BOXING

Wilder Hurt in TKO Win, Diaz Escapes Robbery

 

Deontay Wilder Stops Chris Arreola, Suffers Two Injuries

Deontay Wilder took two people out in his win over Chris Arreola this past Saturday — Arreola and himself.

arreola-left-large_0 1Photo Cred // Premier Boxing Champions 

Wilder left the ring in his home state of Alabama with an eighth-round technical knockout victory. Unfortunately for him, he also left with a broken right hand and a torn bicep muscle. That was quite the bad news on what otherwise should’ve been a good night for the 30-year-old heavyweight titleholder.

Wilder was trying to keep busy, getting in the ring about two months after his bout with Alexander Povetkin was called off with just days to go due to Povetkin testing positive for a banned substance. Povetkin was Wilder’s mandatory challenger and presented the most significant test yet in Wilder’s career. Instead, Wilder returned home disappointed and unpaid.

So this bout against Arreola presented an opportunity to stay active, get in rounds, perform in front of an adoring crowd, earn some money and move on toward fights with the other top names in the division. It wasn’t meant to mean much else beyond another win. Arreola was never very good to begin with and now wasn’t even what he once was.

Still, Wilder wisely opted for caution in the opening rounds, gauging what Arreola was going to try to do and if he was going to be able to do it. He kept distance, making Arreola reset his forward movement. Wilder opened up more in the third round. That comfort became even more apparent in the fourth, when Arreola had him against the ropes and dug in with some body shots. Wilder swiveled his hips as the shots came, showboating and playing around before sending Arreola back with a right uppercut.

He soon sent Arreola down. Wilder landed a jab and a right hand that had Arreola on shaky legs with about 30 seconds left. The looping follow-up barrage put Arreola on all fours. Arreola was up at eight but then was badly wobbled by another right hand. Wilder swung away once more but couldn’t finish Arreola before the bell.

arreola-down-large 1Photo Cred // Premier Boxing Champions 

Wilder barely threw any right hands for the next four rounds, a sign that he’d gotten hurt. Instead, he relied almost exclusively on jabs and left hooks, mixing in sporadic rights. Arreola occasionally got in to Wilder’s body but otherwise was neutralized in those moments by Wilder tying him up or holding his head.

The fight resembled a sparring session in which an essentially one-handed fighter was working only when he wanted and doing damage along the way. Through eight, Wilder had landed 152 of 346 punches, according to CompuBox, a 44 percent connect rate. Arreola was only 52 of 188, or 28 percent, meaning he’d averaged less than seven landed punches out of a paltry 24 punches thrown per round.

Arreola’s left eye was closing up. He didn’t appear to be badly hurt, but he stood no chance of turning the fight in his favor. He was only going to absorb the worse end of the action. Arreola’s trainer made the wise choice to end the night on behalf of his fighter after the eighth round ended.

Deontay-Wilder-vs-Chris-Arreola 1Photo Cred // Boxing News Online 

Wilder is now 37-0 with 36 knockouts. He’ll remain that way for some time while he heals, with at least two surgeries deferring any collisions with names such as Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. This isn’t the first time he’s hurt his right hand either. With this most recent injury, it’ll be interesting to see whether Wilder still hits with the same power when he returns.

Arreola is now 36-5-1 with 31 KOs. He very well could have more losses on his record had a few sets of scorecards last year gone to his opponents, as some think they should have. His team was wise enough to keep him from taking any more punishment on Saturday night. They’ll need to think whether it’s time to keep him from enduring any more punishment ever again.

 

Diaz Gets Deserved Decision Over Vasquez But Nearly Didn’t

Felix Diaz was coming off a loss in a fight he believed he won. He nearly had another victory taken away from him.

diaz-right-jab-large 1Photo Cred // Premier Boxing Champions 

The welterweight contender instead got a unanimous decision over Sammy Vasquez via scorecards that seemed far too close. Two judges had it 95-94, or five rounds apiece — with a point docked from Vasquez for losing his mouthpiece in the 10th round — while the third judge had it 96-93, or six rounds to Diaz and four for Vasquez, minus the deduction.

That was still better than the scores that were initially announced and hadn’t included the deduction: 95-95 from two judges and 96-94 for Diaz on the third, which would have made it a majority draw.

Diaz was fortunate the wrong got righted, though the point deduction didn’t seem so proper to begin with. The reason Vasquez lost his mouthpiece in the 10th was because it was dislodged by Diaz’s jab; Vasquez’s mouth had been badly split open and wasn’t clamping down tightly enough.

The action began ugly, both guys making each other miss in the opening rounds. Diaz, a 2008 gold medalist, found more success as the fight went on. The bout began to follow a pattern: Vasquez would come forward but miss, expending energy, and then Diaz would pursue with hard shots that Vasquez would try to evade, expending even more energy. Once Vasquez tired each round, Diaz could trap him against the ropes and land.

This worked well for Diaz, except for a couple moments in the final two rounds when Vasquez landed flush. Otherwise, it appeared that he had done more than enough to win.

It’s unclear what fight the judges were watching, but Diaz will be thankful that he was still able to move to 18-1 with 8 KOs. That sole blemish was the controversial majority decision loss to Lamont Peterson last October.

vasquez-congratulates-diaz-largePhoto Cred // Premier Boxing Champions 

Vasquez suffered his first pro defeat. He is now 21-1 with 15 KOs.

 

David Greisman
About the Author:

David Greisman.

David Greisman is an award-winning boxing writer based out of Washington, D.C., who has covered the sport since 2004. He is the senior staff writer and “Fighting Words” columnist for BoxingScene.com and a reporter for The Ring magazine. Greisman is the author of the book “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing.”
Follow on Twitter @fightingwords2

Comments