A heavyweight world title fight returns to Los Angeles, with Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne facing Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola for the vacant WBC version.
It’s been five years since the last world championship took place in the city of Angels and once again Arreola is one of the parties. This time the Galen Center across from USC’s campus is the site and it will be televised on ESPN.
Arreola (36-3, 31 Kos) seeks to reclaim former glory and Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 Kos) doubts he can do it.
“He talks a lot and makes a lot of excuses,” said Stiverne, who owns a win over Arreola in 2013. “I’m going to knock him down and punish him.”
Not since the Riverside heavyweight faced Damian “Bolo” Wills has he entered the ring at full capacity, fully loaded and ready for war. “That was my best fight,” said Arreola, 33. “That and against Malcolm Tann.”
Stiverne has much of the same qualities as Wills, who entered the fight against Arreola in 2006 as an undefeated heavyweight. Both fought in the Southern California region and were building up their respective fan bases. The Riverside prizefighter was well-prepared for the clash and both gave their best. Arreola won by technical knockout in the seventh round in Las Vegas. Wills still remains a dangerous heavyweight.
Since that win against Wills, the Mexican-American heavyweight never again approached that degree of preparation. Though he blasted out Travis Walker, Chazz Witherspoon, Jameel McCline, and Eric Molina, there were other fights were his lack of preparation left him vulnerable.
“I kick myself in the ass for losing to (Tomasz) Adamek. I kick myself in the ass for going 12 rounds with Manny Quezada. I kick myself in the ass for losing to Stiverne,” said Arreola, recounting fights that he felt he should have won. “Vitali Klitschko, (darn) it, he was a better man. He’s one of the best heavyweights of my time. So losing to him was not a big letdown.”
Over time Arreola has added more defensive skills to his repertoire and doesn’t take as many shots as before. But he still is willing to trade blows to get his bombs in. It’s his style and he used it to perfection against Seth Mitchell in his last bout.
“I got the wake-up call against Seth Mitchell. I thought (forget) him. I’m going to come in the ring and I’m going to run him over. That’s what I have to do this time,” Arreola says. “Even though Stiverne is a much more capable fighter than Seth Mitchell, I have to come in with the mindset that I have to run him over. Either I get him out the first round or go 12 rounds. I don’t want to go 12 rounds.”
Arreola recognizes this could be his last opportunity for a heavyweight world title.
“I've got to show everybody, the world, that this Mexican-American is the best heavyweight in the world,” he said.
During the final press conference on Thursday both heavyweights exchange bitter words and each promised a win.
Stiverne has shown he has good hand-speed with power and fights out of a defensive shell. Arreola has solid power with both hands and prefers aggression instead of defense. It all comes down to who lands first.
“I'm not going in the ring with that – with my last performance, so we're getting ready for a new type of Arreola. So whatever Arreola shows up on May 10th, I'll be able to handle that. And to be honest, I think this fight I think Chris will be in shape. That's his excuse,” Stiverne said.
Arreola wants to be the first Mexican-American heavyweight world champion and also does not want to be defeated in front of his daughter.
“The fact that I don’t want to see my daughter see me get beat up. That’s inspiration enough for me,” said Arreola. “And I don’t want to be one of those 'could would of should of' kind of guys.
Who will end up on top?