It was a good fight. Not "great" by a long shot, but better than I expected, despite the paycheck sort of ending.
Anyway, here are some things I feel like I learned from it.
- Arreola has a very good right hand. It's not spectacular, but its a business-oriented punch that he doesn't throw lightly. He wants to set the pace with it, and with McCline's "new Klitschko style" he sort of did. You can almost watch the fight as a progression of Chris' right hands
- Chris fights bigger than he is. He's not a "small" guy, but his foot movement kind of resembles a much larger guy, trying to fire off the half-step. He's not "big" enough to own the center ring, and McCline nailed him a couple of times while he was pretending to be able to do it.
- Chris' left hand is not very good. It's not totally horrible, but the times that Jameel nailed him were usually countering off of it with an uppercut.
- HBO politicking is at an all-time-high. The usual scripted ebb and flow was punctuated by the fact that Steward, Merchant and Lampley all called the fight. At one point, Merchant made a comment about how "this is how Americans fight" and Lampley (in his imitable way) waited a couple of beats before asking "How so, Larry?", which in Lampley-speak means "You're full of bullcrap, Larry." Merchant perked up for a moment to comment on how "European fighters" -- meaning ex-Soviet ones (and, really, meaning Manny's ex-Soviet one) -- were "good fighters" but lacked the sort of aggression that Americans apparently had in spades. There was sort of a bizarre pause, as though Manny was supposed to say something about this but didn't.... which leads to me to think that....
- Arreola really doesn't stand much of a chance against either Wlad or Vitali Klitschko. Honestly, I wish he would, but there's a real gap here that no one seems to want to recognize. It's not just size, but Chris' style is all wrong for these guys, particularly for Wlad. His footwork seems to play into Wlad K's style in the same way that Calvin Brock's did. I'd give him a slightly better chance against Vitali, but not enough to warrant the sort of pom-pom-work that HBO is willing to give him. Chris needs to be in against 2-3 more top heavyweights before he is ready for these guys, and show some ability to not just move his head, but to fight small and get inside with big steps. Otherwise, I think it might be another mismatch... and an easy KO.
Just my own thoughts on the subject. It was a good fight, and I like Chris. But there is such a thing as seasoning. I would like to see Chris against Igbraminov, Briggs or Valuev, and maybe all three. I think those kind of experiences would get him ready to be champion.