Five keys for Chris Arreola
Plotting a path to victory in Saturday's title bout against Bermane Stiverne
At 33, Chris Arreola might very well be down to his final chance to achieve his dream of becoming the first Mexican-American boxer to win a piece of the heavyweight title.
Where: Galen Center, Los Angeles
When: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
The native of Los Angeles enters a chance at redemption in Saturday's rematch when he faces Bermane Stiverne for a vacant title at the Galen Center on the campus of USC (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) was dropped in the third round en route to losing a unanimous decision against Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) in April 2013. But this time, Arreola vows he will be fit and focused for his second chance.
Here are five keys for "The Nightmare" to consider in his rematch with Stiverne:
Don't just stand there
|Too often, Arreola's best defense has been his rock-solid chin. The fact that he recovered from the devastating right hand that floored him against Stiverne and fought nine more rounds with a broken nose is a testament to his toughness. But mixing in a little craft with his bravado would go a long way. Arreola claims he will be in the best shape of his career. So using his added stamina and agility to move his head on the way in order to be more elusive will be advantageous.|
Keep calm and punch on
|It's no secret that Arreola is an emotional fighter who wears his heart on his sleeve. Anyone who remembers his passionate sobbing following the disappointment of his title loss to Vitali Klitschko in 2009 can attest to that. But fighting too much on emotion can be a dangerous thing, especially if it leads to mistakes. Stiverne showed in their first fight that he has the kind of power to turn any mistake into a real problem for Arreola.|
Pick your spots
|It's no secret Arreola is at his best when he's aggressively coming forward with combinations, looking to set up his big right hand. He's much more comfortable taking the lead and initiating the action. But there will undoubtedly be key opportunities to counter if Arreola is patient. Thanks to Stiverne's habit of dropping his left hand after each jab, especially after getting into a rhythm, a well-timed counter right from Arreola could be the kind of punch that changes the momentum of the fight at any given point.|
Lean on your experience
|The broken nose suffered by Arreola in their first bout had enough of an impact on the outcome that it's fair to say that there isn't much separating the two fighters on paper entering the rematch. They are close in height and weight, share many of the same strengths and weaknesses, and both employ slight variations of the same style. The only major difference between them might be experience. Stiverne had fought past eight rounds just once entering their first bout. Meanwhile, Arreola has gone deep with much better competition and should remember those lessons learned.|
|Arreola has had plenty of chances to fulfill his dream. Along with the loss to Vitali Klitschko, he dropped a 2010 title eliminator against Tomasz Adamek and another last year against Stiverne. In most cases, a lack of conditioning and dedication to his craft outside the ring were to blame for Arreola not giving himself the best chance to succeed. This time, he's out of excuses. There is no tomorrow. He's in shape, will have the home crowd behind him and needs to go all-in and find out, once and for all, how good he can be.|
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