Updated: April 23, 2010, 12:35 PM ET

Arreola, Adamek out to make history

Rafael By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com
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Cris Arreola, Tomasz AdamekJan Sanders/Goossen Tutor PromotionsCris Arreola, left, brings a whole lot of size to the table against Tomasz Adamek.

Tomasz Adamek has been a light heavyweight titleholder and the cruiserweight world champion, but his ultimate goal is to become a heavyweight champion.

Cristobal Arreola, a career heavyweight, dreams of someday also becoming a heavyweight champion -- the first of Mexican descent.

Adamek and Arreola, both crowd pleasers, will fight each other in an effort to keep those dreams on target when they meet in a significant heavyweight fight at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" on Saturday night (11:15 ET/PT).

"I'm on a mission to do something no boxer has ever done. I want to be the first light heavyweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion," Adamek said. "So I'm fighting for myself and history."

Said Arreola, "I respect him but my job in this fight is to show him he doesn't belong in the heavyweight division."

Although Arreola was stopped in the 10th round of a one-sided fight challenging heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko in September, he bounced back with a fourth-round knockout of the smaller Brian Minto to set up the Adamek fight.

"I'm very excited to be fighting someone who is as able and proven as Tomasz Adamek," Arreola said. "He's a proven champion and he knows how to win, but I have a lot to prove still. After I lost to Klitschko I set out [again] to win a title and to prove to a lot of people that I am an able fighter."

Interim junior middleweight titlist Alfredo "Perro" Angulo (17-1, 14 KOs) of Mexico squares off with Colombia's Joel "Love Child" Julio (35-3, 31 KOs) in a showdown between all-action sluggers in HBO's co-feature.

Poland's Adamek, now living in Jersey City, N.J., where promoter Main Events has built him into a big ticket seller, is going cross-country to Arreola's turf -- he's from Riverside, Calif. -- for his third heavyweight fight since vacating the cruiserweight title last year.

"I know what Arreola is about but I jumped at the offer to fight him," Adamek said. "There was no hesitation. It makes no difference that this fight is in his backyard. The most important thing for me is to win and I am very confident.'' In his first heavyweight bout, Adamek knocked out faded former contender and countryman Andrew Golota in the fifth round in October in what is considered the biggest fight in Polish history. Then Adamek outpointed 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason Estrada.

Now, however, Adamek (40-1, 27 KOs) is facing a far more formidable heavyweight in Arreola (28-1, 25 KOs).

Once again, Adamek will be at a major size disadvantage. Golota outweighed him by 42 pounds. Estrada had a 17-pound cushion. Arreola, who weighed 250½ at Thursday's weigh-in, will have 33½ pounds on Adamek, not to mention a 3½-inch height advantage.

Adamek, 33, doesn't care about the disparity.

"The size of Cris Arreola really makes no difference. He's 6-9, 6-8, 260, 220, it doesn't really matter," said Adamek, whose lone career loss came when Chad Dawson outpointed him to take his light heavyweight belt in 2007. "It is what is in your head that matters, not your size. I don't plan to go down after three, four or five punches from Cris. The way I've been training for the past eight or nine weeks will bring me the success and expose everything that I need to expose.

"Actually, fighting at the heavier weights has been better for me because the guys are slower. I can see the punches better and they take longer to get there."

Although Adamek has made a series of exciting slugfests at light heavyweight and cruiserweight, his biggest advantage over Arreola is speed. Arreola, 29, doesn't expect Adamek to trade with him, given his size advantage and power.

[+] EnlargeVitali Klitschko
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty ImagesCris Arreola, left, won't have to worry about size and range like he did against Vitali Klitschko.

"I'm sure Adamek is going to stick-and-move, which is what he has done since he's moved up from light heavyweight and cruiserweight," Arreola said. "I'd be pleasantly shocked, but happy, if he tried to stand and fight and exchange with me. But he's never faced a guy that hits like me. You can't compare how he did against Jason Estrada with how he might do against me because Estrada can't punch.

"He got away with things against Estrada that he definitely will not be able to get away with against me. No way is Adamek accustomed to fighting a true heavyweight like me. He'll feel my power and get hit like he's never been hit before.''

Adamek admitted he won't stand in front of Arreola. He's smart enough to know that wouldn't be wise.

