By Tom Donelson
Member Boxing Writers Association and has contributed to dmboxing since 2008.
This is the tale of two fighters, one still on the top oft the world and the other may have seen the end of his career as a title contender.
There are several things to consider about Floyd Mayweather beginning with his age. Over the first half of Mayweather’s fight with Maidana, Maidana continuously trapped Mayweather but was this strictly due to Mayweather’s age or simply due to Maidana toughness? Maidana has shown over his career a fighter who could take a punch and to continue his pressure style. He is a fighter who can’t be denied and Mayweather difficulty with Maidana could be related to his style as much as Mayweather’s age.
What intrigue me was the second half of the fight as Maidana slowed down just enough to allow Mayweather to escape. It is usually Mayweather who controlled the pace but in this fight; Maidana set the pace and forced Mayweather to fight a quicker pace. Over the last six rounds, Mayweather was able to escape from Maidana pressure and keep the fight in the middle of the ring. For a 37 year old fighter, he appeared to be the fresher of the two. The one thing positive for Mayweather was his 54% accuracy of punches connected but the negative is that Maidana connected on as many punches as Mayweather. While Maidana connected on only 24% of his punches, Mayweather got hit with more punches than in the past decades and one reason is that Maidana threw twice of punches and kept moving forward throughout the fight. So are we witnessing the slow erosion of the Mayweather skills or was it a case that Maidana had the right style to fight Mayweather?
Who does Mayweather fight next? Rule one for Mayweather, which opponent bring in the big bucks? I suspect that a Maidana rematch or Cotto if he gets past Sergio Martinez are the two opponents who will guarantee some big bucks. Another fight is Amir Khan but this only works if Mayweather thinks there is more money in fighting Khan as oppose to Maidana or Cotto. Plus if Mayweather wants to fight in September then Khan is out due to Ramadan.
Chris Arreola loss to Bermane Stiverne may have ended Arreola’s career as a title contender. This was Arreola big chance to win a title and while he lost to Stiverne, a year earlier; he felt that the result would be different in the rematch. For the first five rounds, Arreola looked as good as he had in years. He was in shape, nearly ten pounds lighter than his first bout with Stivarne and began the fight by jabbing and pushing Stivarne to the ropes. There were rounds that he connected on more than twice as many punches as Stiverne. Arreola used a wide arsenal of punches with left hooks to the body and right hands to the head. He managed to get around Stivarne defense but one right hand in the sixth round turned the fight around. Once Arreola felt the full brunt of Sterne’s power, the fight was over.
Arreola came in this fight in shape, he had a game plan that he executed perfectly for five rounds but one punch and his career as championship contender was over. For many years, Arreola was a warrior in the ring but he never showed the discipline outside the ring to take his fight game to the next level. Arreola had the charisma to be a popular champion but this loss showed that years of not taking his craft seriously outside the ring finally caught up with him.
For Mayweather, his march toward history continues as he looks to end his career undefeated and Arreola career as a championship contender may have ended with a right hand that brought his downfall against Stiverne.
Stiverne Right Hand Decides Arreola’s Fate
Chris Arreola went for the WBC heavyweight title, vacated by Vitali Klitschko, and his opponent was Bermane Stiverne, who had defeated Arreola with a unanimous decision including a knockdown just one year ago.
In the first televised bout of the evening, undefeated Amir Iman faced Yordenis Ugas in a battle of junior welterweights. Iman looked good most of the first round as he connected on combinations and found a home for his right on two different occasion but Ugas nailed Iman with a solid right as the round ended. Ugas picked up the action in the second half as he landed combinations and while Iman managed to land combinations of his own; this was Ugas round. Iman jab started to work effectively in the fourth round as he got off his punches first and at the end of the round, he landed a solid right that forced Ugas to retreat.
Throughout the fourth thru sixth round rounds, Iman moved behind his jab and Ugas played defense which hand cuff his punching output. Throughout the seventh round, Iman dominated the round with his boxing skill as it was Ugas who running out of gas. An Iman’s right hand knocked Ugas mouth piece out. This was a surprising development since Iman never went beyond four rounds in his career.
Iman came out in the eighth round jabbing and connecting on rights as he easily upset Ugas. Ugas was a big step up for Iman as Ugas was a former Cuban Olympican with 300 plus amateur bouts and had more professional experience whereas Iman previous combined opponents lost some 60 plus fights more than they won. Iman was ready for his first trip in primetime.
The first round of the Arreola-Stiverne saw a competitive round as both fighters exchanged punches. Arreola began by pressuring Stiverne and even landing a couple of rights through Stiverne defenses, but Stiverne right hand to the body forced Arreola to retreat. Arreola trapped Stiverne on the rope and landed a combination after unleashing several body shots but a Stiverne upper cut sent Arreola retreating a second time.
The second round was a better round for Arreola who managed to connect on some solid rights whereas Stiverne threw one punch at a time; looking for a knockout punch. Arreola attacked throughout the third round as he trapped Stiverne on the rope for most of the round and there were three big right hands that hurt Stiverne.
Going into the fifth round, Arreola activity won him the first third of the fight and showed at least for four rounds, he learned his lesson from their previous bout. He worked the body and head while throwing a ton of punches. Going into the sixth round, Arreola was ahead on the score card but Stiverne threw out a slow left jab that preoccupied Arreola but a right hand sent Arreola down. Arreola retreated after getting back up and this allowed Stiverne to unleashed a variety of punches that sent Arreola down a second time. Arreola legs were wobbly but he got up one more time as he was hoping to make it through the round but Stiverne connected on a variety of punches which forced the referee to stop the fight.
Through the first five rounds, Arreola looked good as he jabbed his way in and landed some effective combinations but Stiverne had the great equalizer as he wiped out a lead on the scorecard with his right hand.
What now? Wladimir Klitschko wants to unify all of the titles including Stiverne WBC title and Deontay Wilder wants his shot at the WBC title. Either way, Stiverne first defense of his title will be a tough battle to retain his title