By CARLOS ARIAS
LOS ANGELES --- It's no secret that discipline has always been Chris Arreola's Achilles' heel. It's the main reason why he has never fully lived up to his vast potential.
Arreola's trainer Henry Ramirez said his fighter finally understood that after his loss to Bermane Stiverne in April 2013. It's why he made the decision to take Arreola out of town for his training camp against Seth Mitchell, which resulted in a first-round KO. And Ramirez believes that will be the difference when Arreola faces Stiverne in a rematch for the vacant WBC heavyweight title on Saturday at USC's Galen Center on ESPN.
Ramirez used House of Boxing in National City, which is close to the Mexican border, as the site for Arreola's training camp. It's the same gym that Antonio Orozco, Carlos Molina and Josesito Lopez have used.
"Just like the last camp in Arizona, we had to get him away from home," Ramirez said. "We took him to Arizona for the Seth Mitchell fight. For this fight, we went to San Diego. The reason why we didn't go to Arizona is because we couldn't find a fully furnished rental home for seven-eight weeks, because it's peak season in the spring time. You got spring training down there. We couldn't find any houses, so we settled on San Diego. It's still a little too close to Riverside for my liking, but it's an hour and 45 minutes away. But we trained hard. It was great."
Stiverne dominated the first fight. He knocked Arreola down and broke his nose on the way to a unanimous decision when they met the first time. So what's going to be different this time?
"He's in phenomenal shape," Ramirez said. "The preparation, the mental side, everything is night and day. After the Stiverne loss, that was the last fight we trained at home. We'll never train at home for a fight again. After that, I told Al (Haymon) when they offered us the Mitchell fight I said, 'Yeah, but we have to do a camp.' We had to train away from home. It was just an absolute necessity. He's his own distraction. He'll admit it. He's the problem. Nobody else. He's the problem.
"When we get him somewhere else, his whole day is planned around boxing. We get to the gym around 10 in the morning and we're there until about 1 (p.m.). We do about an hour and 45 (minutes) on boxing and then it's another hour on conditioning in the gym, you know, core and ab work. And then in the evening he does conditioning again."
Ramirez is very aware of what Stiverne brings to the table.
"Stiverne's good," Ramirez said. "He's a hell of a fighter. He's got good power in his right hand. The same things that concerned me about Stiverne then concern me now. He's a good puncher, battle tested and a hell of a fighter. Like I said, the Chris Arreola that night and the Chris Arreola on Saturday night are night and day. The preparation we've done is not even the same."
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