Saturday night’s heavyweight clash at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., on Showtime shapes up as a race against time.
Seth Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 knockouts) could be the likely favorite if he can get to the bell ending the 12th round, while most observers believe that the hard-punching Chris Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs) should he manage to crack Mitchell on his chin before the fight can get there.
“Chris Arreola can be out-boxed, but Seth Mitchell…Mitchell can crack, too,” states Keith Idec, The Record/BoxingScene.com. “But Arreola has shown a much more reliable chin against some big, strong heavyweights, most notably Vitali Klitschko.“
Although Mitchell, 31, does not believe that his 32-year-old rival can win a boxing match against him, many do not believe that Arreola will even make that attempt to do so.
“This is the perfect fight to get Chris Arreola back on the left side of the ledger,” states Mike Coppinger, of RingTV.com/USA Today. “Arreola still packs a punch and Seth Mitchell has shown his whiskers are shaky. The first time Arreola lands flush, Mitchell will be shaken.”
Mitchell is coming off a unanimous decision over Johnathon Banks in June that avenged a second-round stoppage loss last November, and Arreola had surgery in May to repair a broken nose suffered during his unanimous-decision loss to Bermane Stiverne in April.
“If the nightmarish beating that Chris Arreola took last April against Bermane Stiverne is any indication of how much ‘The Nightmare’ has left,” states Jeffrey Freeman, of KODigest.TV,”Seth ‘Mayhem’ Mitchell must be licking his chops in anticipation of picking up where Stiverne left off with Arreola a bloody punching bag struggling to breathe through a shattered nose.”
RingTV.com sought the opinions of 20 boxing insiders as to who will win Saturday’s battle between Mitchell and Arreola.
Chris Arreola KO 5 Seth Mitchell: This is the perfect fight to get Chris Arreola back on the left side of the ledger. Arreola still packs a punch and Seth Mitchell has shown his whiskers are shaky.
The first time Arreola lands flush, Mitchell will be shaken. It will be just a matter of time until Arreola finishes him off, hopefully setting up a fall fight with Deontay Wilder.
Record: 7-5 [Last pick: Froch UD 12 Kessler]
Chris Arreola, TKO 7 Seth Mitchell: Seth Mitchell has guts. Too bad he doesn’t have a chin. Chris Arreola has heavy hands and the leverage to deliver them in targeting a weakness that Johnathon Banks exposed twice, first in a second-round stoppage of Mitchell in 2012 and again in a rematch last June.
The strong-willed Mitchell won the rematch by decision, but he was hurt in the third round. For some reason, Banks didn’t finish the job. Banks let him escape. The aggressive Arreola won’t make that mistake.
Record: 12-5 [Last pick: Santa Cruz UD 12 Terrazas]
Seth Mitchell TKO7 Chris Arreola: If the nightmarish beating that Chris Arreola took last April against Bermane Stiverne is any indication of how much “The Nightmare” has left, Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell must be licking his chops in anticipation of picking up where Stiverne left off with Arreola a bloody punching bag struggling to breathe through a shattered nose.
Arreola still has good power which makes him a threat against the shaky chin and porous defense of Mitchell but one punch at a time won’t do it. It takes combination punching to beat Mitchell and Arreola showed none of that against Stiverne. Arreola can still take a good punch too and his courage under fire has never been questioned. Of course, Mitchell brings some power of his own and the newly found patience to box a little if he needs to as shown in the Banks rematch.
In this intriguing crossroads match-up, I expect Arreola to provide just the kind of durable but stationary target that a work in progress like Mitchell needs to gain experience and confidence. The hungrier Mitchell will probably survive some shaky moments early by wisely holding before a nice busy jab allows him to bust Arreola up good with the right hand en route to a seventh round TKO. When Arreola awakens from this latest nightmare, retirement will be his best option.
Record: 9-6 [Santa Cruz KO 6 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola TKO 4 Seth Mitchell: Even though Seth Mitchell avenged his sole loss to Johnathon Banks last time out, I remain far from convinced about his potential.
He has not mixed with anything resembling the quality of opposition that Chris Arreola has, and somewhere during the course of the 12 rounds, I expect him to get hurt and subsequently obliterated. Arreola is an underachiever.
