By Jake Donovan
Though not appearing on the flagship station, heavyweight contender Chris Arreola will get some face time on Showtime Extreme, leading in the network’s fist boxing telecast of the 2012 season.
Showtime’s televised doubleheader next Saturday features former two-division champ Paul Williams going up against Japanese middleweight southpaw Nobuhiro Ishida, with light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud putting his belt and unbeaten mark on the line against former titlist Gabriel Campillo of Spain. Both bouts air live from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
In a new format planned by the network for many of its broadcasts from here going forward, the main portion of the show will be preceded by a special lead-in segment on Showtime Extreme. The first bout to be showcased on this new platform will be Arreola’s ring return as he takes on Eric Molina in a 10-round heavyweight bout.
The heavyweight scrap will serve as the lone fight on the sister network, which features the network debut of veteran Hall of Fame inducted broadcaster Barry Tompkins, who calls the action with longtime Shobox color commentator Steve Farhood.
Next Saturday’s showdown with Molina will mark Arreola’s sixth in a span of less than 13 months, with his last four fights featuring a physique reflective of his early years when unbeaten and on the rise. The Californian – once infamous for lazy training habits and weakness for food and beer – has weighed in the neighborhood of 235-240 for each of his past four fights.
The change comes after an intervention among his team following the low point in his career, having lost twice in a span of three fights. While the losses came to top opposition – a failed title bid against Vitali Klitschko in Sept. ’09 and a close but clear points loss to Tomasz Adamek seven months later – it came amidst a stretch where training and conditioning wrongly took a back seat to ring activity.
His past five bouts are reflective of a man who gets it and – a month shy of his 31st birthday – still has a chance at becoming a dominant presence in a severely weak American heavyweight market.
Arreola still needs to prove his worth against top competition, with the last five fights coming against garden variety tune-ups and Molina - despite sporting a glossy record (18-1, 14KO) – serving his purpose here, in being a serviceable heavyweight on whom you don’t have to spend much for travel as he lives just two hours away in Raymondville, Texas.
But with each win comes confidence for Arreola. With each recent ring appearance – and perhaps more specifically, the preceding weigh-in - comes restored confidence among his fan base.
For all remaining doubters, Arreola’s handlers warn that you might be missing out on a grand opportunity.
“Chris Arreola is out there, has fought five times in a short period of time and has gotten his weight down. If anyone is overlooking him – whether it’s the networks or media, they’ve made a big mistake,” insists his longtime promoter Dan Goossen.
While next weekend marks the latest in series of tune-up fights, the goal by year’s end is for the Mexican-American to be positioned for a world title fight, regardless of the title claimant once that moment comes.
“Chris will win a heavyweight title, whether there’s a Klitschko there or not,” Goossen promises.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to J[email protected] .