In another excellent card by Showtime Championship Boxing on Saturday night, veterans Seth Mitchell and Rafael Marquez were knocked out by Chris Arreola and Efrain Esquivias respectively.
Coming into the fight the arena had a buzz around it because both veteran fighters were thought to be at the end of their rope. Fans and media could be heard saying things such as, “It’s now or never for Mitchell,” or “Marquez needs this fight if he hopes to get anymore relevant fights in the future.” The air of desperation was apparent for both fighters and it turns out that neither received their desired results.
In the first bout Esquivias entered the fight as the under dog against Marquez and for the first few rounds. Marquez showed the skill and heart of a former champion, but the legs just gave out after awhile. Esquivias took no time in attacking when he saw Marquez tire in the 3rd round. From then on it was a dismantling of Marquez that led to a 9th round stoppage.
Esquivias had nothing but respect for Marquez following the fight:
“It means everything. He’s one of my favorite fighters. When he beat Tim Austin I became a big fan of Rafael. Now, I am in the ring with him and it’s a huge honor. I am still his biggest fan. He’s a great champion.” – Esquivias
That opened the door for the main event of the night which featured two heavy handed heavyweights, Seth Mitchell and Chris Arreola. My first thought was, “Wow are both of these guys out of shape.”
The heavyweight division in boxing has been hurting for awhile and these two as a main event just didn’t restore much faith in the future of the division. Just look at UFC Heavyweights such as Valasquez or Dos Santos. The athletes seem to be going elsewhere and boxing needs to find a way to recapture that division.
Fighters like these may not capture the eye of young fans but the action and style of fight surely did.
Mitchell was thought to be on his last shot as a future contender and Arreola was looking to use this as a spring board heading into a match with a bigger opponent such as Deontay Wilder.
Arreola wasted no time in showign that he was a class above Mitchell. Mitchell was knocked down 3 times in the first round as punch after devastating punch landed cleanly on his chin. The ref mercifully stopped it with 40 seconds to go in the round and Arreola, for now, can make a claim as one of the best up & coming heavy weights.
Mitchell struggled hiding his disappointment during his post-fight statement:
“I got caught. I am very disappointed. I was confident in my ability to win this fight. My heart just hurts right now. This was a big fight for both of us, a fight that I wanted. I didn’t want to step back after beating Johnathon Banks.”
Arreola on the other hand left humility at the door and seemed to be borderline arrogant during his post-fight remarks:
“I want to thank myself for putting the work in. I worked my ass off in Phoenix for this fight. I respect Seth for his power, but the big difference for me was in training camp.”
Arreola will surely get a better opponent in his next fight. His ability to train and condition for later round fights will be key in him retaining his title.