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Arreola looks for redemption

Story by Felipe Leon
Photo by Chris Cozzone

After 27 professional fights in which heavyweight Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola (28-1, 25KO) had his hand raised, he found himself in a bad dream when he came up short in his challenge of Vitali Klitschko late last year for the WBC title and thus falling short in his bid to become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent, a fact that contributed to his much publicized tear-filled reaction after the bout.

"It had everything to do with it, it was a big let down," the 29-year-old Arreola stated. "I let myself down but also my fans, and that was something I never want to do."

"There was a lot more that I could have done" Arreola says regarding his performance against the big man at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, in September of last year. "I think that if given the chance to rematch with Vitali Klitschko, I would come out with my hand raised. There were times that I could have pulled the trigger and I didn't."

Now Arreola of Riverside, CA, will once again fight in front of his hometown fans when he faces the two-time world champion Tomasz Adamek (40-1, 27KO) of Jersey City, New Jersey by way of Zywiec, Poland, this Saturday night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. The twelve round main event will be for the IBF international heavyweight title which Adamek holds and will be broadcast live by HBO.

The 33-year-old Adamek began his career eleven years ago as a light heavyweight where he captured the WBC strap in '06 and the cruiserweight IBF title two years later over Steve "U.S.S." Cunningham. Adamek surprisingly trekked north to the heavyweight division and promptly defeated his countryman Andrew Golota and then Jason Estrada before the end of 2009.

Adamek, who like Arreola, only has a one loss in his near perfect record, dropped a unanimous decision to Chad Dawson in his second defense of the WBC light heavyweight title in early '07. The fact that a blueprint in how to defeat Adamek exist is of no consequence for Arreola.

"I have never seen the Dawson fight. First of all, Dawson is a lefty and I am not," Arreola explains. "I would never try to beat a fighter with trickery. I haven't seen any of his fights at light heavyweight or cruiserweight. I have seen his fights against Estrada and Golota and I suspect that is the way he is going to fight me. He is going to stick and move. My job is to fight my fight and make him bang with me."

In Arreola, Adamek will face a young proven heavyweight in his prime. Many would say that the bout is a lose-lose situation for Arreola since if he defeats Adamek, critics will say the Polish star never belonged in the division while if he loses, it will raise questions about Arreola that perhaps can not be answered.

"Why not? He is a proven champion," the gregarious Arreola responded when asked why he chose Adamek as his next opponent. "It doesn't matter what you do, there is always going to be somebody talking shit. I could knock out one of the Klitschko's and the nay sayers will say that it was a lucky punch. The only thing you can say about me is that I am fat but I am an exciting fighter so the only thing you can say is that I am out of shape but this is boxing not body building, it has nothing to do with how your body looks and I have never been out of breath in one of my fights."

Arreola's weight in a sense has been his Achilles' heel which many believe contributed to not only his loss to Klitschko but also to a number of sub-par performances so now "The Nightmare" is well aware that the amount he tips the scale will have much to do with the outcome of the bout.

"My weight is very important and I am going to show it on Thursday," he said of the official weigh-in. "I have been working my butt off in the gym and have had some great sparring with guys like Travis Kauffman, Ashanti Jordan and Fres Oquendo."

If Arreola is to take advantage of what he feels is his biggest weapon against Adamek, a 230-240 lbs. Arreola must step into the ring on Saturday night.

"My jab is going to be my best tool in my arsenal, it is going to be very important and I need to establish it early," Arreola said confidently. "I am going to pop him on the mouth early on so he knows its there. Catching up to him will be my biggest challenge but I know I will and I see the bout ending with an eight or ninth round knockout."

It is no secret that both Arreola and Adamek enjoy passionate followings in their hometown and surrounding areas as it was proven last year at both the Staples Center in L.A. and the the Prudential Center in Newark respectively. Although Arreola will be lacing up the gloves and climbing into the ring in front of a hometown crowd, the southern California native, who is known to frequent the majority of boxing events in the area, does not believe it is an advantage for him.

"It doesn't matter because his fans or my fans can't come in the ring and fight for us so it doesn't matter if the fight takes place here or in New Jersey," Arreola stated. "I would think that the fans here are going to motivate him because they are going to boo him, at least that would motivate me if we were fighting in New Jersey and they booed me."

"I want the fans here to show that we are true boxing fans, that we can be marketed to. I expect them to show him the respect he deserves as a fighter and I want them to show that we want the big events and can come out in droves."

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