Thank you. And thank you all for joining us on the PBC on FOX Wilder vs. Arreola conference call. This show will be on July 16 at the Legacy Arena at the BJCC in Birmingham, Alabama. The start time on FOX is 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT
The opening bout on FOX is a terrific one. It’s undefeated 21-0 U.S. Army vet Sammy Vasquez against Felix Diaz, former Dominican Olympian. Excellent matchup in the welterweight division.
And then the heavyweight championship of the world where Deontay Wilder will be defending his WBC title against Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. This wasn’t the fight, obviously, that Deontay had begun training for, the one we anticipated. In some ways, that makes it all the more dangerous and sort of leaves a lot of questions, because Chris Arreola never expected to be getting the shot at a heavyweight title on July 16; experienced heavyweight; a rugged, strong, big guy that’s dangerous and had some ups and downs in his career.
I think Chris knows that this is his opportunity and his big chance. Yo introduce Chris to say a few words, the Goossens and the Browns have worked with Chris Arreola throughout his career. And it’s my pleasure to introduce Brittany Goossen Brown.
Brittany Goossen Brown
Thank you, Lou. It has been our pleasure to have promoted Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola since he turned professional over 12 years ago. As long as I’ve known him, it has always been his dream to become the first Mexican heavyweight world champion and wear that green belt.
Saturday, July 16 will be Chris’s third attempt to fulfill his dreams. And he will not let this opportunity pass him by.
We’d like to thank FOX and FOX Deportes, the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama and everyone at DiBella Entertainment for their help in this promotion.
Without further ado, I’m honored to pass it over to my friend, Chris Arreola. Chris, do you want to go ahead and make an opening statement?
Yeah, well, this is my third opportunity and yeah, I’ve been with the Goossen’s for a very long time. Basically since the beginning of my career, it has been just a long road, man. I’ve been working hard. I’ve been working very hard to win this title. I can’t let this opportunity slip away, man. I respect Deontay. But like I said, once the bell rings, it’s time to go fight and it’s time to get that title, man.
I want that title. I want it more than anything. I’ve been working my ass off over in San Diego. I’ve got to make the best out of this opportunity.
Thank you, Chris. Just before I introduce Deontay to say a few words, I just want to note that Chris’s trainer Henry Ramirez will be on the line when we open up to questions and so will Jay Deas, Deontay’s trainer and co-manager. So those gentlemen will be on the line if you want to ask them any questions when you’re asking Chris and Deontay.
It’s my pleasure to promote the WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World. I think one of the signs of a true professional and a real champion is to be able to roll with the punches, literally and figuratively. This has been a period where it’s been hard for Deontay. He’s had to roll with a lot of punches and a lot of things that were outside of his control.
July 16 he is putting the heavyweight title on the line again against the very, very tough customer who knows it’s his last chance. So this is a big night for Deontay Wilder and his fans.
It’s my pleasure to introduce the WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World, one of the most charismatic, hard punching and most approachable heavyweight champions we’ve had in a long time, Deontay Wilder.
How are you guys doing? Less than a week away from the fight. I’m getting excited. I’m always excited to fight. I was born to do this. The closer it gets, the more eager and excited I’ve become, ready to get in the ring and do what I love to do; and that’s knock out people. I’ve been blessed with a God-given power.
I don’t have to work out a day in my life and I wake up in shape, just God given. Right there and I thank him for that. I’m just ready to put on another show for my – for my city, for my state of Alabama. We came a long way with first off going to the Olympics and then getting a commission to have professional bouts here and bringing attention to the sweet sport of boxing and to my state and we’re still climbing.
It’s been a long process. It’s been a strong and long days. But we’re here and we’re making – people here, they yearn for win the next fight. We want to see the next fight. We want to see the next championship fight. I bless people over and over again to see many shows here throughout the state of Alabama. And it became my thing now.
I’m looking forward to the BJCC with fans all over the world are going to be, not just Alabama. It’s going to my fans. It’s going to be Chris’ fans. It’s going to be fans all over the world that love boxing that’s going to attend. And that’s what it’s all about. All levels of classes coming together, seeing a great event come July the 16th.
And I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait. I need a stress reliever because I’ve been under so much stress. So I need something to hit. I can’t wait until July the 16th to get this stress relief off me.
Thank you, Deontay. Once again, we want a big audience for PBC on FOX, but there are plenty affordable seats available at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham at the BJCC. So anybody who is drivable from Birmingham or anybody that can get on a plane, a Chris Arreola fan, come on down to Birmingham. And it’s going to be a great event.
Chris, did you learn anything in the Klitschko fight that might help you get inside on Deontay?
The main thing is I got to move my head, man. Vitali Klitschko clobbered me with jabs left and right. I believe he threw the most punches he had thrown in his career against me, and that’s because I just kept coming with the pressure. And the thing about it, I just got to be a lot smarter and I got to be more athletic about it because Deontay is more athletic fighter than Klitschko is, a lot more athletic. And he moves a whole lot better around the ring.
Klitschko was more methodical in nature. He just moves just a tad bit. He doesn’t waste any energy. I just got to try to keep Deontay on his heels, and that’s going to be a big task in itself. And just come hard behind the jab and not get caught with that dangerous right hand he has.
How close have you been paying attention to the legal battle between your team and Povetkin’s? And has there all been in any way, shape or form any kind of distraction as you prepare for your own fight that was put together because of the cancellation?
I haven’t been on a close watch of it. I’ve definitely been following it. It’s ridiculous, if you ask me. I’ve got served papers and everything. I’m not letting it knock me off my game, my focus. It’s just part of life, you know what I mean. I’ve been through worse situations in life. It’s just a bad storm – another storm that I have to weather in my life.
My skin is tough. That’s in all aspects of life, no matter what. I go through things to have a strong testimony because I know that somebody may, throughout my year, somebody may go through the same thing and I can give them advice on how to do it.
So right now, this is just a test for a strong testimony in the end of my life. So with that being said, I’m very focused. I’m always focused. When you’re in the hurt business, you have no choice but to stay focused on the test that lies at hand because if you’re not focused, you can get knocked out. No one wants to feel what it feels like to be knocked out, wake up in the hospital, don’t know what happened.
You never want to be that guy that didn’t even know the end of the round has ended because you’re dazed or you’re unconscious.
I train hard. I meditate. I visualize what I want to do and I go get the job done. This is a tough job to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World because everybody wants what you have. Everybody trying to get it and you’re trying to keep it.
As far as I’m concerned my future is bright.
Do you have to be careful of a desperate opponent?
Oh, most definitely. It’s just like a rabbit. The rabbit can be soft and sweet all you want, but you push him in a corner, he’s going to fight. So I think this is the corner for Chris Arreola. This is like the corner of his career. I’m always blessing people, though. I’ll bless him again with another opportunity.
Of course, people say who deserves this or who’s supposed to deserve that. But who are people to say who deserved anything? Everybody – sometimes chances come around more than twice, and this is his third time. I don’t believe in luck. But he’s been blessed with a third opportunity. If I was him, I would take it very seriously.
All the things that I’ve done in the past that didn’t make me susceptible in my future, I would change. I would definitely – it’s too late to change it now, but I’m just saying in preparation for this fight, that’s what the mentality would have been for me given that this is my last opportunity to eat because we chose careers like I kept saying, no matter what people say, the guy comes to fight. And that’s what we were looking for, for a short notice.
A lot of people going make excuses. After he get beat, he may make an excuse. But you know what? We know that he’s going to bring a great fight. He was the perfect person for this situation that we had. And to bring it to – and my people deserve a great fight. The fans deserve a great fight, no matter who they said they could have been. Everybody got an opinion.
I truly think at the end of this fight people are going to say, yeah, that was a great fight for it to be a short-notice fight. So I’m looking forward to it.
Do you feel very lucky to have gotten this opportunity? And what’s your view of whether or not you’re worthy of having this opportunity?
Do I deserve this title shot? No, I don’t think I do. But since I don’t deserve it, I’m doing everything to win, just like Deontay said. Everything that I didn’t do in the past, I’m doing. Everything that I wasn’t supposed to do, I’m not doing. So I’m doing everything I possibly can to win this fight. Everything. Everything. I got to leave everything in the ring. I got to leave everything out there, man. Yes, my back is against the wall. This is my last title shot. And I have to bring it. I have to make this a dog fight, plain and simple.
Can you just tell me what was your reaction when you got the offer on the short notice? And what kind of condition were you in at that point because it was relatively short notice for a heavyweight title fight?
Let’s go. That’s all I said. Let’s do it. You know what, man, when a title shot comes, you don’t turn it down, period, because it’s going to come back around again. What kind of shape was I in? In decent shape. I had broken my ankle. What’s a broken ankle? It’s nothing.
So I got this shot. Let’s go. Let’s do it. Let’s get in training. Let’s make this happen. I respect Deontay and thank you for giving me this opportunity. The main thing is, I’m coming for the win. I’m not just coming to show up. I’m not coming just to get paid. That’s not me. I’m not that guy that comes to get paid.
I’m coming for that title. I’m coming for that win. I don’t even know what I’m getting paid for this. I don’t even know. It wasn’t even told to me. I don’t care. Money is not the part. My part is I want to win this fight. That’s the God honest truth.
Hey, Henry, I’m wondering if you could speak to his conditioning for this fight, especially given the short notice of the bout.
Well, you know, what did you say. We were preparing – well, we had a fight April 30. Chris fractured his ankle in early March, and he’d been cleared for a few weeks already. You know, he had done some light training. We got the call, I believe, right around May 16 or 17. Was nothing guaranteed. We were just kind of told you might get this fight. You might want to start getting ready.
And when we actually got the call that it was officially happening, even though it wasn’t announced; it was pretty much Memorial weekend. But we had already started training, you know, just having the heads up that we may get the fight.
It’s been great. We’re here in San Diego. There is a thing that Chris always – when we get him away from Riverside, it gives us the best chance to win. He’s done well here. He’s working with conditioning coach BB Hudson, also. We’ve had a good camp. Great sparring. He’s ready to go. We’re ready to fight today.
Deontay, do you have plans to meet with the WBC later this month to discuss the whole drug test situation?
First off, right now it’s me and Chris Arreola. All the other legal stuff, that can take a hold until after. This is what’s next right now. This is what I’m focused on. I’m not really focused on the legal side of everything. I got a great team. I trust in my team. I’m just sitting and waiting for that moment where Povetkin have his day as well, too.
At this point in time, my mind is we’re a week or so days away from me fighting, defending my title. With that being said, my whole mentality and focus is on July the 16th, Deontay Wilder versus Chris Arreola.
We have lawyers obviously as do Povetkin’s people. We’re having conversations right now with theW BC about an opportunity literally to be able to do the same thing Povetkin’s people did. But that’s not for Deontay to be worried about right now. There is a fight on the 16th. That’s where everyone’s attention is. The rest of that stuff is going to take care of itself.
But frankly, the WBC, we respect their process and we want to get our points across. But this is ultimately going to be decided in the U.S. courts in the southern district of New York where there are lawsuits pending. So this is a legal matter. It’s nothing that the fighters are worried about right now.
And our – we’re totally focused on the big event on July 16 in Birmingham.
Povetkin is the last thing on my mind at least until we get through a big event a week from Saturday. Right now I’m not thinking about and I’m sure Deontay is not thinking about and I know Chris is not thinking about Povetkin.
Mitch Abramson: You mentioned before that you don’t deserve a title shot. Can you just, I guess, explain what you meant by that and just, you know, how you’ve been able to prepare yourself, I guess, with that type of mindset going into the fight?
Chris how do you view the title shot? And if you actually really believe that you don’t deserve this shot?
I understand the situation. I understand everything. Let’s be honest, man. Do I deserve it? Come on. No. But that being said, that means that I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. That’s my mentality. I’m coming in there to win this fight. I’m coming in here to upset Mr. Wilder. That’s my mentality. My mentality is to win, period.
There are those kind of fighters that just go in to get paid. That’s not me, man. I have never been that guy. If people have seen me fight, I don’t come in to get paid. I come in there to win. I’ve been preparing to win this fight. I’m preparing to take this title. I’m preparing for everything.
So all those legal things, all that can be thrown out the window when I win this title fight. You know, I’m here to win. There is no losing. That’s it. I’m training to win. I’m training to beat Wilder. He has his legal shit. I’m sorry about that. But I’m here to win. I’m here to win this fight. I’m here to win this title.
Lou, just overall, do you feel like PEDs is still a real serious problem in the sport of boxing?
Well, it’s an incredible problem. It’s a huge problem. It’s a problem that’s all over the world. You know, it’s one thing when a guy is using PEDs and he is hitting a baseball. It’s another thing when a guy is taking PEDs and getting into the ring to hit somebody in the head with his fists.
Chris made reference to a failed marijuana test, and I’m not advocating weed or whatever, but it’s sort of a disgrace that there is more testing nationally and across the board for marijuana and suspensions of fighters for marijuana than there are substantive tests for PED.
