By Luis Sandoval
For the second time in a month’s span, a Heavyweight bout hosted at the Fantasy Springs Casino ended in the very first round as Chris Arreola (35-3, 31KOs) put himself back in the win column with a quick and vicious victory over Seth Mitchell (26-2-1, 19KOs). It only took 2 minutes and 26 seconds for Arreola to make good on his promise that he would knock Mitchell out as he has now positioned himself to land a big fight again.
In the week leading up to the bout, both fighters had said their contest would not go the distance and would end early. They were both correct but it was Arreola who inflicted the damaging blows while Mitchell was the one on the receiving end.
Ironically it was Mitchell who would strike first in the fight as he hit Arreola with a quick one-two punch in the opening seconds. Arreola brushed off the combination and began hounding Mitchell around the ring looking to land his own attack. The first right hand Arreola threw that connected immediately discombobulated Mitchell as his legs turned to jelly and he held on for dear life.
Arreola did his best to try to free himself from the clinch and continue his attack but Mitchell held on tight as Arreola would throw Mitchell to the floor to finally free himself. It wasn’t a knockdown by any means but it wouldn’t be the last time Mitchell would end up on the canvas.
To his credit, Mitchell did his best to try to return his own fire as he caught Chris with a solid left hook as Arreola charged in. While it was a good shot, it wasn’t enough to deter Arreola who once again found a home for his right hand and this time put Mitchell down for the count. Mitchell would get up but Arreola would unload a barrage of punches as the referee stepped in and called a halt to the bout.
This was a must win fight for both fighters as Arreola was trying to bounce back from a tough loss to Bermane Stiverne and Mitchell was still trying to prove he belonged at the top of the division. Arreola made it no secret that he didn’t think Mitchell belonged in the ring with him and he sure made it seem that way tonight.
While the fight didn’t last a round, Arreola credited his newfound dedication and training camp in Arizona as a big reason why he was successful. Arreola has had difficulties in the past with his discipline and training regime but it appears he finally found a location and plan that works.
“I love Phoenix. Phoenix was good to me. All the people were good. The training was great. Ain’t nothing like it. I want to thank myself for working hard. I’m the one who put the work in. I was in there busting my ass off. Thanks to Henry [Ramirez] for being out there, Phoenix, and Central Boxing. It made a big difference” said Arreola.
With this victory, Arreola is once again on a hunt for the world title. The champion, Vitali Klitchko, is likely to only fight one more time next year before retiring as reported by BoxingScene. With Vitali likely out, Arreola and Stiverne might have to lock horns again and Arreola is more than willing to avenge his latest defeat and even an older one.
“I want that [Stiverne] fight again. I respect him because he beat me fair and square man. I’m not going to be like ‘Oh, I didn’t train hard’. I did what I was supposed to do and he did was he supposed to do that fight. I want Stiverne and I want Tomasz Adamek. I want to avenge my two losses. If Vitali is out, he’s out. It’s going to be the dawn of a new era” said Arreola in his dressing room after the fight.
If its one thing Arreola will not be short of, its opponents to fight as Deontay Wilder took to Twitter to call him out while Bryant Jennings asked for his opportunity in person after the fight once the cameras were turned off (video to come soon on BoxingScene).
As for Mitchell, it’s a tough pill to swallow as he endured a verbal onslaught throughout the week from Arrola and now suffered a defeat at his hands as well. There were still questions regarding Mitchell’s chin and it betrayed him again tonight as he was hurt for the fourth fight in a row. Seth expressed he needs a much needed rest and will regroup and talk to his team about his next move.
Efrain Esquivias (17-2-1, 10KOs) may have put an end to the great career of Rafael Marquez (41-9, 37KOs) as he stopped him in the 9th round of their Featherweight bout. Esquivias recorded his first victory in his last four fights and his first stoppage since 2011.
Marquez actually started out well as he boxed and was able to find openings on the charging Esquivias in the first couple rounds. The former champion used his jab to set up his offense but his success would be short lived.
In the 4th round, Esquivias’ busy hands began finding a home to the head and body of Marquez who was getting outworked. Even when Marquez tried to fire back, he was quickly overwhelmed by Esquivias return attack as lead rights and body shots landed flush on the aging veteran.
Despite taking continuous punishment, Marquez would show some life at the end of the 7th as he landed a hard right hand and followed it up with a sustained attack. The tables turned momentarily as it was Esquivias who was on the ropes getting tagged with shots as it was the best moment Marquez had since the early rounds.
Unfortunately for Marquez, he wouldn’t be able to sustain the momentum as he gave it right back to Esquivias in the 8th round and once again began getting hit.
The end would come at the beginning of 9th as a big right hand would make Marquez crumble to the canvas. Marquez would get up and take a few steps in his corner’s direction as referee Raul Caiz Jr had seen enough and waived the fight off at 19 seconds of the round.
Esquivias scored the biggest victory of his career as this was a must win situation after coming up short in his last two meaningful fights. While Marquez has seen better days, it was still a good win for the 30 year old Featherweight who said he is now in search of a world title and is ready to take on anybody.
For Marquez, he will take some time to decide if he wants to continue or retire from the sport. He looked considerably slow and even a reunion with former trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain wasn’t enough to rectify his current decline.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @truewest007. You can also tune in to Boxingscene’s official audio show The Boxing Lab every Tuesday from 6-8PM PST with host Ernest Gabion, Luis Sandoval, and Ryan Burton.