INDIO, CA — “D-Day” is here in every sense of the word with this special edition of Showtime boxing featuring two fights and four fighters with their careers in the crossroads of continued relevancy and the dreaded “gatekeeper status.” Yesterday afternoon, weigh-ins were completed at the Fantasy Springs Hotel. Let’s get right to the recap and thoughts on the fistic warfare taking place in just a few hours.
SETH MITCHELL: 242 LBS.
CHRIS ARREOLA: 242 LBS.
PREDICTION: A Chris Arreola weigh-in is always a crapshoot, but at least this time Chris appears to be in ok shape (for him, at least). 242 pounds is still a tad soft for him (his best versions were years ago in the mid to high 230s), but he appears to have at least made some effort. The main question I have is about Arreola’s nose, which was broken in April against Bermane Stiverne. Arreola needs to go for the kill early on and I have no doubts he’ll do that. Mitchell is strong, but he’s never got hard pressure from a man as heavy-handed and physically strong as Arreola.
That previous broken nose injury changed Arreola’s last fight and Mitchell would be wise the target that area with his jab. Mitchell’s main key to victory is how he reacts when he gets hurt, because it will happen several times early on when Arreola connects through his guard (most likely overhand rights). Here we’ll see how strong Mitchell truly is, as he’ll have to tie Arreola up good to get through those perilous moments. If he can, then the fight gets interesting in the mid to later rounds when Arreola inevitably starts to slow down.
Mitchell is a 4-1 underdog and based on their past work, that’s appropriate. Arreola is wildly inconsistent, so the idea that we’ll get a the “best version” of him tonight is no guarantee. But even one at 70-80% should be too much for Seth Mitchell. As Mitchell stated at the press conference, Arreola’s lost every step up fight he’s taken. However, those defeats were to fighters at a much higher level than Mitchell. Heavy leather will be exchanged, but Arreola will be the one that takes it better. Look for multiple knockdowns and Arreola emerging victorious via a TKO by the fifth round.
EFRAIN ESQUIVIAS: 126 LBS.
RAFAEL MARQUEZ: 126 LBS.
PREDICTION: The TKO loss to Cristian Mijares last year should have been the last time we saw Rafael Marquez in the ring as a fighter. Yet tonight, he’ll step into the ring for the 45th time, competing as battle-weary 38 year old who’s been at it as pro since 1995. Years ago, a guy like Esquivias wouldn’t have lasted more than 3 rounds with him. But at this stage, the 30 year old Esquivias should be able to win this comfortably, especially if he’s in awe of Marquez’ reputation and plays it safe. Esquivias by unanimous decision. Let’s pray Marquez does lose, because if not I could see him being sacrificed to a fighter like Gary Russell.