By Francisco Salazar
Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola does talk a lot of smack before a fight. That should come as no surprise to anyone who is involved in boxing.
While fight fans may get a kick out of the colorful language that come out of Arreola’s mouth, he has been able to mostly back it up most of the time.
Arreola will never be at a loss for words. In fact, the day when Arreola may not have anything colorful to say could be the day when fight fans may not see him in the ring.
According to Arreola, that will not be the case, as he is eager to make a statement in his upcoming bout and fulfill his goal of becoming a world champion.
Arreola will take on Seth Mitchell in a scheduled 12 round heavyweight bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.
The bout will headline a Golden Boy Promotions card and will be televised on Showtime, starting at 10:30PM ET/ 7:30PM PT.
Arreola is coming off a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Bermane Stiverne in his last fight on April 27th in Ontario, CA. During the loss, Arreola was knocked down in the fight, suffering a broken nose in the process from the punch that dropped him.
The loss to Stiverne may enforce what some critics say of Arreola: He is good enough to beat certain fighters, but can not good enough to win that significant fight to eventually challenge or win a title. Aside from Stiverne, Arreola has losses to Vitaly Klitschko and Tomasz Adamek.
Despite the losses, Arreola is adamant he will challenge for a world title a second time and win this time around. Arreola is also looking to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world.
However, he will have to get by Mitchell, who in his last fight avenged the only loss of his career with a 12 round unanimous decision over Jonathan Banks.
Despite Mitchell’s record of 26-1, with 19 KOs, Arreola is confident that the odds are stacked in his favor to win on Saturday night.
“The only thing I respect about Mitchell is that he has good conditioning,” Arreola told Boxingscene.com over the phone on Wednesday morning. “The thing is I have over 20 years experience as a boxer and he only has four or five. I know the tricks of the trade and he doesn’t. Banks hurt him many times. If I hurt him, I’m not going to let up. I’m more motivated for this.”
To say that Arreola’s back is at the wall would be an understatement. Arreola is 32 years old and has fought in numerous hard-fought bouts against strong opposition.
A win over Mitchell could put Arreola back in the title hunt, whereas a loss would be devastating to his career. Arreola has assessed what could happen and does not want to assume a role in boxing should he lose to Mitchell.
“I can’t lose two in a row,” said Arreola, who is advised by Al Haymon and promoted by Dan Goossen. “I can’t and won’t lose to this person. If I lose to a fighter the caliber of Mitchell, I might contemplate retirement. I’m not a gatekeeper. So that is my added motivation for me against him.”
Some critics may seem to think Arreola has made excuse after excuse of why he cannot seem to pull everything together for a big fight. Some attribute his weight issues or lack of commitment in the sport.
After the Stiverne fight, Arreola assessed his career and believed a change was necessary. He still kept his longtime trainer and friend Henry Ramirez, but decided to move his training camp for his fight against Mitchell from his Riverside home to the Phoenix area.
Arreola could not have been happier with his stay in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix, and will likely have future training camps there.
“I wasn’t getting away from distractions (in Riverside), I was getting away from myself. I was my own worst enemy. The gym is about 10-15 minutes away from my house. I would find a reason to not go to the gym every day. One day, it would be an oil change. Another day, it would be to go to the store to get some milk. I would find an excuse. In Phoenix, we had one car and Henry had the keys. He would drive me to the gym twice a day, every day.”
You are never too old to learn new tricks. It may have taken a while, but Arreola felt that training near his home was not a good idea, so he decided to make a change.
Could he have done this earlier in his career? Probably. But as the adage goes, it takes a loss or a life-changing event to finally open their eyes to see what is the obvious answer.
There is no guarantee Arreola will win on Saturday night. However, he has given himself the best possible reasons why he could not only defeat Mitchell, but to defeat him decisively.
However, there are two guarantees about Arreola when it comes to boxing: He is always in entertaining fights and always has interesting things to say, which includes the smack talk. Arreola is eager to match his bark with his bite on Saturday night.
“I’m not going to give him any chance. I’m not going to let him beat me in the gym. He has a chandelier chin and I’m going to punish him. I’m going to show him what it is like to be a real heavyweight. He’s not going to feel comfortable in the ring. Boxing ain’t a game.”
“If I don’t knock him out early, I’m just going to punish him for 12 rounds. He’s going to get hurt.”
Yup, that is the Chris Arreola we all know.
Francisco A. Salazar has written Boxingscene.com since last September and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper and Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing