically serious in a concussive comeback of his own when he knocked out Al Haymon’s touted heavyweight contender Seth Mitchell in the first round. Both fighters have reportedly been in training since their first fight over a year ago in anticipation of this opportunity.
The paunchy 35 year old Stiverne may not look the part, but he has surprising power when he lands his big punch, a game changer. He’s too slow and lethargic for the purist, yet also quite relaxed with decent boxing skills and durability that have served him well. The 33 year old Arreola may be the goofiest, ugliest, funniest looking fat kid in any room, but he’s got predatory footwork and aggression with plenty of his own power that defines his all action pressure style. In shape given the nature of the stakes with his experience and held in his hometown, I do favor him slightly to win this thing.
Main thing going is the old school contrast of styles and power that will crown the new WBC champ, so it’s a good thing for everyone but Wlad Klitschko, the holder of every other heavyweight bauble, belt, and title under the sun. He wasn’t invited to this party, but he may be down the road when he gets a little older and longer on the tooth.
Be a great fight on ESPN that should drown out the usual ball sports on the TV down at the bar, so no excuses to miss this puppy.