Chris Arreola has truly embraced the concept of less being more.
The veteran heavyweight contender knows he can’t change the past but has done his best in training camp to turn back the clock. A slimmer, trimmer physique graces the 40-year-old California native ahead of his all-Mexican heavyweight showdown with former unified titlist Andy Ruiz (33-2, 22KOs) on May 1, live on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
“I feel great but I will feel better on the 1st,” Arreola told host Ray Flores during an open workout which streamed live on the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) YouTube channel. “I’ve been working hard for four months. I’m gonna make it a great fight for the fans and a great fight for myself. I’m fighting for my career.”
California’s Arreola (38-6-1, 33KOs) has not fought since a 12-round unanimous decision loss to then-unbeaten Adam Kownacki in their Aug. 2019 punch-a-thon at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The entertaining slugfest saw the pair of heavyweight combine to set several Compubox punch stat records for most punches thrown and landed.
A 38-year-old Arreola put forth his best effort, landing 298 punches out a record 1,125 thrown, including 283-of-995 power punches. Arreola and Kownacki threw at least 70 punches every round, with Arreola surpassing 100 in four rounds including the 11th and 12th rounds.
The conditioning and mindset that went into that fight has been applied for this camp as well.
Ruiz is also fighting for past glory, having disgraced himself in showing up grotesquely out of shape for his Dec. 2019 rematch with England’s Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22KOs). Ruiz dropped a landslide decision, conceding the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles he claimed in a 7th round stoppage of Joshua six months prior to become the first-ever Mexican to win a portion of the heavyweight crown.
The 31-year-old from Imperial, California has since enlisted the services of renowned trainer Eddy Reynoso, joining an all-star roster that includes pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs), Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18KOs), two-division and reigning junior lightweight titlist Oscar Valdez (29-0, 23KOs). The no-nonsense approach of the 2019 Trainer of the Year has taken to Ruiz, who—like Arreola—has slimmed down considerably ahead of their upcoming clash.
“If you have two guys of the same talent… if they’re a clone of each other, what separates them is who is in better shape,” notes Joe Goossen, Arreola’s head trainer. “That’s the underlying thought process. He’s got talent, we got talent. Now it’s about who will be in better shape.
“No matter what resistance you meet in the ring, you will be able to hit that spurt in the end, those last three or four rounds when they’re expecting you to slow down.”
Arreola believes the past four months of training have physically prepared him for this event. The overall time spent with Goossen has taught the three-time heavyweight title challenger that his old ways just aren’t going to cut it if he plans to make at least one more run towards the divison’s top prize.
“I’ve really improved with Joe,” insists Arreola, who has suffered stoppage losses in title fight bids versus Vitali Klitschko, Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder. “It’s not reinventing the wheel. He’s just making sure that motherf-----’ wheel stays round. He stays on top of me because he knows, if you give me a round I’m going to fuck around for a round.
“I’ve been fighting since a young age. I bleed boxing. I put myself out there every time I fight. Even if I’m not in the best shape, I owe it to the fans even if I take that ass beating. I’ve been waiting for this fight for four or five months and I know it’s gonna be a barnburner.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox