Boxing


Henry Ramirez, Trainer Of Chris Arreola, Speaks On Upcoming Fight with Vitali Klitschko

Chris Arreolaby James Slater - Earlier today I had the pleasure of speaking over the phone with Henry Ramirez, trainer, of course, of unbeaten heavyweight contender Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola, 27-0(24). As has been announced, the 28-year-old Mexican/American who resides in Riverside, LA, will challenge WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko at The Staples Centre on September 26th. Very kindly taking time out to talk about this big opportunity his warrior has been given, Henry had the following answers to my questions.

James Slater: As always I really appreciate your time, Henry. You can guess the reason I'm calling - the fight with Vitali Klitschko's a go then! You and Chris must be thrilled?

Henry Ramirez: Oh, absolutely. Chris is very excited, and I'm very excited..

J.S: Will there be a press conference to officially announce the fight next week, and will the fight get a press tour?

H.R: Yes, there will be a press conference next week in downtown LA, the exact date I'm not sure of. As for a press tour - I hope not. We want to use every possible day for training. I'd rather not have to go parading around. But the fight's not a pay-per-view fight, so I don't think there'll be a press tour, even though it's a big fight.

J.S: Chris must be happy to be fighting in LA, at The Staples Centre?

H.R: Absolutely. He's happy about the venue and he's extremely motivated for this fight.

J.S: This will be Chris' first fight at The Staples Centre - a good omen?

H.R: Yeah, it is a good omen. I mean, Chris is a Mexican/American and The Staples Centre is in the heart of LA, where there are lots and lots of Mexican/Americans, so yeah, it's great. Chris is looking to make history as the first ever Mexican/American to win a world heavyweight title. He's so up for this fight, he's going to put double the effort in to win - twice as much as he's ever put into any fight.

J.S: Do you feel this fight has come at the perfect time for you - with Chris being age 28 and having had 27 pro fights - or would you have preferred to have waited a while longer?

H.R: I feel it's perfect timing for us. You have an ageing world champion going in against a young and exciting contender. Chris has a crowd-pleasing style and we're expecting to win; despite what some of your readers on the web site say. I don't mind the criticism and the comments, but some guys attack Chris almost on a personal level, when they don't even know him! And some of what they say is just stupid.

J.S: It does seem as though a lot of readers have made up their mind that Chris will lose. It's almost as though they think the Klitschkos are unbeatable - I mean I know they're both good fighters, but...

H.R: I don't think it's that people think they're unbeatable, I think it's just that a lot of fans think the heavyweight division is in the toilet here [in America]. But Chris is going to fight his fight, he's been working great with the new conditioning coach we hired, Dale Hudson, and we've started camp already. I think a lot of people will be shocked on September 26th.

J.S: Chris is a laid back and calm guy, but is there any chance nerves will get to him a little for this big fight?

H.R: No, there'll be no nerves. The moment won't get to him. Chris doesn't have that kind of mental makeup. He will be so committed to this fight, though - twice more than for any previous fight, as I've said. He works out twice a day - conditioning work in the morning from 9 AM to 11 AM, and then boxing training in the evening, 5.30 to 8PM - and I know the work and the effort he's putting in. We will be moving to San Fernando Valley next week, to our training camp there.

J.S: Any idea about who Chris will spar with yet?

H.R: I'm in the process of finalising the sparring partners. Lance Whitaker and Michael Grant are two possibilities.

J.S: I know you may not be able to or want to talk about this too much for legal reasons, but did you have any problems with the contract for the Klitschko fight? We have all heard about what David Haye has said, with regards to his claims that both Klitschko brothers ask for crazy demands in their contracts.

H.R: No, we've had no problems whatsoever. Dan Goossen had no problems and Al Haymon had no problems. I don't know about what Haye was asked to sign, but at the same time, why shouldn't the Klitschkos make demands of him? It's not as if he's earned a fight with them. Okay, he was a great cruiserweight champion and he achieved a lot there, but at heavyweight he's done nothing. Chris has been a heavyweight his entire career and he's earned this fight way more than Haye earned one. It's a big jump, too [for Haye to go up to heavyweight]. I mean, if you go up from 140-pounds to 147, you can do well and win. But from cruiser to heavyweight, you're talking a good 30 or 40 pounds. It's a lot different and a lot more difficult.

J.S: One question I have to ask is.....

H.R: (jumping in and laughing) I know, about the weight, right?

J.S: Yes. I know it's a tiresome issue!

H.R: I don't mind you asking. But I don't really have a number in mind. I know what Chris has put and will put into training for this fight, so I'm not worried at all. He's never worked out in the mornings like he is now, so that's a big plus. Believe me, Chris will be ready for this fight. I know he's not a guy who looks like he should be on the cover of a fitness magazine, but he'll be over 100-percent ready for this fight. But if I had to give you a number, I'd say around the 245-mark.

J.S: Just talking a little about tactics - but not too much, just in case the Klitschkos have their spies out. I take it Chris will try and get past the jab, get inside and work the body and make it rough for Vitali?

H.R: No, actually we're going to stand on the outside and try to win a boxing contest! (laughs) No, you're pretty much right in what you say. It would be total B.S if I said we were going to try and box on the outside - there's no way we could win the fight like that. Chris is a natural pressure fighter, and, yeah, he's going to get inside and work the body. People can expect lots of excitement on September 26th. They are in for a treat.

J.S: Well, it's been a pleasure as always, Henry. Best wishes for the fight and thanks for talking to me.

H.R: My pleasure.

Article posted on 04.08.2009



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