Polish Born heavyweight Adam "Babyface" Kownacki looks to step up to world title contention when he faces Mexican/American Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola in a 12 round bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday 3rd August.
Kownacki is a very likeable guy that the fans want to see succeed. His un-athletic physique hasn't done him any harm at all just like unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. There was a time back in the 1980s when heavyweight champions Tim Witherspoon, Tony Tubbs, and Greg Page were ridiculed for coming into fights overweight. Times appear to be changing.
What could be a deciding factor in why the Brooklyn native is so popular is how he has compiled his 19-0 professional record. Kownacki's last 4 opponents, Gerald Washington, Charles Martin, Iago Kiladze, and Artur Szpilka, have a combined 90 wins and 6 losses, and although less well known, the four opponents he faced before them had a combined 47 wins and 5 losses.
Kownacki has momentum in his career, his management seems to have a route mapped out to take him to a world title challenge. When Jarrell Miller removed himself from the position of challenger to then unified champion Anthony Joshua in June at Madison Square Garden due to failed drug tests, Kownacki was offered the spot but turned down the chance. Now many fans felt that a contender should not turn down a chance to become champion when offered, but Kownacki's people believed that their man would be better off carrying on with the path that they had mapped out for him. Arreola is the next step on that path.
There's not much that the 38-year-old Arreola hasn't seen in his career, He has challenged 3-times for the WBC title, losing to Vitali Klitschko, Bermane Stiverne, and current incumbent Deontay Wilder, and although he came up short each time he has been able to come back with great performances that keep him in contention each time. In March, against the odds, he took the unbeaten record of New England based Haitian Jean Pierre Augustin (17-0-1) which put him in line for the Kownacki opportunity.
What makes this fight so interesting is that the Polish contender has some glaring faults that a good puncher could take advantage of. Arreola (38-5-1, 33 Ko's) can still hurt any opponent he tags cleanly as he showed in his 3rd round win over Augustin.
In his last fight against Gerald Washington, Kownacki ploughed forward at times pumping both hands with his head bolt upright with no regard for anything coming back at him. Against Washington, this worked out fine, but a banger like Arreola who fights hard when he's hurt could exploit the situation.
The fight that shows Kownacki's true position in world heavyweight boxing is his close decision win over Charles Martin in September 2018. He met an opponent who came to win and never thought for one moment that he wasn't going to have his held aloft at the end of the fight. Kownacki came through that and showed real heart and commitment. I think that it is that commitment, plus the fact that he is 8 years Arreola's junior, that gives Kownacki the edge.
Prediction: I believe Kownacki will force the fight from the 1st bell and stop Arreola in the first 5 rounds of an exciting scrap. Expect fireworks.