By Barbara Pinnella
Photos by Linda Jolicoeur
Goossen Tutor Promotions held a press conference today at Sisley’s Italian Kitchen to announce the fight between the WBC # 1 Heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (34-2, 30 KOs) and the # 2 heavyweight contender Bemane Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 Ks), in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds. Stiverne was unable to attend the conference, but up front with Arreola were Josesito Lopez, Dan Goossen, and Andre Ward.
Dan first introduced Lopez, who said, “I’m glad to see Chris is back. You’ll be seeing me soon, but first comes Chris.”
Goossen described Andre as a great family man and great person, but said that when Ward gets in the ring he becomes someone different. He then called on Ward to say a few words.
Andre felt as did Josesito. “Today’s not about me, it’s about Chris. I know what it takes to perform at this level, and I’m here for Chris.”
Goossen made reference to the problems that Arreola has had with his dedication and his weight. “The only thing that stopped Chris from bringing home a world championship was his not being in shape. Now he is in tip-top shape. He hasn’t fought since last February (for a variety of reasons) but he kept himself in great shape. You can see that here.
“Fans have always cherished bad-ass heavyweights like Ali, Frazier, Forman, and Tyson,” Dan said. “I always felt that Chris was the next big fighter. Klitschko is fast, smart, cautious, and fit. Chris is going to challenge that. It’s my feeling that he’s gonna be the toughest man on the planet.”
Chris took the microphone. “First let me say its great to be on HBO. I’m working my butt off to be the heavyweight champion. Now I want it – I believe I’m gonna be champion. Stiverne thinks he knows me, but he doesn’t. When he hits me and I keep coming he’s gonna be in trouble.
“Stiverne throws a lot of combinations, kind of amateurish but with pop. He also does that Mayweather shoulder roll. March 9 I’m gonna take care of business.
“I don’t worry about Klitschko, I really don’t. I don’t care who I fight. I don’t worry about it. I’m not walking through the door; I’m kicking in the door!”
With regard to his training, Arreola had this to say. “For every fight, the end result is what I think of. I respect every fighter who steps in there, but it doesn’t matter what I have to do, I gotta win. But I have to respect Pavlik too, if he doesn’t have it in him to train anymore, it was better that he quit.”
Does “Nightmare” have a prediction? “I’ll tell you one thing, it’s gonna be an exciting fight. This man has a goal, too. I have to bring my A-game. I’m gonna win by KO in seven or eight rounds.”
He then mentioned the changes that he has made. “The criticisms didn’t bother me, and that was part of the problem. But my changes didn’t just happen. This is a whole life change. I did things, man,” he said, shaking his head. “But I’ve been dying to get back on HBO!”
And while Arreola did not express the colorful language that most have come to expect in many circumstances, he did show his sense of humor.
“I love my name, but people just butcher it. Just don’t call me Crystal Ball! Chris is fine – call me Chris!”
And when someone joked with him, asking him if he had his green card, he quipped back, “Yeah, I have my green card, that’s why I married that white chick over there!”
Expect a great fight from Arreola in March. His head is in the right place, and he looked great. This WBC heavyweight championship elimination bout will take place at The Hanger in Costa Mesa. Also on the card are Juan Carlos Salgado (26-1-1, 16 KOs) against Argenis Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs) in an IBF junior lightweight championship fight scheduled for 12 rounds. Tickets will go on sale Friday, January 25.