SAN DIEGO, Calif. August 3, 2019 – As Adam Kownacki and Chris Arreola promised, Brooklyn boxing fans got their money’s worth no matter where they were sitting in the Barclays Center Saturday. Veterans and young guns delivered maximum entertainment with a slugfest, an upset special, and a career refresh at the Barclays Center Saturday.
2019 continues to be the Year of the Upset, but it didn’t come in the main event. Brooklyn’s Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) remained undefeated after 12 hard rounds against former three-time heavyweight title challenger “Nightmare” Chris Arreola of Escondido, California (38-6-1, 33 KOs). Scores were 118-110 and 117-111 X 2. The fight seemed closer to most observers, but the fans didn’t care.
“I thought it was a good fight, and close” said Kownacki of the win. “But I boxed a little better. Chris is an Aztec Warrior. He’s a Mexican, it’s a great nation, great fighter. I prepared for 12 rounds. He proved it with the CompuBox numbers.”
“I really gave it my all, let it all hang out, even after breaking my hand,” said Arreola. He called Kownacki “Relentless, someone that just keeps coming. I know I cracked him with some good punches but he just kept coming.”
Kownacki and Arreola set record for 12 round heavyweight punch output
Kownacki and Arreola fought in a (very large) phone booth trading body shots, hooks and jabs with virtually no let up, generating the punch output of men half their size. The 30-year-old native of Poland and the 38-year-old veteran Mexican American set a CompuBox record for most punches thrown and most punches landed in a 12 round heavyweight division fight. Kownacki landed 369 of 1047 punches thrown (35 percent), with Arreola adding his 298 punches landed of 1125 thrown (26 percent).
Both men have chins of granite. There was no respite from heavy handed action. Kownacki buzzed Arreola in the third round and ninth round, but neither man came close to being knocked down. Heart and determination kept Arreola in the fight until the end, despite apparently breaking his left hand in the seventh round. It didn’t matter, but with Kownacki aware of a problem, he could concentrate on keeping his left hand guard up high.
Both men also made the point you don’t have to look like a Greek statue or high fashion underwear model to possess athleticism and tremendous stamina. Moving 266 pounds and 242 pounds around the ring and generating record-breaking punch output wouldn’t be possible without exceptional conditioning. Just ask Andy Ruiz Jr.
Arreola: ‘I don’t know if I can go through this again’
Arreola always hoped to be the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion, but Andy Ruiz Jr. beat him to it. He said prior to the fight he would retire if he lost. While he didn’t make it official, it’s unlikely he’ll change his mind.
“This is really something I have to talk to my family, Joe (Goossen), Al (Haymon). I honestly feel like it’s about time. I let it all hang out, even after breaking my hand. There was no quitting. I have to think about this, I need to decide after some time off, because I don’t know if I can go through this again,” said Arreola.
Kownacki now hopes to work his way toward a title fight, saying he would keep training hard and impving his skills. He spoke for many in the boxing community by encouraging Arreola to stick around.
“Age is just a number, he proved he can hang,” said Kownacki. “I hope he doesn’t retire, the fans would like to see him again.” This longtime Southern California fan respectfully disagrees. Arreola performed with honor and has always been a fan favorite. He has nothing left to prove and a lot to lose in another slugfest. Let’s hope he wishes his fans a fond farewell.
Year of the Upset continues: Jean Pascal hands Marcus Browne first loss
Unbeaten WBA interim light heavyweight champion “Sir” Marcus Browne of Staten Island is unbeaten no more. Former champion Jean Pascal of Montreal, Canada will take the title back home north of the border after an unexpected performance highlighted by three knockdowns to hear those magic words “And the new.” After a rough fight was stopped due to an unintentional headbutt to Browne by Pascal in the eighth round, the Canadian had done enough to win by scores of 75-74 on all three cards.
Browne acknowledged before the fight his opponent “doesn’t come to lay down, he comes to beat you. That’s what the sport is about. You have to fight guys of that stature if you’re not fighting champions.”
Browne fought the 36-year-old veteran at his peril. Although Pascal has seemed to be on the brink of retiring several times with four losses in eight previous fights, his wins gave him renewed hope, and he proved he’s still got some gas in the tank.
Browne started out strong, landing solid punches and doubling the volume of landed punches compared to Pascal in the first four rounds. The wily veteran dipped into his bag of tricks to rattle Browne, and kept his wits about him looking for opportunity to knock.
Knock it did. Pascal scored his first of three knockdown in the first half of the fourth round. Browne dropped his left hand and Pascal landed a solid overhand right. It was only the third knockdown in Browne’s career.
In the fifth, Browne roared back, throwing hard to body and head. Pascal was feeling them but staying on his feet. Pascal found the same opening again in the seventh round, and dropped Browne hard with a counter right hook. This one visibly hurt Browne. Pascal had time and went after the younger man, putting him on the canvas again with a solid one-two combination. Browne survived the round, with a little help courtesy a slow count and lots of questions by referee Gary Rosato.
As Pascal stayed aggressive in the eighth, the accidental headbutt occurred, and Browne’s forehead opened up. The stoppage was necessary. Pascal won the partial eighth round, and it was the margin of victory he needed.
Light heavyweight division offers many options for Pascal
The light heavyweight division is among the most competitive in boxing, and a win for Browne gives him a unification opportunity. For Pascal, it could be a farewell performance but 2019 has been the year of upsets.
“Boxing’s boxing,” said the winner. “We clash heads, but at the end of the day I was winning the (final eighth) round. I dropped him three times. I was willing to fight, that’s why the judges gave me the fight,” said Pascal. He credited his 16-year-old daughter Angel for the victory. “Daughter Angel – my daughter was ringside and it was a lot of motivation for me.”
The proud Canadian said of only his fifth fight in the U.S., “I want to thank Fox for giving me that chance to showcase my talent in front of America. It’s like, we are the NBA champion, we have the best rapper in the game (Drake), and now I’m taking the belt back to Canada.”
Browne landed 106 of 276 total punches (38 percent) against just 51 of 264 for Pascal (19 percent), but Pascal landed the ones that counted. Asked about giving Browne a rematch, Pascal said he’d go home and discuss it with his team. Who’s interested in a fight between Badou Jack and Jean Pascal?
Wale Omotoso delivers third round TKO win over Curtis Stevens
The super welterweight lab experience didn’t go so well for Curtis Stevens of Brooklyn (30-7, 22 KOs). Wale Omotoso (28-4, 22 KOs) of Nigeria dealt out three knockdowns in three rounds before the bout was called to a halt at 1:28 of the third round. The first was a right to the temple in round one; the second a flash knockdown on a straight left; and the third was a one-two power punching combination which hit Stevens flush.
Omotoso said of the performance, “When the opening is there, my hands were right there. The first knockout, I didn’t even know if was a right hand or a left hand, I just let it go. The seond time, I thought wow. That gave me confidence.” Stevens has some serious thinking to do about his future after two losses in his last four fights, both by significant knockouts.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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