Chris Arreola - "I Want The Fight To Be A Classic"
Exclusive Interview by James Slater - One of 2009's most anticipated fights comes on September 26th in Los Angeles, as WBC heavyweight ruler Vitali Klitschko squares up with unbeaten Mexican/American challenger Chris Arreola. Promising to be a great battle of big punching warriors, the title fight has sure got the fans (and the media) buzzing.
Article posted on 20.08.2009
28-year-old Arreola, nicknamed, of course, "The Nightmare" is anticipating an "all out war" next month, and he is sure he will be the man left standing when all the smoke clears.
Very kindly taking time out to speak with me earlier today from his San Fernando Valley training camp, the 27-0(24) big man had the following answers to my questions..
James Slater: It's a pleasure to speak with you, sir, as always. Just to start off, how has training been going so far? I know you've only been in camp for a week or so.
Chris Arreola: My pleasure. It's been going good, man. Darryl, my conditioning coach, has been putting me through it and my trainer, Henry, has also been kicking my butt in the gym, so it's all coming together.
J.S: Have you started sparring yet?
C.A: Oh, sure. I'm in my second week of sparring already.
J.S: And who have you been working with?
C.A: At the moment it's Cisse Salif, and we're going to get Lance Whitaker and then either Tye Fields or Michael Grant.
J.S: Obviously big guys with height then, to emulate Vitali?
C.A: Of course, yeah.
J.S: And you're out at San Fernando Valley now, right?
C.A: Yeah, I'm out in San Fernando and I love it here. It's really nice here - so much better than Big Bear. I hate Big Bear!
J.S: We all saw the press conference last week, when you and Viltali came face-to-face. Was that the first time you'd met him up close?
C.A: No. I met him when I'd had about three or four fights. I doubt he even remembers it, but it was back in LA when I was sparring with his brother.
J.S: When you sized him up last week, so to speak, did you have any initial thoughts, like he's taller or shorter than you thought he'd be?
C.A: He was actually a little smaller than I thought. You build up this image of him in your head, of him being like out of Rocky, you know, Ivan Drago. But he's not that big really. But regardless of that, I've still got to chop him down to my size in the ring.
J.S: A lot of fans liked how you and Vitali were both gentlemen at the press conference - you both showed each other a lot of respect. There's never any trash talk from you, is there?
C.A: Boxing is a gentleman's sport. Some people need to talk trash to get themselves mentally up for the fight. I don't need to do that. I knew Vitali would be a gentleman also. We talk business in the ring, that's all.
J.S: The fans are really buzzing about this fight, and are happy that the heavyweight division has a great fight to look forward to at last. Are you feeling any different in yourself? I mean, I know you're massively motivated, but do you feel anything else differently? Are there even any nerves?
C.A: No. I have no nerves at all. I am hugely motivated for the fight, but I'm not scared, I'm not intimidated. I'm happy about this fight. I'm looking forward to taking the bull by the horns. I won't pay any attention, really, when I enter the ring and all the lights and the cameras are on me. I'm happy to be getting the opportunity to put heavyweight boxing back on the map.
J.S: Ring magazine are excited about this fight. They said that Chris Arreola may not win, but he will give it everything he has trying. I know you don't want to hear about people saying you'll lose, but even Ring are pumped about this fight, does that make you feel good?
C.A: I think it's good that this fight has given people something to talk about. But, you know, I'm coming to win. I will win.
J.S: It's great that the fight got made, and seemingly so easily. We know what happened over here in the UK with David Haye Vs. Klitschko becoming a farce. Fans are glad that this fight is actually happening!
C.A: I'm here to fight. That's what it's all about and what we're [boxers] here for. People pay to see us fight, they pay to see action. They sit down with their popcorn or whatever and they want to be entertained. So I always want to fight, whoever it's against. I just fight, man.
J.S: Everyone talks about Vitali's long reach and his good left jab. Is that your main concern, his jab?
C.A: Yes, of course his jab is a concern, but his right hand in my main concern - the way he drops that hammer down. The jab sets up his right. So, of course, we have to take his left jab away from him, and that will leave him with nothing. I have to get inside.
J.S: As good as he is, Vitali is 38 and he has to go some time. Do you think it will be against you?
C.A: Well, nowadays, 38 is nothing really. Age doesn't really come into it today, look at Bernard Hopkins. So age is not a factor. He's [Vitali] still a warrior and I have to fight him like he's a young man.
J.S: Have you got your tactics firmly in your head? Do you have a mental picture of how you see yourself fighting against Vitali?
C.A: Yeah, I know I have to get inside. That's most important. And I've got to apply pressure, constant pressure. I have to hit his arms, his chest, his head, his belly - I have to just make sure I hit him everywhere I can. I have to make it my fight. And of course, I have to try some new things, like head movement, side steps and angles.
J.S: Most people are expecting a great action fight. Do you expect a really brutal fight? A war?
C.A: I'm hoping it will be. I really am. I want an all out war. I hope this fight is a classic, plain and simple.
J.S: Well, it's been great speaking with you once again, Chris. I really wish you all the best for September, and hopefully the next time I speak with you you will be the heavyweight champion of the world!
C.A: Thank you. I'm always happy to do interviews.
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