Around 11:30 PM EST tonight on HBO, a very intriguing matchup will be popping off between Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola and Tomasz “Goral” Adamek. All nipple jokes aside, the real nightmare for Arreola and his trainers is, and always has been, Arreola’s conditioning.
At the weigh-in on Friday, Arreola tipped the scales at a whopping 250 lbs, about 15 lbs above his ideal fighting weight. Adamek, who is naturally a much smaller guy, weighed in at a healthy 217 lbs. The oddsmakers have this fight at a virtual pick ’em. Some books have Arreola as a subtle favorite, while others have Adamek as a slight favorite. By all accounts this should be a very close fight between 2 evenly matched opponents. For the sake of this article let’s use the pick ’em line, which means you must lay -115 juice to bet on either fighter.
So where is the value at in this line? Which pugilist will give you more bang for your buck? Adamek made a lot of noise in the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions, piling up an impressive record of 38-1 before opting to use the David Haye plan, i.e. packing on some pounds and moving up to the heavyweight division. Since moving up with the big boys, Adamek is 2-0 with victories over tough guy Jason Estrada and washed up legend Andrew Golota. Whenever a fighter moves up in weight, there is always the concern that maybe he’ll be “biting off more than he can chew,” but so far Adamek has been able to handle the transition seamlessly. He didn’t dominate Estrada quite like people expected, but he did earn a hard fought unanimous decision. His only career defeat was a decision loss to light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, which is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.
Arreola on the other hand, is beyond a natural heavyweight. His steadfast diet of fried chorizos and Dos Equis six-packs has a lot of people in boxing circles, myself included, questioning whether or not Arreola is taking his career seriously. We all saw his emotional, teary-eyed, f-bomb laced meltdown following his fight with Vitali Klitschko, in which he vowed to come back in shape and focused. It now appears though that his proclivity for the buffet line has overtaken his passion for boxing. Sure, there’s no doubt that his devastating punching power is still there, but there’s no way you can be properly trained for a 12 round fight when you enter the ring 15 to 20 lbs overweight. All that extra flab could easily be the difference if this fight goes into the late rounds.
So how exactly will this fight pan out stylistically? Both men have incredible power and solid chins. Adamek has never been stopped and Arreola has only been stopped by Vitali Klitschko. The difference in this fight will be punching technique. Arreola throws wide, looping punches that take awhile to find their target. In his fight against Brian Minto he routinely threw wild, looping hooks, which left himself wide open. Minto actually hit him with quite a few power shots because of this. Maybe it’s possible that he didn’t respect Minto’s power so he was willing to stand and trade, but if Arreola throws those wide punches against Adamek he will be in trouble.
Adamek has extremely good punching technique. He throws short, compact punches that are delivered as straight as an arrow. His defense isn’t even all that great. He relies more on his granite chin to absorb punishment than he does his guard, which could conceivably cause him problems with Arreola’s power, but I definitely think Adamek’s chin is strong enough to handle everything Arreola can throw.
Let’s breakdown all the attributes of each fighter and see who has the edge:
Chin: slight edge to Adamek
Power: slight edge to Arreola
Size: huge edge to Arreola
Conditioning: huge edge to Adamek
Technique: huge edge to Adamek
This should be a dead even fight for the first several rounds. I do think Arreola will have his moments and be able to land a couple of his looping hooks; however, I think Adamek’s chin will be able to withstand the early onslaught. As the fight wears on, I think Arreola’s conditioning will become an issue and he’ll start to fade. In kindergarten we all learned that the quickest way to get from Point A to Point B is a straight line. As Arreola begins to tire, I think Adamek’s sharp, straight punches will be the story of the fight. Although a knockout is possible, I don’t expect one because both fighters have sturdy beards. Arreola is the much bigger guy, but by the 8th round I think he’ll be gasping for air and he’ll be looking just to finish the fight on his feet.
My official prediction is Adamek to win by a close unanimous decision. Try to find a book where Adamek is at even money or better and get your money down. You can also wager on the round prop bet which is Over/Under 9.5 Rounds. You can find the Over 9.5 Rounds at close to even money as well. My official plays are:
Adamek to win -115
Over 9.5 Rounds -105
Enjoy the fight and don’t forget that Mayweather/Mosley is next weekend!