Home News Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola fight preview & prediction

Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola fight preview & prediction

Credit: Ryan Hafey / PBC

This weekend, Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) and challenger Chris Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) square off, in a fight which pales in comparison to the bout we had hoped for against Alexander Povetkin in Moscow. Still, give Deontay credit for staying busy and at least securing an opponent with some name recognition. So let’s take a closer look at the tale of the tape and what to expect come fight night at the Legacy Arena on July 16. 

Love or loathe him, the chiseled 6-foot-7 inch Birmingham native is must-see TV. Deontay’s unusual foray into boxing will pull at your heartstrings. He turned to the sport in 2005 after dropping out of college to support his daughter, Naieya, who was born with spina bifida but would become a quick study.

In just his 21st amateur fight, Deontay won the U.S. Olympic trials and went on to capture bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games. He gained the biggest win of his career via a 12-round unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne to become the first U.S. born fighter to hold a heavyweight title since Shannon Briggs in 2007.

Sporting an 84-inch reach and thunderous punching power, “The Bronze Bomber,” has left a sprawling trail of quick knockout victims in his wake. Interestingly enough, however, there has been no shortage of would-be challengers seeking a scrap with the champion. You see despite Deontay’s Olympic and championship pedigree, critics insist, and not without cause, that he is untested against largely low quality opposition. Such circumstances might mitigate Deontay’s accomplishments but this must be weighed against the fact that he has soundly beaten every man placed in front of him and often in frightening fashion.

Arreola brings a wealth of experience to the table, and the self-dubbed “Nightmare” would topple several high ranking opponents during his initial run through the heavyweight division before suffering his first career defeat at the hands of Vitali Klitschko in 2009. He received another undeserved “title” shot against Bermane Stiverne in 2014.

These days, Arreola appears to be a mere shadow of his former self, and even at his best, he was a wholly one-dimensional, overrated brawler. His laborious draw with journeyman Fred Kassi a year ago coupled with a contested split decision over lightly regarded Travis Kauffman in December are both pretty clear indications of a fighter in decline. It is also worth noting that the Kauffman win was later changed to a no-contest after Arreola tested positive for marijuana.

Between two powerful combatants, they bring a mind-numbing 66 combined knockouts to the ring. But ultimately, Arreola got the nod because of his name, not performance.

Arreola will try to lure Wilder into a brawl, while Wilder will work behind an educated jab and use his length as well as superior lateral movement to control tempo. An increasingly desperate Arreola will begin to lunge forward in an attempt to reach the champ’s lanky torso leaving his chin exposed to some brutal uppercuts. The end will come suddenly by the mid stanza in a bout that delivers on excitement but does nothing to assuage lingering questions about Wilder’s strength of schedule.

Prediction: Deontay Wilder TKO7