By Robert Morales
Chris Arreola's buddies, and even friends of his wife, have been giving him the business about his crying jag following his 10th-round technical knockout loss at the hands of heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on Sept. 26 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"They're saying, 'Oh, man, you cry like a girl,' " Arreola said Wednesday.
Arreola said one of his friends called him one day and said he heard that "Kleenex wants to sign you" to an endorsement deal.
"Some of it's funny, man," Arreola said. "It's not a big deal."
When one of his wife's friends heard he was suspended by the World Boxing Council's ratings for all the F-bombs he dropped in the post-fight interview in the ring, she couldn't figure it out, so she sent Arreola's wife, Erin, a text message.
It went something like this: "How did they hear him cursing during all that crying?"
Again, Arreola took it well.
"It doesn't bug me at all," he said.
Arreola (27-1, 24 KOs) was in good spirits. In less than two weeks - on Dec. 5 - he will attempt to get his career back on track when he takes on Brian Minto (34-2, 21 KOs) in the semi-main event at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The Goossen Tutor Promotions card (on HBO) will feature Paul Williams against Sergio Martinez in the middleweight main event.
Dan Goossen, president of Goossen Tutor, had quite a bit to say about Arreola during a telephone conversation Tuesday. For one thing, Goossen was asked if he is concerned that Arreola may have some psychological issues based on the beating he took from Klitschko. The answer was interesting.
"We're going to find that out Dec. 5," said Goossen, Arreola's promoter. "I'm not trying to put it off, but these are things you discover inside the ring.
I've seen it many times, a devastating loss, a knockout. There are two ways of going: either you get better because you realize what it's like at that level, or it hurts you.
"We saw what it did for Paul Williams after his loss to (Carlos) Quintana. You have seen a different fighter since then. Chris has such a big heart and that warrior's mentality and I can only believe that this loss will make Chris understand that there is no cutting corners if you want to be on top, if you want to be the best."
Goossen was then asked straight out if he is certain Arreola cut corners during training.
"To be brutally honest, I know he did," Goossen said. "I know there is so much more Chris can do in preparation and it certainly sounds as if he's realized this and understands that it's going to take hard work to go along with his guts and abilities to not only get to the top, but to stay there.
"These are all things you learn from losing. You would rather learn these things from winning. But if you don't, hopefully you do when you're defeated."
Regarding any psychological residue from the loss to Klitschko, Arreola simply said, "I'm over it." About his promoter's claim that he cut corners during training, Arreola was not all that agreeable.
"I didn't cut corners," Arreola said. "The missed days, I missed them because I was sick. There is no reason to go to train and half-ass training. When you hit the bag hit you the bag like you're going to fight, or you don't hit it at all.
"Could I have done more? Yes. Did I cut corners? No."
Ward a Shining Example
Goossen intimated Andre Ward is an example as to how one should go about the business of preparing for a big fight. Ward won an 11th-round tecnnical decision over Mikkel Kessler last Saturday in Oakland, taking Kessler's super middleweight title in Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic.
Just as it was Arreola's first title shot against Klitschko, it was Ward's against Kessler.
"One of the things I admired about Ward's performance is that he gave it everything he had before the bell rang to be prepared," Goossen said.
Furthermore, Goossen said Ward was asked in the post-fight news conference how difficult it will be to stay on top now that he's there. Goossen liked Ward's response.
"He said it's a lot more dangerous here because a lot more lays on your shoulders, that there is a lot more temptation out there not to train as hard because you're the man," Goossen said.
Goossen said Ward realizes he is going to have to continue to work extra hard in training to retain his consistency.
"That is learning without losing," Goossen said.
Suspension, His Arse
Arreola had a few words about the WBC's six-month suspension of him. And they weren't very nice.
"I think it's really stupid," he said. "I lost a lot of respect for the WBC for doing that. The way I see it, I'm an American, man. I've got the freedom of speech. I'm allowed to say what I want when I want and as much as I want. The WBC is supposed to represent the world, but it only represents itself. If they want to suspend me, I don't care. They can suspend me all they want.
"They will never get any sanctioning fees from me. I never even got a warning. How are they going to suspend me?"
Vazquez-Marquez IV Still Being Worked On
Frank Espinoza, manager for Israel Vazquez, said Wednesday that an accord for a fourth fight between Vazquez and Rafael Marquez is still in the process of being reached. But there seems to be an issue with the much-talked about date of Feb. 27.