Cheating is not okay. PEDs are dangerous. They are potentially putting a fighter’s health and safety and life at risk. I could tell you Deontay’s first reaction about when everything broke was he didn’t really care. He had prepared himself and he was going to beat the hell out of Povetkin regardless of any failed drug test.
I think that when everything was taken into consideration, you don’t get in the ring when you’re standing there as a man with your two fists and the other guys got a weapon in his fists. And, yeah, I think it’s a real problem. I think there should be zero tolerance for performance-enhancing drugs and national standards in this country and across the board where drug testing is enforced and cheaters are punished severely.
On top of that, is there anything that you’d like to see implemented or changed, in particular?
I’d like to see across the board uniform testing with some national body, but not where a fighter has to go in there and say, okay, I’m going to voluntarily do this or that or ratings organization has to get involved, and I commend the WBC. I think that we’re very proud of the green belt and defending it. And the WBC has taken a strong stand against performance-enhancing drugs.
It has to be a problem that’s policed by all state athletic commissions and perhaps even with a federal law that mandates uniform standards for PED testing throughout the country. And then obviously there are problems with foreign countries where this type of cheating is par for the course, and that’s not okay. That has to be addressed, too.
In response to your question, it’s a very serious issue and one that needs to be addressed in the future. What happened to Deontay here and how he had to refocus, and this wasn’t fair. Cheating is never fair, but particularly when you are using performance-enhancing drugs, you’re endangering potentially your opponent and putting the health and safety of the people in your sport at risk, and that’s unacceptable.
Deontay, do you expect this to really start fast in a real action-packed way in the first round?
Actually, I do. Like I said, I do believe that Chris is going to be aggressive and the first couple of rounds is going to come. Like he said, their game plan is to pressure me and to get inside and all those good things and stuff. I think it’s going to start out good and action packed.
I know about every style there is to face, especially pressure fighters because a lot of fighters feel the remedy in beating Deontay Wilder is to pressure him. Over and over again, I proved to everybody that I’m the best. I’m the best heavyweight in the world going on my back of my heels. People should have been seen that years ago.
I do feel like it’s going to be a fight or flight from the first round to the end of the round it may be. You know, so I’m looking forward to it. That’s one of the reasons why. Another reason why I keep saying we chose Chris. We can go on and on about different fighters or go down the list of who is available, who could have been a potential.
I really feel in my heart that we chose the right person. He’s never been in a bad fight. So when you get two fighters that fight with their heart that do it for the legacy and not really for the money because the money is a part of it. It’s just like when you go out and take pictures, it’s part of the business, part of the game. The money’s part of it.
When you get two warriors that’s fighting for the legacy of it, it’s made for great boxing for sure. I’m looking forward to the action packed, whether it’s from the 1st round to the 12th. I’m already prepared for anything.
How much during the times when you’re immediately preparing for the fight in the last couple of weeks do you focus on the news, the other news about Povetkin, the WBC, other stories in the heavyweight division? Or do you just sort of cut all that stuff out and just think about the fight ahead of you?
I just deal with it like I deal with life. If anybody know me personally, they’ll tell you like Deontay is the most laidback, cool, down to earth person ever. I really don’t read into blogs and go look for things. If anything has been said about me or have been written about me, it’s always brought to my attention. I don’t never go on the Internet to Google my name or see what pops up or anything like that.
If a lot of things have been going on, I’m out of the loop of because I don’t really pay attention, especially when it’s time to fight. Because only a fighter would know how serious it is to get up in the ring and take some punches to the head and keep in mind your head is not meant to be hit in the first place. But we’re the only crazy people that get up in this ring and do it. So we do it because we love to do it.
With that being said, when my life is on the line, when I’m up to get in there, I take this seriously anything because in this day I got family support. I got kids that really love their dad. That’s all the motivation that I need to do what I got to do.
The only reason I was in this sport, for one reason. That was for my 11-year-old. That was my daughter that was born with spina bifida. If it wasn’t for her, man, you all would have never heard of me, not in boxing. I take this seriously. And that’s all the motivation for me to zone out what’s going on in my personal life and focus on what’s going on right now in my life. And right now it’s July the 16th. I can’t wait.
Chris do you just sort of have blinders on and just focusing between now and the 16th on this fight?
See, nobody is talking about me. Nobody is saying anything about me. So there is nothing for me to look at. Everyone’s focus is on Deontay Wilder, on him and his situation with Povetkin and about Deontay already talking about fighting Joshua or Fury.
