Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola will pursue his sixth straight win and his third consecutive stoppage when he meets Rafael Butler on Nov. 5 in Leon, Mexico.
If successful, the 6-foot-4 Arreola (33-2, 28 KOs) could earn a shot against WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) — assuming Klitschko gets beyond what is expected to be a relatively easy defense of his belts against former cruiserweight titleholder Jean Marc Mormeck (36-4, 22 KOs).
“Right now, we’re concentrating on just getting Chris to his top, peak form, and once that happens, which I believe will be early in the first quarter of next year, then there’s no one that he wouldn’t fight,” said promoter Dan Goossen.
“Obviously, he’s not staying in the gym and taking these fights just to be doing it. He’s doing this for a purpose, and the purpose is to win that heavyweight world championship.”
The 27-year-old Butler has lost three straight fights, including the past two by knockouts in the first and sixth rounds against David Price and Tye Fields.
“I know a lot about Rafael. He’s a big guy at about 6-3 or 6-4, and he comes in about 280,” said Arreola’s trainer, Henry Ramirez. “Looks the part, great physique, but no f–king chin. And you can say that — I don’t care.”
Klitschko’s trainer, Manny Steward, told RingTV.com that he and Klitschko would have preferred to face Arreola rather than Mormeck, a winner of three straight heavyweight bouts but still small for the division at under six feet tall and fighting at around 215 pounds. The 35-year-old Klitschko stands 6-foot-6 and fights at around 245.
Steward had been impressed with Arreola given his commitment to weight-loss and training under Ramirez. Arreola has steadily dropped weight, tipping the scales at 236 pounds for each of his past two fights.
Arreola weighed 251 and 250 during his only losses — a 10th-round knockout by 40-year-old WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs) in September 2009, and a majority decision to Tomasz Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) in April of last year.
“Wladimir wanted to fight Arreola this fight here. That was his dream after the Haye fight to come back to America and to re-connect. But I talked to Arreola’s trainer, Henry Ramirez, and he said that they don’t want to be anywhere near Wladimir until 2012,” said Steward.
“So we had to go with this Mormeck, because nobody else wanted to fight Wladimir. So this is a stay-busy fight in December, but the real goal is to get Arreola probably in the first part of next year.”
“Emanuel and I did speak in Las Vegas, absolutely. After this fight, we would like to fight Klitschko. Emanuel is adamant that he wants the fight. So do we. But on the business aspect of it, the fight was never offered to us and nobody ever came to us and said the Klitschko fight could be in December,” said Ramirez.
“There was talk about it, but we never sat down and talked about it. I know that it’s a fight that he wants and it’s a fight that we want. Chris has an opponent, Wladimir has an opponent. Obviously, them fighting pretty close to each other, if everything works out, that would be great. But it’s a lot more than just the trainers wanting to fight. It’s a lot more complicated than that.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]