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Arreola Admires Vitali, Hopes To Fight Wladimir Klitschko

By Keith Idec

Vitali Klitschko gave Chris Arreola his first world title shot nearly five years ago.

The former WBC heavyweight champion inadvertently granted Arreola his second title shot when he retired, too. Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) would’ve preferred an eventual rematch with Klitschko, but the colorful contender from Riverside, Calif., appreciates another chance to win the WBC heavyweight crown in a rematch against Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) on Saturday night at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles (ESPN; 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). He also admires Klitschko’s choice to walk away from boxing to pursue political aspirations in his native Ukraine.

“If he has the opportunity to do something like that, to help his community and help his family, the people that need the help the most, my hat goes off to him,” said Arreola, who lost a unanimous decision to Stiverne in a WBC elimination match a year ago in Ontario, Calif. “I respect him for that, especially in a country that’s war-torn like that, with all those riots and everything that goes on there. He’s doing the right thing. He’s trying to help his country.”

Arreola isn’t completely convinced that the 42-year-old Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) will remain retired, but if his technical knockout loss to the 6-foot-7, 245-pound power puncher marks their only meeting, Arreola has come to terms with what occurred during 10 one-sided rounds at Staples Center in September 2009.

“I lost to the best,” Arreola, 33, said. “I have no excuses for it. I lost to the best. He was the best at that time and probably one of the best of this era. I’ll have no shame winning the title against Stiverne. Everyone’s reign has to end and someone else’s begins. That’s how I take it. My respect goes out to Vitali Klitschko and if he ever thinks about coming back, and I have the title, I’ll be waiting for him.”

Regardless, if Arreola overcomes Stiverne in their 12-round rematch a unification fight against Wladimir Klitschko might materialize. Wladimir Klitschko (62-3, 52 KOs) owns the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.

“I’ve got to beat Stiverne,” Arreola said. “But after I defeat Stiverne, I want to unify the belts. I want to be the undisputed heavyweight champion. It hasn’t been done in a long time and I want to be that guy to do it. … But my job is Stiverne. After that, we’ll worry about Wladimir.”

Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Scott.Weiland. on 05-07-2014

[QUOTE=LacedUp;14524071]There's ZERO chance either Stiverne or Arreola Will face Wlad let alone beat him. Wilder will spoil it! Booooooooooooommmmbbb sqqquuuuuuaaaaad!!![/QUOTE] I can feel a little wager coming on between ourselves should Arroela beat Stiverne,and then seek to defend rather than…

Comment by GhostBlade on 05-07-2014

I'll be shocked if Arreola beats Stiverne. Stiverne is a tactician in that ring and has great counters and power to boot. Arreola's best victories have been when he was able to bully the other boxer. He won't be able…

Comment by LacedUp on 05-07-2014

There's ZERO chance either Stiverne or Arreola Will face Wlad let alone beat him. Wilder will spoil it! Booooooooooooommmmbbb sqqquuuuuuaaaaad!!!

Comment by Scott.Weiland. on 05-07-2014

[QUOTE=Weltschmerz;14521241]Im rooting for Chris, but I think Stiverne is a skilled, pretty fast, hard hitting mofo. Arreola lost to the most skilled fighters he faced, Adamek, Vitali, Stiverne.. spells bad hopes, but I hope Arreola can make adjustments and figure…

Comment by Scott.Weiland. on 05-07-2014

[QUOTE=Lebanon;14523283]He has a better chance at beating Wlad than he ever did at Vitali, that's for sure.[/QUOTE] I reckon Arreola would give Wladimir his toughest fight since Sam Peter.sure Arreola would likely gas,but he'd give Wlad he'll for 8-10,he wouldn't…

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