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CompuBox Fight Preview: Vitali Klitschko should handle Arreola

Editor's Note: The following article was not written by any of the staffers at Bad Left Hook, but rather by the editors at CompuBox.

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Saturday's showdown between WBC champion Vitali Klitschko and Chris Arreola has injected rare excitement into boxing's most glamorous division because of their styles and incredible knockout percentages. Vitali's ko pct. of 92.3% is tops all-time among heavyweight champs. Arreola's is 88.9%. The big question: Will the charismatic Arreola be coronated or crowned? The numbers may provide an answer.

Then and now: Before Klitschko's four-year hiatus he was an amazing offensive force. Against Corrie Sanders and Danny Williams in 2004, Klitschko landed a combined 54 percent of his 59 punches per round and connected on 61 percent of his 36 power shots. In his tko loss to Lennox Lewis in '03, Klitschko landed an average of 26 punches per round, throwing 72. In 2008 against Samuel Peter and Juan Carlos Gomez, he landed a combined 42 percent of 65 punches per round and 48 percent of 27 power punches. The heavyweight average is 46 thrown, 17 landed per round.

Range master: Klitschko's command of range not only magnifies his massive dimensions but also neutralizes his rivals' jab. Against southpaws Sanders and Gomez he landed with his jab at rates of 46 percent (59 of 128) and 28 percent (56 of 202) to Sanders' 10 percent (9 of 90) and Gomez's 4 percent (2 of 54). The gap was just as glaring against Peter (42 percent, 181 of 433- an average of 54 jabs thrown per round, 23 landed- Vitali was on pace to break Lennox Lewis' heavyweight record of 213 jabs landed in a fight, vs. David Tua in '00) to 14 percent, 44 of 327) and Williams (42 percent, 104 of 246 to 6 percent, 6 of 96). If a fighter can't jab, he can't land anything else and that's the secret to Klitschko's success.

Spirit Sapper: Each of Klitschko's four fights has followed the same script - a mid-rounds KO following a lenghty beating. Never was this more evident than against Sanders. In the first Sanders equaled Klitschko in overall connects (15) and out-landed him 13-6 in power shots. But from that point on, it was a statistical massacre. In rounds 5-8, Klitschko rolled up advantages of 158-19 in total connects and 120-15 in power connects while averaging 62 punches per round to Sanders' 24. Gomez threw just 47 punches and landed 12 in the last three rounds vs. Vitali. Gomez averaged 95 punches thrown per round in his decision win over Sinan Sam in '03.

Power Machine: Arreola is a devastatingly precise power puncher. In three of his most notable fights he topped the 60 percent mark in terms of power shots - Chazz Witherspoon (62), Travis Walker (66) and Jameel McCline (63). The question is whether Arreola can pump up the volume to keep Klitschko focused on defense. Whether he can will depend on the fight's biggest variable...

Fab versus Flab: When Arreola is in condition, he can be a nightmare for anyone. At a relatively svelte 239 against Witherspoon, he unleashed 61 punches per round - 46 of which were power shots. He landed at a 59 percent rate overall and 62 percent of his hooks, uppercuts and crosses. But when he scaled in the mid-250s against Travis Walker and Jameel McCline, Arreola's output cratered to 27 and 37 punches respectively. Arreola's best chance to win will lie in his ability to create chaos and disrupt Klitschko's rhythm - and he must be in shape to do that.

Prediction: If Arreola, 28, weighs in the 230s he is young, strong and conditioned enough to take out the old man, especially if he hurts him in the first three rounds. If he's in the 250s, Klitschko, 38, will stop the huffing hulk in eight.


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