Chris Arreola and Curtis Harper came in ridiculed for their weight and their conditioning. They left to a deserved standing ovation after eight rounds of heavyweight brawling that may put them in the early lead for 2015 Fight of the Year.
In the end, it was Arreola notching a hard-earned win in his hometown, besting Harper on scores of 76-75, 77-74, and 78-73. BLH had it 77-74 for Arreola, who had to survive a tougher than expected opponent as well as what appeared to be an injured right hand or arm, along with his own conditioning issues.
But while neither man was exactly an adonis (to say the least), the fight was pure action, bomb trading from a pair of guys who were simply refusing to back down. Harper (12-4, 8 KO) was floored on a crushing right hand in the opening round, but survived the frame and was able to bounce back from there, winning the next three rounds on our scorecard to take a one-point advantage after four rounds, battering Arreola (36-4, 31 KO) with rights and lefts, working Arreola over and seeming to hurt him a few times.
But Arreola made his own comeback charge down the stretch, coming back to win the final rounds convincingly, opening up his offense and digging deep. He never dropped Harper a second time, but he hurt him occasionally, and was able to find enough in the reservoir to get through a hard night.
While there's no arguing that this was high-level professional boxing, it was a savagely entertaining fight, and one that should be remembered at the end of this year.