Thursday, March 27, 2014
Arreola ready for second chance
By Dan Rafael
Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola has the opportunity to accomplish two big things when he faces Bermane Stiverne in a rematch: avenge a loss and become the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight world title.
Both will be on Arreola's mind when he and Stiverne meet again on May 10 (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) at the Galen Center on the campus of USC in Los Angeles.
"They are both equally important to me," Arreola told ESPN.com on Thursday, as he and trainer Henry Ramirez were making the drive from their San Diego training camp to Los Angeles for the kickoff news conference. "First, I want to get my revenge, get my rematch and do to him what he did to me but do it on a grander scale.
"And it's a big honor to be fighting for the title and to put a Mexican-American on top of the heavyweight division. I can give a lot of people some kind of inspiration by winning this title. I come from nothing. I came from s---, so anything is possible."
Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs), 33, of Riverside, Calif., and Stiverne (23-1, 20 KOs), 35, a native of Haiti living in Miami, first met in a title elimination fight in Ontario, Calif., last April for the right to become the mandatory challenger for then-titleholder Vitali Klitschko -- who stopped Arreola in the 10th round in 2009 in Arreola's first shot at a title. Stiverne knocked Arreola down and broke his nose in the third round and went on to win a clear unanimous decision as Arreola, who could hardly breathe for most of the fight because of serious damage to his nose.
"I'm a finisher. I'm a shark, and if I see blood, I'm gonna finish you. He had the perfect opportunity to take me out," Arreola said. "I was a dead fish in water, and he didn't capitalize."
Klitschko retired in December, leaving the belt vacant and mandatory challenger Stiverne to face the next leading contender, Arreola, who had rebounded from the loss to knock out Seth Mitchell in the first round of an impressive performance in September.
Arreola said the difference between his first fight with Stiverne and the destruction of Mitchell was his preparation. He said he was not in shape when he fought Stiverne. He trained at home, where he has all kinds of distractions. Many days he didn't even show up at the gym.
Chris Arreola will get his second crack at a piece of the heavyweight title in his May 10 rematch with Bermane Stiverne.
For the fight with Mitchell, Ramirez insisted they go away for camp. They went to Phoenix, where they had one car, and the only one with the key was Ramirez, meaning Arreola could not go anywhere without him. Arreola was in top shape for the fight. They have the same setup for this camp, even though they are in San Diego.
"First and second round, I was winning the fight," Arreola said of the Stiverne bout. "Then, I got complacent. I threw a lazy jab and he came over the top and broke my nose and took me out of the fight. I got complacent against a world-class fighter. You have to give him credit. He's the one who hit. He timed it perfectly. I'm a fighter who will come forward regardless, so every punch he hit me with was excruciating. It hurt bad, but I just kept coming.
"This time I won't get complacent and throw a lazy jab. I will make sure when I throw it that it will be with conviction."
With six weeks to go to the fight, Arreola said he is already in good boxing shape, and it appears as though he is being truthful based on how he looked during the interview about the fight on last week's edition of "Friday Night Fights" on ESPN2.
"Not only am I at a decent fighting weight already, I don't let myself balloon anymore," Arreola said. "I let myself get up to 280, 290 before. I can't believe I let myself do that. Live and learn. I got to stay ready, so I don't have to get ready [immediately before the fight]. I'm 255 now and only 15 pounds from my fighting weight. I want to come in the high 230s, no higher than 241. I want to be lighter on my feet.
"I know he is going to run, and I will have to chase him down. He's the predator, and I'm Arnold Schwarzenegger. I have to hunt his ass down. I'll be able to cut off the ring, throw more flurries, be on the inside and work. I'm a Mexican fighter. I just like fighting. I like staying in the pocket. Don't get me wrong, Stiverne's a good puncher. He dropped me. I didn't drop him. We have to even up the score. I don't dislike him. I don't like him. He's just another person I have to fight with. I respect him as a man and a fighter, but, other than that, I don't see calling him to have a beer."