Mancuso: Heavyweight Could Retire In Brooklyn

Put it this way the heavyweight division is still riding high after Andy Ruiz upset Anthiny Joshua at Madison Square Garden two months ago. Two shares of the title belong to Ruiz and a rematch between the two is in negotiation. Then there is WBC champion Deontay Wilder set to rematch with Luis Ortiz.

And assuming Wilder should win, their first fight almost went to Ortiz, then the heavyweight titles and that puzzle to unify the belts gets a little clearer.  

So Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, two heavyweights will main event PBC Fight night that will be televised on FOX and Fox Deportes. 

Undefeated Polish star and Brooklyn-native Adam Kownacki opposes veteran and former title challenger Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. The implications are to be a part of this heavyweight title mix and Arreola has declared a loss will end his journey.

Arreola has been here before. He has been part of controversial decisions and on the losing side. He has lost three title fights that were stopped, and went down to former champion Vitali Klitschko in his first opportunity back in 2009. That fight was stopped by his trainer.

He has also lost to Wilder and stayed away from the ring for 2-½ years. But that fight to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion ended when Ruiz made history. Regardless, Arreola, residing in Riverside California, is classified as that fighter who will give it one more shot.

“You know, if I lose, I go home no matter if it’s a great fight or great event,” he said this week. “I lose it, I go home. I stay home. One-and done, so no more. So this is my added motivation, This is all I want. This is what I’m living for.”

Arreola, Thursday afternoon, was sticking to his words at the final press conference in a ballroom at the Marriott in downtown Brooklyn. He appeared to be in the best shape of his career and there were no vulgar words coming out of his mouth that we have been accustomed to hearing after a loss.

Perhaps a new trainer has brought the motivation. Joe Goosen, a veteran, is known for being in corners of champions.  The 38-year old Arreola, (38, 5-1, 33 KO’s) made the move. He asked Goosen to train him for this significant fight.

“I went to Joe Goossen as my trainer because I knew it was time to make a change,” he said. “ I have to make this last run count. This is the best team I could imagine. Joe makes you work on your mistakes. I believe the winner of this fight is whoever takes advantage of the first mistake.”

Goosen is not known for training the heavyweights. He says it’s a different strategy and the power is a key. The two have clicked and perhaps this is what the boxing doctor ordered for Chris Arreola.

“I understand that Adam is the favorite because he’s undefeated and fighting in his hometown,” he said. At the end of the day, none of that matters to me. I’m going to give it my all for this fight. “I’m carefree right now. I have no stress. If I lose, I’m okay with walking way. But I’m not here to do that. I’m here to win.

Again, no vulgarity and just the confidence facing a tough opponent in his hometown,

 “I know I have a tough opponent in front of me.I have my work cut out for me. But ‘The Nightmare’ is going to keep going.”

He is the underdog in a 12-round fight. Kowacki (19-0, 15 KO’s) the 30-year old Poland native, who came to New York at the age of 7, has made Barclays Center his home for boxing. Six of his last eight fights have been in Brooklyn and ended with stopping his opponents.

“Barclays Center has been my boxing home,” Kowacki said. “ I can’t wait to get in the ring. This is a tough fight and I have to make sure I send the fans home happy. Chris Arreola is a warrior. You always know that when Chris fights, it’s a good fight. But I’m going to test how much he has left in the gas tank. Chris has been in there with three champions and when I take care of business on Saturday, I’ll be one step closer to being world champion.”

He said it will be a fight of the year. That remains to be seen, but this is boxing and with the heavyweight division, in this year of the upset, anything is possible. What matters is the crossroads fight and where they go when it’s over.

Power vs. power, perhaps. Punch vs punch, could determine where it goes. Either way, Saturday night in Brooklyn, and once again in New York, the heavyweight division is the spotlight.

Co Main Event:  One of the co main events was moved to the top when former champion Andre Berto had to pull out of his fight with Miguel Cruz due to an injury to his shoulder that was revealed last week. Former champion Juan Pascal opposes undefeated Marcus Browne of Staten Island, an interesting light heavyweight bout.  

And Brooklyn’s Curtis Stevens ( 30-6, 22 KO’s)  is scheduled for a 10-round super welterweight showdown against  Wale Omotoso (27-4,21 KO’s) the native of Lagos, Nigeria now residing in Oxnard California.

Stevens, coming off a loss last July, has stayed in shape and been in the corner of former welterweight champion Sadam Ali.  He went down in weight and took the opportunity, also his first at the Barclays Center.

Credit: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

“I decided that I’d go down to 154-pounds because my camp has a lot of the top 160-pound fighters so we were getting in each other’s way,” Stevens said. “There are a lot of opportunities for me in this weight class as well. No matter what has happened in my career, I have always come back. I’m mentally always ready to bounce back. I’ve had layoffs in my career, but I know that I’m going to get where I need to be.”

 Stevens said “It’s incredible to have this opportunity to fight at Barclays Center for the first time. It’s going to be a good time for me and all the fans.”

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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