By Jack Sumner @Jack_Sumner_
Seth ‘Mayhem’ Mitchell and Chris ‘Nightmare’ Arreola meet in what promises to be an exciting heavyweight shootout this weekend, when the pair clash at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California on Saturday. Given the punching power that each man possesses there’ll undoubtedly be mayhem and stylistically what bodes for an early finish, which will be a nightmare for one man given that neither can afford to lose.
Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KO’s) was being fast-tracked to a heavyweight title shot in November of last year when he met experienced contender Johnathon Banks in a WBC title eliminator. The former Michigan-state linebacker – whose back-story and imposing physical attributes had captured the imagination of the American public – was stopped by Banks in the second round however, with his defence, punch resistance and inexperience being called into question after the devastating defeat.
In June of this year, Mitchell avenged his only loss in an immediate rematch with Banks, dropping the former cruiserweight in the second round and boxing safely for the remainder of the twelve to see out a unanimous decision victory. Though he was badly hurt again by Banks in the third, this time he hung on and made it through the onslaught, showing improved defensive skills and tactical awareness.
The 31-year-old from Brandywine, Maryland can ill afford another setback though and would likely be viewed as damaged goods should he suffer another early knockout defeat. That’s certainly possible against Arreola, who without question is the hardest puncher that Mitchell will have faced at this point in his career and now with world-level experience, was once in Mitchell’s shoes as a American prospect of which much was hoped.
Arreola (35-3, 30 KO’s) won his first twenty-seven straight fights to earn a shot at WBC champion Vitali Klitshcko in 2009, but was given a brutal beating and was eventually stopped at the end of the tenth round. That was shortly followed by a majority-decision loss against Tomas Adamek, but then Arreola bounced back and put together a string of victories, before suffering another setback in his last fight this April, when he was outgunned by Bermane Stiverne over twelve rounds.
Now 32 years of age, there have always been question marks over Arreola’s dedication to the sport, with him often coming to the ring out of shape and at various times throughout his career appearing to lose interest in boxing.
He took two years out as an amateur in his late teens and after turning pro admitted he did it to “maybe make some money”. Ahead of the Mitchell bout, Arreola has hinted at retirement should he lose. That could be motivational talk, knowing another loss will likely end his chances of another world title shot, but given his history you also have to question his desire to continue.
For what he lacks in experience, Mitchell makes up for in dedication to his craft. He may only have been boxing since 2006, but that makes what he’s achieved this far all the more incredible. He’s a fantastic athlete and showed last time out that he can go the twelve round distance. Then again so can Arreola and lets face it, who really expects this one to go to the cards?
Arreola has predicted he finishes Mitchell off within six rounds with the majority of observers believing he does it even earlier. Given the Californian’s power and Mitchell’s vulnerability it’s certainly a likely outcome, but this is heavyweight boxing and should be no surprise if we get the exact reverse of that scenario.
Arreola has taken a couple of prolonged beatings in his career and against a hungrier, fresher Mitchell could well come unstuck. It’s skill and experience versus desire and conditioning with both men packing a punch in this intriguing, surely explosive affair.