By Jake Donovan
Promoter Dan Goossen confirmed on Wednesday afternoon what was already widely speculated, that heavyweight contender Chris Arreola will face Mike Mollo next weekend.
The bout will serve as the televised opener of the June 23 tripleheader on Showtime, which airs live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Chris Arreola’s has been confirmed, he will face Mike Mollo on June 23,” Goossen stated at the end of Wednesday’s conference call. The news sounded like it was stating the obvious, but was offered as a correction to the announcement during the call that Arreola was still slated to face TBA.
The scheduled 10-round fight continues a busy stretch for Arreola (35-2, 30KO), fighting for the seventh time in the past 18 or so months. The heavyweight contender has amassed just 25 rounds of ring action over that stretch, with all but one fight ending well inside the distance.
Arreola’s last ring appearance caused a bit of a stir, though more so for his post-fight actions than over what took place in the ring.
During his post-fight interview following his one-round knockout of Eric Molina this past February, Arreola blasted promoter Don King over offensive commentary made towards his Mexican heritage. The interview – which aired live on Showtime Extreme as a prelude to the Showtime portion of the card – was immediately shut down by Showtime’s Jim Grey.
Expletives aside, Arreola has reinvented himself over the past several fights, making a greater effort to improve his previously shoddy conditioning. The Californian has weighed under 250 for each of his past six bouts and as low as 234, a weight much closer to his heyday as a rising heavyweight star.
Arreola made it to the top of heavyweight contention, only to come crashing down with a disappointing showing against Vitali Klitschko in Sept. ’09. The loss hurt, but was forgivable as Klitschko is regarded along with younger brother Wladimir as the best two heavyweights in the world.
What stung far more was his letdown against Tomasz Adamek seven months later in Ontario, Calif. Arreola showed up uninspired and dropped a majority decision to push him towards the bottom of the queue in regards to discussion of Top 10 heavyweights.
Seven straight wins have followed, along with return status as mandatory challenger to the alphabet title currently owned by the elder Klitschko.
Mollo (20-3-1, 12KO) has never been regarded as a top heavyweight, but is almost always fun to watch. In that regard, the Chicagoland brawler figures to make Arreola work for his money, but will have to do a lot more to improve on his current run, having won just once in his past four contests.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]