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Rumor Mill: Cristobal Arreola vs Vitali Klitschko

Cristobal_with_ontario_queens_medium According to this article from Yahoo Sports, Arreola, Klitschko and HBO are all interested in making a summer fight between between the two at the Staples Center.  Due to the complete and utter corruption of the WBC, Oleg Maskaev is Vitali Klitschko's current mandatory.  In a nutshell, the WBC screwed around with Maskaev for years in the saga that was created when Vitali unretired, and after Maskaev threatened to file a lawsuit, the WBC caved and made him the completely unworthy mandatory. 

It makes a lot of sense from Vitali's perspective that he would rather face Arreola than Maskaev.  He can probably outbox either one rather easily, but Vitali only has a few fights before he has to retire again.  Those creaky knees and back of his aren't going to last forever, and he probably needs to cash out as soon as possible, taking whatever big money fights can come to him.  With Wladimir already facing the other big draw in David Haye, Arreola is probably the biggest draw that's left.  However, it only makes sense for Vitali if HBO kicks in significant amounts of cash.  Vitali is already a massive draw in Germany.  Not only did he sell out the house in his boring fight in Germany, but literally half of the country that had the TV on tuned in to watch his fight.  Having a fight out on the west coast of the US, he's not going to get nearly as much of a live gate, and German TV won't pay huge fees to syndicate a fight at 2 am. 

It also makes a lot of sense from HBO's perspective, if you agree with their mission to bring the heavyweight division back to relevance.  While I think that making a big investment in the heavyweight division right now would be relatively fruitless, if they're going to invest in anyone, it might as well be Arreola, and this is the biggest fight that Arreola can get.  Senior executives at HBO are calling him "the most exciting heavyweight on the planet," and he might help tap a demographic that hasn't had much interest in the heavyweight division in the past.  On a personal level, I wish they'd spend their big bucks on fights that I think would be competitive, but chances are that the fight wouldn't be a complete stinker. 

It just doesn't seem to make much sense for Arreola.  The article mentions that he'd get about a $2 million payday out of this fight, as opposed to about $400,000 that he's been making his past few fights.  Maybe his camp really thinks he's as good as he'll ever get, and they want to cash out before Vitali has to retire.  Maybe they're gambling that Arreola will still be a viable contender after the Vitali fight, because he'll be exciting and will hold his own against one of the best, making him into a bigger star than he already is.  I just don't see it.  There are two other beltholders in Wladimir and Valuev that Arreola actually has a chance of beating due to his style.  I think Vitali would give him such a one-sided beatdown that it wouldl literally ruin him as a fighter.  It's his aggressiveness that makes him fun to watch, but as we've seen with Jeff Lacy (among others), a fighter who wins on aggression can get ruined by a one-sided beatdown, especially if their head isn't in the right place before the bell ever rings. 

If I was part of Arreola's management, I'd play it safer.  Arreola is second in line to be a mandatory for Wladimir at the moment.  Within a couple years, he'll get that fight.  The $2 million he'd get fighting 5 decent but not great fighters in the meantime would be about the same as the $2M he'd get for getting destroyed by Vitali.  Arreola at least has a chance of putting Wladimir on his ass, but would have little chance of doing the same to Dr. Ironbeard.

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