But when the moment moves, him he can fight and he can certainly finish.,I expect Mitchell to get off to a bright start, but the roof will cave in on him in the first half of the fight when “The Nightmare” opens up.
Record: 4-3 [Santa Cruz TKO 10 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO 8 Seth Mitchell: Both fighters seem to be defined more by their flaws than their strengths, and, as is the case in most Chris Arreola fights, his fortunes will ride on the number we see on the scale. If he weighs 240 — or preferably less — Arreola has the cardiovascular conditioning to maintain a fast pace but if he weighs more, his attack slows down considerably, and often fatally.
Seth Mitchell is a hard hitter but his fights with Banks and Chazz Witherspoon prove beyond doubt his chin is suspect. Mitchell was lucky Banks didn’t put the hammer down in terms of pace in their rematch because when he did throw, he landed and he did so with hurting force. If Arreola is in shape and if he throws punches, he’ll take Mitchell out. If he’s in less than prime condition, the fight will go more rounds but I still believe Arreola’s experience and punch will be enough to get the job done. It’ll just be harder to accomplish..
Record: 9-6 [Santa Cruz KO 9 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola TKO 5 over Seth Mitchell: Chris Arreola can be out-boxed, but Seth Mitchell, while brave and strong, simply won’t be able to survive Arreola’s power.
Mitchell can crack, too, but Arreola has shown a much more reliable chin against some big, strong heavyweights, most notably Vitali Klitschko.
Record: 8-3 [Santa Cruz UD 12 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola TKO 6 Seth Mitchell: Chris Arreola was floored and out-boxed by Bermane Stiverne in his last fight, but still has enough power and experience to stop Seth Mitchell.
Though Mitchell has an excellent work ethic and showed his heart and resiliency in his rematch with Johnathon Banks, I still have my doubts whether he can consistently withstand Arreola’s pressure and stay vertical for the full 12 rounds.
Record: 7-6 [Mares TKO 8 Gonzalez]
Chris Arreola KO 4 Seth Mitchell: This one should be fun while it lasts, but I dont think it will be that long. Both should be plenty motivated, Seth Mitchell trying to prove he belongs, and Chris Arreola, after the loss to Bermane Stiverne trying to get back into the mix.
I do not think Mitchell will be slick enough or hit Chris often enough to slow down “The Nightmare.” I also think Arreola will show the better ability to take the heavy punches that both will be landing.
Mitchell will be better served if he concentrates on a hard body attack to extend the fight into the later rounds. I don’t believe it will ever get there, however. Arreola will force him into a slugging match and Chris is the better slugger. Arreola lands the bigger bombs and takes out Mitchell in four or less.
Record: 11-5 [Santa Cruz UD 12 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO 4 Seth Mitchell: Neither one is the NEXT heavyweight champion, but, that being said, this one looks to have fireworks written all over it.
Seth Mitchell certainly did not impress in his revenge win over Johnathon Banks. Chris Arreola, if he is serious – for one last run at bigger paydays – he’ll salavate over meeting someone so chin-flawed and inexperienced as Mitchell.
Record: 8-6 [Santa Cruz KO 8 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO 9 Seth Mitchell: For Chris Arreola in particular, this fight represents his last opportunity to be considered a legitimate heavyweight contender. Seth Mitchell avenged his lone defeat earlier this year, and though a loss would be pretty damaging, it wouldn’t be career ending.
With Arreola establishing camp in Phoenix, away from the distractions of him, I have a feeling we’ll be getting a more ready fighter than we have seen in years. He still has loads more experience than Mitchell, who is still learning on the job. I expect Arreola to break Mitchell down and stop him in the ninth, though Mitchell will put up a good fight until then.
Record: 7-1 [Santa Cruz UD 12 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola TKO 6 Seth Mitchell: This is an intriguing matchup between two limited, but hard-hitting heavyweights. Chris Arreola was born with the stronger chin of the two.
In his last three fights, Seth Mitchell has been buzzed, stopped and wobbled. Arreola has been floored two times in his 10-year career. I expect Arreola to force the action and see if Mitchell remains upright. I don’t think he will. Arreola by stoppage.
