By Keith Idec
Chris Arreola can become the first boxer of Mexican descent to win a recognized heavyweight title if he avenges his decision defeat to Bermane Stiverne in their rematch Saturday night.
Making Mexican history is important to Arreola, but the American-born boxer is motivated to bring at least one of the heavyweight titles back to the United States as well. The 33-year-old Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs), of Riverside, Calif., is well aware that an American hasn’t owned one of the sport’s four heavyweight titles since Brooklyn-born Shannon Briggs lost the WBO crown to Russia’s Sultan Ibragimov in June 2007.
“I’ve always dreamt about being a champion,” said Arreola, who’ll fight Stiverne for the vacant WBC title at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles (ESPN; 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). “I never thought I’d be a heavyweight, but I always dreamt about being a champion. Now that I’m a heavyweight, what an honor it would be. Not only that, I’d be bringing the title back to America. I’m a proud American, first and foremost. I want everybody to know that. My father [Agustin Arreola] and my mother [Lucy Rivera] came to the United States [from Mexico] so that when they had kids they’d have a better life, that they could live life the way you’re supposed to. I thank my parents for having me in America, because I love it.”
The 35-year-old Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs), who out-boxed Arreola in their first fight a year ago in Ontario, Calif., has lived in Las Vegas for 10 years, but was born in Haiti and raised in Quebec.
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.