Until a prizefighter gets knocked out blotto he’s always in the hunt and that goes for Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola too.
In spite of losses to a couple of Eastern bloc fighters, WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko and former cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek, the heavyweight from Riverside, California remains a contender.
Arreola (29-2, 25 KOs) fights Joey Abell (27-4, 26 KOs) tonight at Pechanga Resort and Casino and more importantly battles to maintain credibility among American heavyweights. A loss could sink the Mexican-American boxer faster than an anchor made of Kaiser Steel.
Fans in America are beginning to fade from the Arreola train. The loss to Klitschko wasn’t so bad, but the loss to Adamek, well, that one was somewhat embarrassing. Even to Arreola it was one of his darker moments in the sport with many pointing to a lack of commitment to training.
“I really want to kick the heck out of him one day,” said Arreola of Adamek, while somewhat admitting that he did not prepare diligently. “I was never tired in the Klitschko fight. As for Adamek, it did come to play.”
Arreola’s promoter and manager fear the Riverside heavyweight was poised for yet another letdown but he was quickly shipped to Houston, Texas. So far, the move has worked according to plan.
With Houston-based trainer Ronnie Shields the gallivanting Arreola was unable to miss appointments with trainer Henry Ramirez. Unless he wanted to take his Dodge Challenger a couple thousand miles to his Southern California haunts. Instead, he stuck around and trained.
“I haven’t missed a day,” Arreola said.
With both Shields and Ramirez overlooking the heavyweight’s training, the camp has provided some focus for his fight with Abell, a hard-hitting heavyweight from Minnesota.
After spending several years under Ramirez’s guidance, the words of wisdom are not often heeded by Arreola. Under Shields, a new voice, the directions are seemingly piercing the deaf ear syndrome.
“I got complacent with my power punches,” explains Arreola. “I fell into my punches a lot and got hit because of it.”
Shields worked to eliminate some of Arreola’s flaws including the awkward looking right cross that makes experts wince. And also the little used jab.
“We worked on better head movement and working the jab,” Ramirez said. “When things aren’t going Chris’s way, he’ll go back to the jab.”
Crowds have dwindled slowly for Riverside heavyweight Arreola. Maybe fans feel that the Riverside heavyweight doesn’t train and doesn’t care.
“I care a lot about the fans, that’s why I’m here in Houston working my butt off,” said Arreola by telephone.
Arreola, 29, sets the table for a strong fight card that also features his stablemate Josesito Lopez (28-3, 16 KOs) who boxes undefeated Mike Dallas Jr. (17-0-1, 7 KOs) in a 10 round junior welterweight match.
Both Riverside prizefighters know a loss can set them back dramatically.
In the junior welterweight match up, Lopez tests the speedy Dallas, whose first pro win occurred at Pechanga Casino.
“He has never been in the ring with a fighter like me, I guarantee that,” said Lopez, 26, who began as a junior lightweight and now fights at the 140-pound junior welterweight division. “I am going to take him into the rounds where he will have to dig deep down.”
Lopez has not lost in almost three years and has beaten quality opponents such as Marvin Cordova, Patrick Lopez and Tyrone Harris. It’s experience with high caliber boxers that gives the Riverside pugilist confidence.
“It is really an advantage for me to be in the ring with Mike Dallas, Jr. because I know exactly what I have to do in there to win,” said Lopez.
Ramirez also trains Lopez and says the junior welterweight needs to work inside.
“Jose needs to cut the distance down and take Mike Dallas out of his comfort zone,” Ramirez said.
The two Riverside boxers Lopez and Arreola began their pro careers almost simultaneously. Both need wins to continue, especially Arreola who has big dreams of fighting in front of tens of thousands of fans one day.
“One of my ultimate goals is to fight in Dodger Stadium in front of thousands of fans,” said Arreola. “I want fans to be excited about boxing. Dodger fans, Raider fans, I want everybody to want to see boxing.”
Both fights on the Goossen-Tutor Promotions card will be televised live on ESPN2. Go to our Forum, and drop a prediction in there. http://www.thesweetscience.com/forums/forum.php
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