Record: 1-1 [Santa Cruz W 12 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO 4 Seth Mitchell: Barring Chris Arreola having turned old overnight — which, frankly, is possible considering the amount of tough fights he’s been in in the last six years or so — I just can’t see Seth Mitchell and his glass jaw lasting long.
You don’t have to be good to beat Mitchell. You just have to hit his chin before he hits yours. And even if Mitchell is the first to connect, I think Arreola will be able to absorb the punches much better than his opponent. Lets say Arreola by fourth round stoppage in a sloppy but fun heavyweight brawl.
Record: 11-6 [Santa Cruz W 12 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO Seth Mitchell: One guy appears to have questionable whiskers. The other has had questionable professionalism and a level of attention far outstripping a career that has gone on about a decade without a single win of any real note.
Seth Mitchell appears the fare Chris Arreola typically feasts on. There’s no reason to consider either guy a serious contender regardless of outcome, but it might make for a fun short fight before Arreola lowers the boom.
Record: 11-6 [Santa Cruz KO Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO 8 Seth Mitchell: I think Chris Arreola is better than Seth Mitchell is every way. Mitchell prepares better in every way. Where does that leave us?
Talent is often the deciding factor in a pick-em fight, which I believe this is. I think Arreola will catch and hurt Mitchell at some point.
Record: 7-5 [Froch W 12 Kessler]
Chris Arreola KO 4 Seth Mitchell: I can’t but think Chris Arreola will be all over Seth Mitchell, knowing his vulnerable chin. This should be an exciting fight.
Because this is probably it for Mitchell — that do-or-die time knowing another devastating knockout loss could mean the end of his career as a viable contender. Arreola has a lot at stake here. He knows a loss to Mitchell sets him back, too.
Seth Mitchell W 12 Chris Arreola: I’m going with Seth Mitchell to outlast Chris Arreola over the distance.
Record: 12-3 [Kovalev W 12 Cleverly]
Chris Arreola KO 3 Seth Mitchell: I‘m picking Chris Arreola by knockout, maybe around round 3. I know Seth Mitchell is the fresher of the two, but there really is no substitution for knowing how to fight.
Unless Arreola is completely, entirely shot, I can’t see him losing this fight. These are the fights that Mitchell needs now, though.
Better to find out what a fighter has before it’s too late. I’m betting that he can’t do it, but if he does, it’ll hold Mitchell in good standing.
Record: 6-3 [Santa Cruz W 12 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO 3 Seth Mitchell: This is truly a crossroads fight with the winner barely staying relevant and the loser falling off the map. Chris Arreola has faced the better opposition, while Seth Mitchell is still learning each and every fight.
Mitchell, who has been passed by Deontay Wilder as America’s top heavyweight prospect, is trying to get where Arreola once was.
The difference in this fight will be Arreola’s slightly better power and significantly better chin. I expect a slug-fest, with Arreola hurting Michell early and finishing him soon after.
Record: 5-1 [Santa Cruz KO 6 Terrazas]
Chris Arreola KO 5 Seth Mitchell: Both of these guys have heavyweight-sized power, but Seth Mitchell, as everyone knows, has issues with his chin.
While Chris Arreola, who went down in his loss to Bermane Stiverne, has never beaten anyone of distinction, losing all three of his fights to name heavyweights, I do think he catches Mitchell with a big shot here.
If Seth can stay away from Arreola early, he has a chance. But I just don’t see that happening.
Record: 8-5 [Thurman TKO 7 Chaves]
Chris Arreola KO7 Seth Mitchell: This is a very intriguing Heavyweight crossroads fight. Seth Mitchell gained revenge outpointing Johnathon Banks in a snoozer last time out having been knocked out by him last year. It must be noted however that Banks had injured both hands hence his pedestrian performance.
Chris Arreola returned from a 14 month hiatus as the favorite to beat Bermane Stiverne only to get heavy dropped in the third something he was never able to shake off before being widely outpointed. Neither guy can afford to lose this one.
By a resounding 18-2, the experts select Chris Arreola to back from defeat by handing the second loss of his career to heavyweight rival Seth Mitchell
[Note: Martinez-Burgos was a draw, meaning all who selected otherwise received a loss]
Photo by Gene Blevins, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org