So he and trainer Ronnie Shields -- who replaces Andrew Gmitruk, who was advised by his doctor to give up training because of his health -- have devised their plan around Adamek's boxing ability and movement.

"One of my main strengths is my ability to adapt so I have a lot of options," Adamek said. "I am prepared for everything Arreola brings to the fight. You can say whatever beforehand, but it's how you deal with what's happening in the ring when it happens that counts and I will know what to do when it's time to do it.

"I expect a tough fight, of course, and nothing else. All fights at this level are tough and one punch can change everything. I will fight smart and box. I am not going to just stand there in front of him, but I won't run either."

Arreola is expecting a far different fight than the one he got against Klitschko, who was much bigger than him.

"Tomasz Adamek is a proven champion and my respect goes out to him [but] I know he's going to run away from me," Arreola said. "I know I'm going to have to cut the ring off and once I get him against the ropes, I'm going to have to bang away. He's no Vitali Klitschko. You know, Vitali was big and rangy. So eventually I will catch him and when I do it's going to be all over.

"I don't care about this David and Goliath crap. I'm not here to preach the Bible. I don't care. I'm a fighter and that's what I do."

Featherweight possibilities

Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty ImagesIs Yuriorkis Gamboa, above, ducking a featherweight showdown with Celestino Caballero?

Before Celestino Caballero looked so impressive routing Daud Yordan on April 10, Top Rank's Bob Arum had said he planned to try to make a deal for Caballero to challenge his featherweight titlist, Yuriorkis Gamboa, on July 24 on HBO, as long as Caballero won. Well, he did, but Caballero promoter Lou DiBella said he hasn't heard from Top Rank and is exploring other options in case Top Rank decides Caballero is too dangerous.

DiBella said he's talking to Don King about matching Caballero with titleholder Elio Rojas.

"They haven't said a word to me about Gamboa since my guy's win, so I'm talking to King about Rojas, which I think would be a sensational fight," DiBella said. "Don said he's absolutely interested. He realizes the only way he's getting Rojas on [HBO or Showtime] is by having him fight a major fight."

DiBella said he's also had preliminary conversations with Gary Shaw about matching Caballero with Rafael Marquez, should Marquez defeat Israel Vazquez on May 22.

"We've talked about it and we know [Showtime's] Ken Hershman loves Marquez-Caballero," DiBella said. "I think Caballero impressed enough people and got enough attention with the way he fought Yordan that he has options."

King is also talking to Top Rank about Gamboa-Rojas as the promoters jockey for a big fight. Rojas is interested in Gamboa.

"I am a world champion and so is Gamboa. Why don't we fight in a world title unification?" Rojas said. "I am ready to make this fight happen if Gamboa is ready. It has always been one of my goals to become a unified champion."

Said King: "It would be a Caribbean world championship slugfest with Rojas, the pride of the Dominican Republic, against Cuba's own Gamboa. It's a natural. Anticipation would emanate from the two fighters' home islands and would spread around the world. I think Elio Rojas is the best featherweight in the world.

"I'm ready to put everything we have worked for on the line to back up that statement. I'd be happy to work with Bob Arum, one of the best promoters in the world, to bring this fight to the ring. He's somebody that knows how to get a deal done. We're ready to make it happen."

Volcanic impact

Saturday's Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler super middleweight title bout isn't the only fight that was impacted by ash from the Iceland volcano that snarled worldwide air travel.

England's Rendall Munroe will meet Mexico's Victor Terrazas in a junior featherweight eliminator Friday night, with the winner to get a mandatory shot against titleholder Toshiaki Nishioka, but it wasn't easy to keep the fight together.

British promoter Frank Maloney went to great lengths to preserve the bout after Terrazas' flight to England was canceled because of the ash. Maloney said he got Terrazas and his team the last tickets on a flight from Mexico City to Madrid, whose airport was open. After they landed in Spain, they took a 17-hour car ride to England -- a limo from Madrid to Paris and then a change of cars to make the rest of the trip from Paris to England via the English Channel tunnel.

"I have moved hell and high water to make sure the show goes on and nerves have been frayed," Maloney said. "The good thing for Victor is that we got him into Europe a few days before the fight and that gives him a chance to acclimatize and shake off jet lag." Maloney claims he spent nearly $40,000 to make the travel changes.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.

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