Chris Arreola of Riverside on Saturday will take on Bermane Stiverne for a vacant heavyweight world championship at Galen Center in Los Angeles (on ESPN).
Arreola was reminded during a recent conference call about a sparring session he had with Hasim Rahman in August 2006 ahead of Rahman’s loss to Oleg Maskaev for a heavyweight title that month at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
As story goes, Arrreola was really going at it with Rahman in a Big Bear training camp. Afterward, Rahman apparently told a reporter that he expected Arreola to someday become heavyweight champion. Arreola never heard that, but he was stoked to find out about it.
“Well, first of all, that’s an honor, man, because I never knew he said that about me, man,” Arreola said. “And that’s a big honor to hear that because, honestly, I was there and I was working, man, and I loved being up there in his training camp, man. That’s the first big training camp I was ever involved in, and I watched him work, and I watched him work real hard. And one thing I do remember is that every time I got in that ring I wanted to make sure I gave him my all, because I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to keep getting those paychecks every week.”
This will be Arreola’s second chance to make Rahman’s prediction come to fruition. Arreola was stopped after 10 rounds in a challenge to then-heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in September 2009 at Staples Center.