"The proposed date is Feb. 27, but from what I understand that would not be a good time because I think that would be during the Winter Olympics or at the end," Espinoza said.
The Winter Olympics in Vancouver will begin Feb. 12 and culminate Feb. 28.
Espinoza said the site would likely be Staples Center in Los Angeles, regardless of when it takes place.
"We certainly feel this fight should be in L.A. at Staples Center," said Espinoza, of East Los Angeles. "It's for the fans here. Israel and I think that fight would draw a lot of attention here at Staples."
Espinoza said that if Feb. 27 does not work, he will hold out for another date.
"If we have to wait a few months, we're going to wait," he said. "We don't want to take another fight. We understand Marquez wants to fight Vazquez, too, and we're looking forward to that fight."
Espinoza said he will leave it to Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Gary Shaw and Showtime to put it all together.
Marquez is promoted by Shaw and Showtime has televised the first three fights, two of which were won by Vazquez.
Mares on Mosley-Berto undercard
Espinoza also manages highly touted bantamweight Abner Mares, of Montebello, Calif., via Mexico. Although he doesn't have an opponent yet, Espinoza said Mares (19-0, 12 KOs) will be fighting on the undercard of the Jan. 30 welterweight title fight between "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Andre Berto at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
"He's close to fighting for a world title," Espinoza said of Mares, just 23. "I'm really high on Abner."
Espino eyes Pavlik
Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (35-1, 31 KOs) has a knockout ratio of 86.11 percent. But Miguel Espino (20-2-1, 9 KOs) has never been stopped inside the distance, and he's only tasted the canvas once. According to John Bray, Espino's trainer, that recipe should make for a good fight when the two square off Dec. 19 in Pavlik's native Youngstown, Ohio.
"This is a hell of a fight because you've got two guys who don't take a step backward," Bray said. "Kelly is a tremendous puncher, but Miguel has a tremendous chin. Miguel has been down only once. He got caught cold in the first round against Jonathan Reid. It was a flash knockdown.
"I'm thinking, 'No way.' He gets up and ends up stopping Reid in the fifth round. Miguel is just relentless."
That loss to Reid came in October 2005 as part of NBC's "The Contender."
Espino, of North Hollywood, Calif., is trained by Bray out of Fortune Gym in Hollywood. Prior to his training session there Wednesday, Espino talked about finally get a title shot after more than nine years as a pro.
Specifically, he was asked his first thought upon hearing he was being afforded this opportunity.
"Excited," said the 29-year-old Espino, one of the nicest guys in boxing. "I didn't think it was real. I thought they were just messing with me."
Espino was told of his trainer's comments regarding his chin.
"I have a great chin, but it will be tested in this fight," he said. "We'll see after this fight how well it's doing."
Espino did not want to touch on all the controversy surrounding Pavlik twice pulling out of a fight with Paul Williams because of an injury to his left hand. Pavlik has taken a lot of heat in the media, but Espino is expecting Pavlik to be unfazed once the fight starts.
"I'm not going to say anything against him about all the personal stuff he's going through," Espino said. "He is coming to fight. I'm never going to underestimate anybody, especially a world champion."
Espino said it will take "pressure, resiliency and conditioning" to beat Pavlik.
Truth or Consequences
Goossen finds the whole Pavlik scenario rather curious. He even got a bit of a chuckle out of the release sent out regarding Tuesday's news conference announcing Pavlik's fight with Espino. Here is part of a quote attributed to Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank Inc., which promotes Pavlik.
"Kelly Pavlik is a superstar because he has always accepted the biggest challenges," he said. "He's endured a lot since his last title defense. To come back from his staph infection and the life-threatening complications he suffered due to his allergic reaction to the antibiotic prescribed, is the stuff of legends. In life, just as in the ring, Kelly Pavlik may get knocked down, but you can never count him out."
"I find it inconceivable that we have had this drama that is worthy of any Peyton Place novel that has unfolded in front of our eyes," Goossen said. "From staph infections to brawls that we've heard about, to near-death experiences to 'I can't close my fist' to 'I haven't trained for two months' to scheduling a fight (14) days later, whatever it is, from the fight he just pulled out of.
"There is not much more I can say about it. All I entertain are the facts and I will let everybody else make their own determination whether it is a bunch of bull, or a miracle."
Pavlik pulled out of fights with Williams scheduled for Oct. 3 and Dec. 5.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram and BoxingScene.com.