Also in contrast to Arreola, Witherspoon is not a brawler or particularly heavy hitter. Instead, he wins by using his very polished boxing skills, a fact that has drawn criticism from some quarters.
Andre Berto was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but like Witherspoon he came from a fight family. His older brother Edson is an accomplished mixed martial arts fighter, and their father Dieuseul competed in MMA in Japan, and fought in UFC 10 in 1996. A 2004 Olympian, Berto has been touted as a can't-miss prospect from the minute he stepped into the ring as a pro.
Miguel "Miki" Rodriguez has a lineage, but it is not the kind that earns you hype. Like so many Mexican fighters before him, he fought under the radar in small boxing venues in Mexico before coming to the U.S. for his 26th fight. Three bouts later he is still something of an unknown, although the Don King-promoted fighter is ranked number two by a sanctioning body, right behind Berto and champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Like Arreola and Witherspoon, the past no longer matters for these two welterweights. The future is now in a big way because it is likely that the winner of this "interim title" fight will inherit the full champion status of Mayweather, who announced his latest retirement on June 6.
Arreola's biggest asset as far as television exposure is concerned is that he's the rarest of American heavyweights, an exciting one. His idol is Julio Cesar Chavez, and like the great Mexican, when Arreola steps into the ring he launches an all-out, aggressive assault that is crowd pleasing. He is also unusual for a heavyweight in that he works his opponent's body tirelessly, using a rapid-fire, two-fisted attack.
"No matter whether I fight on HBO or in some rinky dink place like a tent, I'm the type of person who wants to put on a good show and entertain the fans who paid their money," said the 27-year-old Mexican-American, who was born and raised in Southern California.
Because he came to the professional ranks with little or no fanfare, Arreola (23-0. 21 KOs) didn't fight in a Las Vegas venue until his 19th fight. In contrast, Berto's second and fifth professional fights were in quality Eastern arenas, the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods respectively. After just eight fights against opponents with a combined record of 32-27-5, Berto was on the undercard of the second Jermain Taylor-Bernard Hopkins fight at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas.
"I like the fact that nothing was handed to me, that I had to work extra hard to get recognition," Arreola said. "I had to earn my name and the respect of other fighters and fans."
Although the Goossen-Tutor promoted Arreola says he never watches tape of his opponents, he is certainly aware of Witherspoon's connection to his cousin. Asked if his career thus far would have advanced faster if he was the relative of a champion fighter, Arreola said he is happy that he wasn't.
"A name can only get you so far. I'm glad I had no famous name to follow. Sometimes when you do, people expect too much. I'd rather make a name for myself than live off someone else's," Arreola said.
Witherspoon (23-0, 15 Kos) has done a lot more than just live off cousin "Terrible" Tim's name. A star in high school basketball and track, Witherspoon was offered three Division One scholarships for hoops and two in track. Unlike Arreola, who began fighting at age six, Witherspoon didn't start boxing until his sophomore in high school. In the short span of two years and one month, he accomplished things as an amateur that were unheard of.
He had only been fighting for a year and 10 months when he made the U.S. Olympic team as the heavyweight alternate. In so doing, he became the first person in the history of USA Boxing to make that team after so little time in the sport. Prior to that, he achieved another first by winning the 2004 National Golden Gloves title with all his wins coming by way of knockout. No person in Golden Gloves history in any weight class had ever won a title with all knockout victories.