Chris Arreola Interview Transcript
Chris Arreola: Hey, guys. How are you guys doing, man? Well I’m over here in San Diego just straight training and getting ready for this fight. I know Bermane is going to get ready 100% like he always does, and now it’s my time to get ready 100% and put on a good show on May 10th for everybody live out there on ESPN.
Dan Goossen: Thanks, Chris. And we also have his trainer, Henry Ramirez on. Henry, why don’t you just give us a quick overview of how the training’s been going?
Henry Ramirez: How’s everybody doing? May 10th is rapidly approaching, and Chris is down here working like never before, and no doubt in my mind on May 10th he’s going to come out victorious because of the work he’s putting in here.
Dan Goossen: Sounds good. Let’s open it up, Bernie, for any questions for Chris.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Once again I’m going to go back to Dan Rafael, senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Go ahead, Dan.
Dan Rafael: Chris, question for you: So this fight sort of to me has two things that would be significant for you. One, of course, is to win the vacant title; two, of course, would be to avenge your loss to Bermane Stiverne from a year or so ago. When you think about this fight, which one is most immediately important to you? Is it the title, or is it just the satisfaction of avenging your loss?
Chris Arreola: Well, as far as what’s important to me, because of the kind of person that I am and the character that I – the dude I am, the guy that I’ve grown up being – I hate losing. And the fact that I get to avenge my loss, to me that means the world, but you’ve got to add to it that I’m going to fight for the world title. Now how sweet could that be, man, avenge a loss and win the title at the same time and making history?
It all comes together, and it’s going to be a great night on May 10th. Bermane did what he was supposed to do on the first fight, and this fight now I have to do what I have to do, which means bring the fight to him and put him on his heels.
Dan Rafael: Chris, in the past you’ve had some important fights, not only always won them. I’ve covered some of them. Often times there has been excuses afterwards about you weren’t focused, weren’t in shape – whatever the case may be. Do you feel like this is the last chance that – we’ve heard those comments from you, those excuses from you – that you’ve got to either put up or be quiet after this one?
Chris Arreola: Absolutely, I have to. That’s why I’m over here in San Diego working my butt off, man, no excuses. In the past I would give myself a reason to have an excuse. I wouldn’t show up at the gym; I wouldn’t do what I’m supposed to do as a professional. And times have changed, man. I feel like I’m a mature fighter, I have what it takes between my ears and in my heart and in my balls. Now it’s time for me to let it all hang out at the boxing gym, and really that’s where the fight is won. The fight is won in the gym.
You know, I hate using excuses, I hate doing excuses. The last time, Bermane beat me. I don’t want to say that it wasn’t because I wasn’t in shape or blah, blah, blah, whatever, whatever. He beat me. He was the one that broke my nose. The fact that I wasn’t in shape doesn’t change the fact that he broke my nose. That’s the main thing.
I was still in the fight, and, like I said, I always believe in my punching ability, and I had no quit in me, and I always believed there was a puncher’s chance. But May 10th there are no excuses. There’s not going to be one, “He should’ve done this; he should’ve done that.” I’m doing everything that I’m supposed to do in the gym, and May 10th we’re going to show who is the better man.
Dan Rafael: Henry, can you speak to that, to Chris’s past excuses in losses, but now his saying how dedicated he is in the gym for this fight? You’re seeing him up close. Is he skipping gym sessions, or is everything going the way you want it?
Henry Ramirez: This camp is going according to plan. This is just like the Arizona camp and preparation for the Seth Mitchell. Obviously not comparing Bermane and Mitchell, but just the camps themselves they are exactly the same. Chris is out here busting his behind. I don’t have to sit at the gym to wonder, “Damn, is he going to show up today,” because when I walk downstairs I knock on his door, “Hey its time to go.” It’s pretty regimented.
Chris puts in two and a half to three hours at the gym, and then he does an hour of conditioning in the evenings. So right now he weighs 244 yesterday, and we’re having to slow him down. We’re having him eat a lot just so he can maintain the weight. Optimum fighting weight is about 237, 240 right in that range, and not a doubt in my mind come May 10th that Chris is going to come out victorious, because honestly he’s training like a desperate man right now – a man very desperate.
Dan Rafael: Chris, are you desperate?
Chris Arreola: Absolutely. I’m very desperate. You know, I’ve done a lot of dumb stuff in my life, and it’s time to stop. It’s time to stop the excuses. It’s time for me to man up and handle my responsibilities in more ways than one, in the boxing gym, in my fight, and life in general, man. It’s just time for me to man up and just do what I’m supposed to do as a man – work hard.
Dan Rafael: Alright, Chris, thanks very much. Henry, I appreciate it. Good luck, guys.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Next up for Chris Arreola and Henry Ramirez is Michael Amakor from FightKings.com. Michael, go ahead please.