Ain’t nobody talking about me. Nobody is saying anything about me. All they say is bad things, so why in the hell am I even going to look at it? I have enough bad stuff being said about me by Henry. I have enough stuff being said to me by my wife. I don’t need to read anymore. That’s all the negative things I need.
I’m good. I’m all right. I don’t read into that stuff. My job is to work on July 16. My job is to try to shock the world on July 16. I don’t care what anybody says. They don’t live my life. They don’t even throw punches. They probably never got punched in their life. For them to be talking about me, I’m like, eh, whatever.
With this fight on FOX on a Saturday night live primetime and all that, will this be your biggest showcase, probably your biggest television audience?
Brother, I fought everywhere. I fought on Showtime. I fought on every network probably. So me fighting on FOX, honestly, thank you FOX for putting us on. I fought against Klitschko and it got one of the highest numbers.
When I fought with Stiverne on ESPN, I got one of the highest numbers. Like I said, no one can come in the ring. Listen. It’s only going to be me and Deontay. That’s the thing. That’s the thing about boxing I love so much is it’s a gentlemen sport.
We could talk about this stuff all we want. We could say everything we want. But at the end of the day, it’s just me and Deontay. Then the bell’s going to ring. Then the last bell is going to ring. And we’re going to hug it out like nothing happened. That’s what I love about boxing, man.
Anybody that has two hands has an opportunity. All it takes it one punch to knock somebody out. Just one punch. I could be losing the whole fight and just hit him with one punch that makes him go to sleep. It could go vice versa. That’s the way it happened to me against Stiverne. And that’s the way boxing is. I have no animosity or nothing like that. It’s a sport and I love this sport.
The one thing that’s good that came out of the Povetkin situation is that you’re getting to go back home to Alabama to fight. Talk about what that means to you to fight in your home state like that.
It’s definitely a good feeling, especially when you just – you just trained your ass off for months and months. You even travel to another country. And you continue your training there. And then when you feel – the week of the fight you travel and all that hard work, man, it just goes in vain. It really hurt my heart to the fullest because of me being in love with this sport and never really thought of something would happen to me like that. I never thought about that.
You want to fight, you’re going to fight fair and square. But, one of the decisions that we made why we want to stay home because of all that traveling because of working so hard for nothing. That takes a toll on just a person itself to travel so many miles. I’m the fighter and it stressed me out. Even with my team, the ones that even get in the ring. Everybody on my whole team – everybody was drained from that situation. I don’t wish that situation on no fighter.
For us to make a decision to stay home was the perfect choice because I didn’t even want to touch another plane. I’m staying at home. We’re going to train. We’re going to do everything here. That’s why we made the decision to come back to Birmingham and have the fight. People always – every time they see me, when the next one? Every time you get bigger and bigger and bigger.
This is going to be a mega fight. A lot of fans are going to be there, a sold-out crowd for sure. And the undercard is going to be great as well, too. You know, it’s going to be a fun environment and an action-packed fight.
Like I said, the fans are definitely going to enjoy this fight. It’s easy to say it’s special opinion now because you don’t understand how it’s going to be. Even in recent fights, like at my fight with Eric Molina or my fight with Johann Duhaupaus.
A lot of people like they just degraded them. And they called them bums and who are they. They never heard of them. This is people, though. Because if there was a price on you for a special opinion, a lot of people wouldn’t say nothing because they couldn’t afford it.
With that being said, people just have to wait and see things. They just can’t all jump because he didn’t do this; he didn’t do this. It doesn’t matter. This is the fight. You just never know what can happen.
And I think it’s really going to be a great fight and it’s going to be a win for boxing and a win for the fans of boxing. And it’s going to be a win for my state. Like I said before, I can’t wait. It’s less than a week-and-a-half away. It’s almost here, man. So I’m excited.
Thanks, you mentioned an undercard, Deontay, a few minutes ago. There is going to be a tremendous amount of talent on this undercard from up and coming star Erickson Lubin to heavyweight Gerald Washington to Ryan Martin and a load of young kids from the Alabama area. It’s going to be a great card from beginning to end.
Again, the co-feature of Sammy Vasquez versus Felix Diaz is a terrific matchup. PBC on FOX 8:00 pm Eastern time, 5:00 pm Pacific time. The Legacy Arena at the BJCC. We hope people come out, buy tickets. I think it’s going to be a tremendous crowd.