Saturday, December 09, 2023  |



Chris Arreola keeps world title aspirations alive

Fighters Network
Chris Arreola (R) tags Curtis Harper during their 8-round heavyweight bout on March 13, 2015, in Ontario, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Chris Arreola (R) tags Curtis Harper during their 8-round heavyweight bout on March 13, 2015, in Ontario, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

Chris Arreola has come close to the scent of success before.

Although he’s fallen short in world title fights against Vitali Klitschko and Bermane Stiverne, “The Nightmare” has made a decent living off in the sport of boxing. One can argue that he can take the spoils of his labor and retire at the age of 34 as a happily married man with a wife and two kids.

But the hard-hitting Southern Californian isn’t even thinking about retirement. Despite his last two performances against unheralded competition being, in his own words, subpar, Arreola is ready to enter the third chapter of his career. And with Wladimir Klitschko recent loss to Tyson Fury, Arreola sees the landscape of the heavyweight division wide open and ripe for the taking.

“I haven’t done enough in the sport and I haven’t become a champion yet,” Arreola (36-4-1, 31 knockouts) told as he prepares for his Dec. 12 bout against Travis Kauffman. “I’m in the game to be a champion. I don’t need all the accolades. That’s why this third time is a charm and I’m going to give it my all.”

Arreola’s isn’t too upset how his previous opportunities to win a world title have gone. He says that Klitschko was the better man and Stiverne caught him with a punch that he wasn’t ready for. That’s not reason enough for him to be down own himself.

“I can accept a loss like that where you get caught by a punch that you don’t see coming,” Arreola said. “But if he were to kick my ass from pillar to post I would have retired from the sport.”

The third chapter of Arreola’s career is fueled by not only world title aspirations but by his 13-year-old daughter and 8-month old son. For them, he has to prove that hard work and dedication can and will pay off.

“I have got to lead by example for kids,” he said. “My daughter is understanding that daddy needs to put in the work or he’s going to get his ass kicked. That’s my motivation.”

Motivation has been something that Arreola has been lacking lately. Since being knocked out by Stiverne, Arreola hasn’t looked quite like himself. He struggled with journeyman Curtis Harper, a man he should have knocked out, to get a unanimous decision and slogged to a draw against gatekeeper Fred Kassi in his last outing.

Admittedly, Arreola simply wasn’t up for either fight. He says that he barely trained because his opponents were beneath him and the effects showed on fight night. But now, with the IBF title being vacated by Tyson Fury so he can face Klitschko again, Arreola sees opportunity added to the fact that his opponent is someone who he has sparred hundreds of rounds with in Kauffman (30-1).

Although the two share a friendship, Arreola knows what needs to be done on fight night. Kauffman has gone on record suggesting that Arreola weight issues due to ill preparation and battle worn body may have finally caught up with him. To that, Arreola scoffs.

“The fact that I’ve been in wars and he hasn’t been in any says the kind of opposition he’s faced,” Arreola said. “He’s faced a lot of softies and has a padded record. I’ve fought real fighters. As far as partying, that’s nonsense. Do I do it, absolutely, but does it wear on me? I don’t think so. I’m going to put a whooping on him on the 12th.”

A whooping is what Arreola promises and what fueled his rise to prominence in the first place. “The Nightmare” blazed through his career as a knockout machine with a ridiculously high KO rate until recently. He’s never gone more than three fights without scoring a knockout and he’s looking to end that streak on Saturday night.

“If I don’t look good against Kauffman I don’t get another opportunity at a world title,” he revealed. “Nobody will want to see me fight Wilder, Klitschko or Fury. I don’t talk to get title fights. I need to earn my way back to a championship fight by proving it in the ring.