by David P. Greisman
Chris Arreola knows he wouldn’t be getting in the ring with Deontay Wilder next week if Wilder’s bout with Alexander Povetkin hadn’t been called off due to Povetkin’s positive test for a banned substance.
But he’ll nevertheless headline a Premier Boxing Champions show on Fox on July 16 in Alabama, challenging for a heavyweight title for the third time in his career. He came up short against Vitali Klitschko, losing via technical knockout in 2009. He came up short in his rematch with Bermane Stiverne, getting stopped in six rounds and failing to pick up a vacant belt in 2014.
And he hasn’t looked good since, struggling for a win over Curtis Harper in March 2015, being held to a draw against Fred Kassi in July 2015, and then just barely edging Travis Kauffman last December, only to have that win overturned for a positive marijuana test. He is now 36-4-1 with 31 KOs and swearing that, this time, the bad habits that came up in past training camps won't be an issue.
“Do I deserve this title shot? No, I don’t think I do,” Arreola said on a July 6 media conference call. “But since I don’t deserve it, everything I didn’t do in the past, I’m doing. … I’m doing everything I possibly can to win this fight. Everything. I got to leave everything in the ring. I got to leave everything out there. Yeah, my back is against the wall. This is my last title shot. I have to come. I have to bring it. I have to make this a dogfight, plain and simple.
“When a title shot comes knocking, you don’t turn it down, period. You don’t know when it’s going to come around again,” he said. “I’m not coming just to get paid. That’s not me. I’m coming for that title. I’m coming for that win. I don’t even know what I’m getting paid for this fight. It wasn’t even told to me. I don’t care. Money’s not the part. My part is I want to win this fight. That’s the god’s honest truth.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]