Michael Amakor: What pains you about your loss to Bermane? Is that one of the biggest losses of your career, and why does that particular one stick?
Chris Arreola: Oh, well it sticks because it was my last loss. That’s one of the main reasons it sticks most. But it’s very simple: I hate losing. I don’t like losing, and especially when I’m the idiot that causes the loss. Yeah, Bermane broke my nose and stuff like that, but I kept trying and trying to win and win the fight, but I couldn’t. Bermane was just a better fire that night, the better-conditioned fighter.
He was able to put combinations together which I wasn’t. I was just looking for that one shot, and that’s one thing that I won’t be making a mistake this time. I’m not going to be looking for just one shot. I’m going to be on him. I’m going to be accumulating punches, and I’m going to make them work every minute of every round. I said it before, and I mean it: I’m going to make him work.
Michael Amakor: Now, you also mentioned a little about the desperation. Why the desperation at this stage of your career?
Chris Arreola: I have two losses, man. This could be my very last shot, and I’m not going to take this shot for granted. I’m not going to screw this shot up. I’m going to make sure that I make it count. I’m going to make every punch count. I’m going to make this fight count, man.
This is a do-or-die fight for me, man, because I said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not a paycheck fighter. I’m not a fighter that’s going to be a gatekeeper. That’s not me. I don’t want to be in the sport to do that. I’m in the sport to be a champion, not to be a paycheck fighter or a crossroads kind of fight kind of guy.
Michael Amakor: Okay, and my last question: We, the media, we tend to kind of back you into a corner after you lose a fight, but you’ve actually manned up for all these fights and gone the distance. You’ve not been stopped. Would you, now that you have an opportunity, would you blame yourself for those losses, or would you blame your trainer – I hate to put the trainer on the spot – or certain things that couldn’t allow you to get to your full potential? What have you done in this camp that’s different from everything else?
Chris Arreola: My trainer, he’s a complete jerk. No, I can’t stand the guy. But I’m going to say one thing, man, I can never blame him for my loss. I’m a man. You know, I stand when I pee; I don’t sit when I pee. And I take every loss on me. Henry’s at the gym every day waiting on me. Henry was at the gym making sure that I was doing what I was supposed to do, but it was always up to me. It’s always up to me whether I do it or not.
And of course, every loss is my fault. I’m not going to blame Henry. Henry is doing everything he’s supposed to do. Henry watches fights. Henry analyzes things. I’m the one that didn’t do the work. And the difference now is that when we’re in camp there’s only one car key, and that’s Henry’s car, and we go to the gym every day, and I make sure I put in the work every day. Because, like I said, this fight my back is against the wall. I can’t lose this fight. I won’t lose this fight. I have to do it for myself and for my family.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Great. Thanks very much, Chris. Michael, thanks very much for the questions, we appreciate it. Next up we have Sean Crose from Boxing Insider. Go ahead, Sean.
Sean Crose: It’s good talking to you, sir. I have a question for you. Last time you did a great job with Stiverne the first two rounds. I really thought that you were dominating, and it looked like you might win the fight; however, he ended up asserting himself. So, Chris, how do you intend to keep Stiverne from asserting himself this time around?
Chris Arreola: Well, I’ll tell you exactly what happened in that fight. The first two rounds I was doing well. I was making sure that I was on him and that I was fighting my fight. In the third round, I kind of took it off. I went methodical. I started just throwing my punches and that’s the reason I got caught with that stupid right hand, because I threw a lazy jab.
I got lazy in that fight, and that’s the thing that I’ll make sure that I’m not going to let happen. I’ll make sure that I’m the one dictating the pace. I’m the one that’s going to be dictating the fight. And like I said, I’ve got to keep him on his heels, and right now I’m putting in the work in the gym just to make sure that I do that.
Sean Crose: Well, I wish you the best, and thank you very much. I just have one more question for Mr. Goossen. Mr. Goossen, are you there?
Dan Goossen: I’m here.
Sean Crose: I have a question for you. Whoever wins this fight – and I agree, I thought the first fight was a great fight, and I can’t wait to see this next one. And kudos to ESPN, they’re doing a really good thing with this and so are you guys. Having said all that, do you feel Wladimir Klitschko has to be defeated in order for the heavyweight division to be truly be rejuvenated?
Dan Goossen: Look, no matter who holds this heavyweight title, the Klitschkos have deserved to be recognized as the heavyweight champion, and it’ll be the duty of the winner of this fight to go out there and determine the sole heavyweight champion of the world. You can’t take anything away from Wladimir. He’s held that title for eight years, I believe, if Dan Rafael is correct. Vitali is a great champion.
