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.
Although we reported this on Friday, Goossen Tutor Promotions on Monday made it official by announcing that the heavyweight title fight between Chris Arreola of Riverside and Bermane Stiverne of Miami will take place May 10 at USC’s Galen Center. It will be televised by ESPN.
Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) and Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) will fight for the belt vacated by Vitali Klitschko, who relinquished the title so he can concentrate on his political career in his native Ukraine.
“Vitali was a great champion, in and out of the ring, and the winner of this fight will have big shoes to fill wearing the green belt around their waist,” said Dan Goossen, Arreola’s promoter. “Chris will definitely be going into this fight with his back against the wall. It’s that type of do-or-die situation I believe when he’s the most motivated and dangerous.”
Arreola and Stiverne have already tangled once, with Stiverne winning a wide unanimous decision over Arreola this past April at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
Henry Ramirez, trainer for heavyweight contender Chris Arreola of Riverside, tweeted Friday that he will be interviewed on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from Morongo Casino in Cabazon and that an announcement will be made regarding the venue for the May 10 heavyweight title fight between Arreola and Bermane Stiverne.
We’re not sure how true this is, but we heard a rumor from a source that says the site will be USC’s Galen Center. One thing’s certain, the fight will be televised by ESPN.
Arreola and Stiverne will fight for the belt vacated by Vitali Klitschko.
It was about a month ago that the WBC announced a purse bid had been avoided when promoters Dan Goossen and Don King reached an accord for Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne to fight for the heavyweight championship vacated by Vitali Klitshcko in December.
Still, no date and venue have been announced. Goossen, Arreola’s promoter, told this newspaper this week he is hopeful he will have something on that no later than Monday. Meanwhile, Team Arreola is irked.
“Extremely frustrating. Extremely,” said Arreola’s trainer, Henry Ramirez.
He didn’t stop there.
“We put the Klitschko fight together in a fraction of this time,” said Ramirez, alluding to Arreola’s challenge to then-champion Klitschko in September 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles; Klitschko stopped Arreola after 10 rounds. “This has just been completely frustrating. Klitshcko made his announcement (that he was giving up his title) Dec. 15, over two months ago. “And here we are with nothing set, no date, no venue. There is stuff being kicked around behind the scenes, but nothing’s set yet.”
As for Arreola …
“I know he’s extremely frustrated,” Ramirez said. “But the thing I’ve tried to explain to him, I’ve said, ‘Look, Stiverne is going through the same thing, so all we’ve gotta do is be ready to go.’ “
Vitali Klitschko has stepped down as WBC heavyweight champion so he can concentrate on running for president of his native Ukraine. Klitschko, 42, has not defended his title in some 15 months. Accordingly, the WBC has named him champion emeritus, meaning if and when he decides to continue his career, he can challenge the champion at that time.
This could mean that Bermane Stiverne and Riverside’s Chris Arreola, the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked contenders, will fight for the vacant title. But if Stiverne does not settle his litigation with his promoter – Don King – and is unable to fight, Arreola and No. 3 Deontay Wilder could fight for the title.
Trainer Henry Ramirez has tried and tried to get his fighter, heavyweight contender Chris Arreola, to train hard. In Ramirez’s mind, poor camps are directly responsible for two of Arreola’s three losses – to Tomasz Adamek and Bermane Stiverne.
What’s a trainer to do? Ramirez moved training camp from Arreola’s Riverside roots, to Phoenix, Ariz. for Arreola’s big fight against fellow contender Seth Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KOs) on Sept. 7 at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio (on Showtime).
“I didn’t move the training camp to Phoenix because we were having great training camps at home,” Ramirez said Wednesday via telephone from Phoenix. “He needed to get away from home.”
Ramirez said Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs) has been working harder than ever in the 2 1/2 weeks he’s been in camp.
Golden Boy Promotions on Tuesday announced it has moved its card featuring a main event between heavyweights Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell from Friday, Sept. 6 to Saturday, Sept. 7 at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio.
Golden Boy did not give a specific reason for the move. But it’s obvious it was made because a Top Rank Inc. card that was to feature super middleweights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Brian Vera on Sept. 7 at Staples Center was postponed Monday because of a cut sustained by Chavez in sparring.
Arreola-Mitchell will be televised by Showtime. It will include a featherweight bout between former bantamweight/super bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez of Mexico and Efrain Esquivias of Carson.
Chavez-Vera was going to be televised by HBO.
Promoter Dan Goossen tells us that Chris Arreola’s nose was broken in five places in the third round of his April 27 heavyweight title-elimination bout with Bermane Stiverne at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
Arreola, who lost a unanimous decision, will have a procedure done on the nose next week to help with its rehabilitation.
The loss was quite a setback for Arreola, 32, who is still trying to become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent. He challenged Vitali Klitschko for his title in September 2009 but was stopped after 10 rounds at Staples Center.
Goossen, however, believes Arreola is going to some day reach his goal.
“Is he capable of doing it?” Goossen said. “I believe he still is capable.”
Going back to the nose, Arreola bled profusely from the third round on after his nose was broken with a right cross that put him on the canvas.
“I got up in the ring afterward and throughout my years of seeing our share of blood and guts battles, there was more blood on this ring than I can ever recall seeing before, so Chris obviously lost a lot of blood,” Goossen said.
Goossen said as soon as Arreola’s nose heals, he’ll sit down with him to talk about what’s next.