Chris Arreola - "I'd Like To Fight Either Of The Klitschko Brothers Or David Haye"
Exclusive Interview by James Slater - Undefeated Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola is now well into training for his upcoming April 11th showdown with Jameel "Big Time" McCline. Last week this writer was fortunate enough to speak with the 26-0(23) fighter's trainer, Henry Ramirez. Today, graciously taking time out from training camp, the 28-year-old crowd-pleaser himself spoke with me over the phone.
Article posted on 11.03.2009
Great to chat with, as always, Chris gave the following answers to my questions.
James Slater: It's a pleasure to speak with you, Chris, as always. Firstly, how has camp been so far?
Chris Arreola: It's been good. I've been in camp three weeks already. My main sparring partner will be "Bolo," as usual (Damian Wills). But I've already sparred with Cisse Salif and Rod Willis - both big guys..
J.S: You stopped Damian Wills in Las Vegas, didn't you?
C.A: Yes, I stopped him back in 2006. He's a tough guy, I like him. We're both real cool and when we spar it's always like it's the eighth round of a fight.
J.S: As your trainer Henry Ramirez said, Jameel McCline is often dangerous in the early rounds of a fight. Do you expect fireworks right from the get-go on April 11th?
C.A: Yes. I know Jameel McCline will come prepared, as this is his last chance at glory. He will be dangerous from round one up until round twelve. I'm not taking him lightly in any way.
J.S: He will be the biggest guy you will have fought, I believe, at approx 270-pounds. Any concerns there?
C.A: No, no concerns at all. I'm just thinking about me and my weight. I know I have to be in top shape for this fight. I want to give a good performance, where the fans can cheer for me.
J.S: Last week I interview Henry, and I didn't ask him about your weight because I was somewhat tired of everyone harping on about it. But, for the record, what do you plan to weigh for the McCline fight?
C.A: I'd say 240, to 245. No higher than 245. I want to stay at around 240, it's a good weight for me.
J.S: Does it annoy you when the critics speak about your weight all the time? I know you carry the weight fine and there is nothing wrong with your stamina.
C.A: Yeah, of course it bothers me. They are so fixated on the weight issue, and they don't watch my fight. I've never been tired in a fight, I'm the same in each round. Take my (May, 2007) fight with Malcolm Tann - I was throwing the same amount of punches in the eighth round as I was in the first round. And against Travis Walker last time out - he was tired in the first round and he was even more tired in the second round. He was huffing and puffing, while I was calm and relaxed in the corner between rounds.
J.S: That was a great action fight Vs. Walker. Would you say that was your toughest fight yet?
C.A: Toughest fight, no, I don't think it was. But in terms of having to overcome, it was. Being dropped, it can be a hard thing to come back from. But as soon as I got up from the knockdown I started to fight my fight. That's what won it for me. If I'd fought my fight right from the start the fight probably wouldn't have gone two rounds.
J.S: Amazingly, some people started saying you have a glass chin because Walker decked you. That must annoy you?
C.A: That does bug me, yeah. He was landing a lot of good shots, which I took. He just caught me with a perfect right hand and I went down for a few seconds. But I was clear-headed and I maintained my composure.
J.S: Do you feel you are at your peak now, at age 28?
C.A: No. Not at all. There's still lots to learn. I've been fighting for sixteen years and I am still learning new things all the time. Even when you are at your physical peak you still keep learning.
J.S: Are you at all anxious to get a title shot this year? I know you're not looking past McCline, but do you have a clock ticking in the back of your mind with regards to when you will get your shot?
C.A: I would like a shot this year, yes. But I want to really earn my shot, not just be given it. Even if it means taking on all the top heavyweights out there, I'll fight them so that then everyone will say I have earned my title fight.
J.S: Jameel McCline has rarely been knocked out cold. Are you thinking about doing that to him to make a statement and also shut up yet more critics?
C.A: Yes, absolutely. I respect Jameel McCline, as I respect every fighter. But I'm coming to make a statement in this fight, yes. But, having said that, I always expect a long fight whenever I fight - I always train that way. I hate it when a fight goes to the judges [scorecards]. I know some guys get robbed and things like that. I always like to finish the fight before the last bell, even if it's a single second before the twelfth and final round.
J.S: This will be you second fight at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Do you like the venue?
C.A: I'll fight in any venue. I'll always perform and give my all - even if there were just twenty people watching I'd fight my heart out and give those who paid a great show.
J.S: It's been great speaking with you, Chris. For my final question - if you could pick your next opponent for after McCline, who would it be?
C.A: As I say, I respect all the champions out there, and I know the Klitschkos and the other champions have their mandatory fights to take care of. But, honestly, I'd love to take a fight with David Haye. I think that would be a good fight for the fans. I don't know what's going on with his fight with Wladimir Klitschko, but I'd like to fight him if he can't get that. I know he's said some things about me and he's called me ugly. I'm not bothered about that - I am ugly (laughs). Basically, I'd like to fight either of the Klistchko brothers or Haye.
J.S: Well, Haye has never said anything to your face has he? As you know, it's not about looks in boxing anyway. You're a Mexican warrior, and that's why the fans like you.
C.A: Yes, sir!
J.S: Thanks again for taking time out to speak with me, Chris. Best wishes for April 11th.
C.A: Okay, thank you.
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