Now, as you know, with the Fight for Peace a lot of that title is a direct reflection on the respect we have for Vitali and what he’s going through in the Ukraine right now. But also, we’ve got heavyweight history, and heavyweight history is going to determine one of these gentlemen to be heavyweight champion. We believe that Chris Arreola is prepared to hold that belt around his weight right now, but Wladimir Klitschko will still be standing there, and they’re big shoes to fill.
Sean Crose: Oh, all respect due. Unfortunately it’s not always entertaining, but they’re some fighters, both of them. There’s no two ways about it.
Dan Goossen: I’ll tell you, I’m looking forward to seeing Wladimir fight on ESPN because I truly believe with the emergence of Stiverne and Arreola fighting for his brothers title Wladimir is going to go out there on ESPN knowing that he’s got a big viewership possibility, and I think he’s going to go out there and try to show his greatness against Leapai.
Sean Crose: Yeah, I do too. I think he really is aiming to please on this one. Listen, if I could just throw one more question I do not want to hold anyone’s time. But Mr. Kweder, if you’re there – and you may not want to answer this – but do you feel HBO and Showtime have dropped the ball with the heavyweight division?
Brian Kweder: No. I think there’s a lot to offer out in the boxing world and each network has their own priorities, and clearly ESPN stepped up because of the value of the heavyweight division. But I wouldn’t characterize it that way.
Sear Crose: Okay, well I wish you all the best. Thank you very much, and I look forward to seeing this fight.
Bernie Bahrmasel: Thanks very much. Once again we’re going to return to Lem Satterfield from Ring Magazine and RingTV.com. Go ahead, Lem.
Lem Satterfield: Chris, the first time I met you was in August of 2006. You were up at Big Bear sparring. I walked in, and I saw you and Hasim Rahman just going at it, and I have to say you were a lot lighter. But Hasim Rahman told me that all the guys that were there that he thought you were going to be the next heavyweight champion. What do you remember about that session, and what does it mean to you now that this is 13 years to the day that Hasim Rahman upset Lennox Lewis to become an American heavyweight champion?
Chris Arreola: Well first of all, that’s an honor, man, because I never knew he said that about me, man, and that’s a big honor to hear that because honestly I was there and I was working, man, and I loved being up there in his training camp, man. That’s the first big training camp I was ever involved in, and I watched him work, and I watched him work real hard. And one thing I do remember is that every time I got in that ring I wanted to make sure I gave him my all, because I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to keep getting those paychecks every week.
But other than that, man, I enjoy boxing. I enjoy fighting. I enjoy the camaraderie that you get in a fight, and especially in a sparring session because after that you just shake hands like nothing happened and just go about your day like you guys are straight friends. Like me and Bermane, I don’t need to badmouth him. He doesn’t need to badmouth me for me, and on May 10th we’re going to come out there like beasts, like we hate each other. But I don’t hate him, and I’m sure he doesn’t hate me.
Lem Satterfield: Just to real quick touch on at what point – I know you were talking about the first two rounds of the last fight, and then you got knocked down in the third round – at what point was your nose broken, and not to make any excuses, but what kind of effect did it have on you?
Chris Arreola: First of all, when he dropped me that right hand shattered my nose. I didn’t know I had that many bones in it, but it was shattered in like four different places. And right after that I’m the kind of fighter that comes forward, that pushes the pace, that tries to dictate the pace, and that day I just couldn’t do that because every time he punched me was so painful. Even if he didn’t hit me that hard, if he hit me in my gloves or just hit me on the top of my head, I could feel my bones in my nose just grind against each other.
I couldn’t breathe out of my nose. I had to keep breathing out of my mouth and it was tough. It was tough in there. It was tough. If you watch the film, there are a couple times that we’re inside in exchanges and you can see my face just grimacing in pain.
Lem Satterfield: Okay. I just have two more questions for you. Stiverne said that obviously you were a known quality. You had some highly televised fights, including the two losses to Adamek and Klitschko. He said he felt like he was the underdog going into the last fight. Was there any element of surprise on your part – I mean, not to take anything away from his performance – but was there any element of underestimating him at all?
Chris Arreola: Not underestimating him, because I knew the kind of fighter he was, and I wasn’t thinking because of his professional career. I always say the amateur career is a very important part of a boxer’s record, and that’s one thing that I looked at. He had extensive amateur experience, international, experience representing this country, and that’s the main thing. The thing that I did is I didn’t underestimate him, but I thought of myself like King Ding-a-Ling, like my crap didn’t stink, and I don’t need to train as hard as he did because my character was just- my God-given talent would just cruise me by the fight or get me by whatever obstacle I would have to overcome.
That’s what happened. I believed too much in myself and my God-given talent instead of putting in the work that I was supposed to put in, because I knew who I was fighting. I knew that the person who I was fighting is a very good fighter, but I just always just thought that my talent was just that much more superior.