Exclusive Interview With Henry Ramirez - "Nobody Can Ever Question Chris Arreola's Heart Now"
by James Slater - Henry Ramirez, trainer, of course, of Chris Arreola, is obviously feeling disappointment right now, due to his brave fighter coming up short this past Saturday night in his challenge of WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko. However, Henry is also proud of the way Chris gave his all in the fight and showed his warrior's heart.
At a time when many people would not want to give out an interview, Henry very kindly took the time to speak with me about the battle that took place in L.A just three days ago.
Here is what Ramirez had to say today: .
James Slater: I really appreciate you talking to me, Henry. I know you and Chris must be really upset at not having won on Saturday.
Henry Ramirez: Yeah, obviously it's tough taking that first loss. We came up together and we took a fight with the best heavyweight in the world, that's it, you know. Chris wore his heart on his sleeve and he did the best he could.
J.S: There is no doubt at all about that. Chris has some rock for a chin! How he took all those big right hands I don't know. How is Chris today, some three days after the fight?
H.R: He's okay. He let the raw emotion of the whole thing get the better of him at the post-fight press conference. You know, that was just Chris being Chris.
J.S: Did he suffer a broken nose?
H.R: We initially thought so, after the 8th-round. He came back and told me he thought his nose was broken. But no, he's okay physically - apart from a small problem with his right bicep which was the reason he wasn't throwing that many right hands. But he gives all credit to Vitali Klitschko. Vitali fought his fight and made it his night.
J.S: Was Chris angry with you when you pulled him out? He's not still angry now is he?
H.R: He wasn't angry, initially he was upset. I know he could've continued marching in for those last two rounds, but it's my job to protect the fighter. I knew we were behind and it was pretty much a lost cause. Chris was fighting a guy who has never been down or knocked out, and it was a long shot him landing that right hand bomb to take him out. I knew I couldn't talk with Chris about stopping it, because I know he'd have talked me into letting him go on. Chris is a warrior and he needs to be protected from himself in a situation like that.
J.S: Well, I read a few articles about you and what you did. Many people said they now have more respect for you for doing what you did - as Eddie Futch got respect for doing what he did with Joe Frazier (in 1975).
H.R: Well, it's easy for the trainer, the manager or the promoter to be the tough guy when they're not the one who is being hit. But Chris is only 28 and he'll be back, no doubt. Other fighters have lost in the past. It's not against the rules to lose.
J.S: Even though it would have been much better for me to be speaking to you now if Chris had won, at least Vitali said afterwards that Chris gave him one of his toughest ever fights. And a lot of critics were shut up - guys that said Chris wouldn't last four-rounds. I know he wanted to win, but is there a sense of pride on Chris' part for showing he is the real deal?
H.R: Chris has an undying will. He came and he fought his fight the only way he could. He pressed and always tried to win, and nobody can ever question his heart again now. But like I say, he's only 28 and he will bounce back.
J.S: Have you watched a tape of the fight?
H.R: Yeah, it was pretty painful (laughs). I've seen it once and that's enough.
J.S: I gave Chris the 4th round and the 8th round. Was that how you had it?
H.R: Yeah, Chris won the 4th and he looked like he was coming alive in the 8th, but you have to give Vitali credit for regaining control like he did in the 9th-round.
J.S: Chris said he'd like to fight again as soon as this year or early next year. I know it's very early days, but is that still a possibility?
H.R: Chris is the kind of fighter who has to be protected from himself. I mean, if he had his way he'd be back in about two months. I'll see he has a good rest and then see what happens at the end of the year. I think January or February at the latest he'll be back.
J.S: With regards to Vitali, as a top trainer who has seen a lot of fights - can you see anyone beating him?
H.R: It's going to be pretty difficult for anyone to beat Vitali. He's around 6'8," he's always in great condition and he fights the style of fight that always gives him the best chance of winning. Some people complain that it's not exactly entertaining, but it sure is very effective. He's very disciplined and you have to hand it to him and his brother.
J.S: Well, it's been great speaking with you, Henry. I was hesitant to call, but I didn't want you and Chris thinking I was a guy who only calls when you're winning.
H.R: Chris is the kind of guy who is the same with people all the time. I mean, it's okay to be receptive to interviews and being friendly with people when the wins are rolling in, but you have to treat people the same way when you lose. I'm sure Chris will be wanting to do some interviews when he's back talking. As I say, at 28 he will definitely bounce back.
J.S: Thanks so much for your time Henry. It was a privilege to watch the fight, a great effort by Chris.
H.R: Thank you, James.
Article posted on 01.10.2009