Mexican/American warrior Chris Arreola, 37-5-1(32) admits the grind of the gym is getting tougher, that he is “sore” on a morning when he never used to be. That said, the 37 year old is currently working hard ahead of his must-win fight with the unbeaten and somewhat unknown Jean Pierre Augustin, who Arreola will face on the under-card of the big Errol Spence/Mikey Garcia Card on March 16th.
And when he looks forward to his fight with the Haitian, Arreola says he is “going to take his head off.” The veteran says he is on his final run and that if he doesn’t get the win next month, or even if he looks bad, he will call it a career. But Arreola is convinced he can still achieve his dream of winning a world heavyweight title.
Here, “The Nightmare” speaks with ESB:
Q: How much have you seen of Augustin?
Chris Arreola: “I’ve seen some. I do know he’s a lefty, and a crafty mover. He’ll be trying to outbox me, throwing one or two punches and then getting out of the way. So I know I have to be on his ass, putting pressure in him, educated pressure. I have to be working behind a jab. I think he’ll be trying to throw a lot of check-hooks, out of the southpaw stance.”
Q: He says we should all get ready for a “big surprise,” that he will shock you.
C.A: “Well, he can say that but he will have a rude awakening. You know, there is no script to this. I know he’s acted in some films, some movies, but this has no script – this fight is for real. I respect him, but I’m gonna take his head off. He looks at me as a gatekeeper but he won’t get past me. I took some time off after the [Deontay] Wilder fight and I was ready to retire. I said to Al [Haymon], ‘get me a fight this year or I retire.’ The win I got (on December 1st, a stoppage over Maurenzo Smith), I didn’t look too good – they told me I’d be on much earlier, but I had to wait and I ended up fighting the guy at close to midnight, when I was tired and drained – but that got my blood pumping again. I want to become world champion before I call it a day. Honestly, if I lose this fight, or even if I look bad, I’ll retire. But I have the desire again, and I’ve got it bad – I really do want to be champion. This is my last run.
“It’s a cliché, but I’ll fight any of the champions out there, I don’t care which one. I’m not fighting for the money, I am comfortable, not rich, but comfortable, and now it’s all about me winning a title. This is it, man. And I absolutely promise you, he [Augustin] had better be ready, because I’m working hard.”
Q: Who is the best of the current heavyweight champions?
C.A: “ I think a fight between me and Anthony Joshua would be amazing. AJ, he fights a little like [Mike] Tyson. He’s a good fighter, but I think he fights scared. Wilder, he doesn’t fight scared at all. I do think AJ fights like a scared fighter, he does look timid to me. But again, any of the champions, I would fight them.”
Q: Does Jarrell Miller give AJ a rough night?
C.A: “I know he’ll try and use his weight and push AJ back – that’s what he has to do. But I think AJ will jab him and keep him on the outside. I don’t see a KO or a stoppage, I think Joshua will win by a decision.”
Q: At age 37, and assuming you get the win on March 16th, how long do you feel you have left in the sport?
C.A: “Just a couple of years. Time waits for no man. Honestly, I feel sore, when I never used to. In the morning, I ache and I think, ‘Oh, I gotta go to the gym again!’ But I’m putting in all the work for this, my last run. I’ll always stick around boxing, even when I do retire; I think I’ve earned that right. I’d like to be an announcer, but I’m also looking at launching a small YouTube channel, where I talk about boxing of course, but also about life and lots of stuff. But right now, I’m really looking forward to this fight and I’m looking forward to taking care of business. This guy is in my way right now.”