As a long time fan of heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola, I was excited to hear about his chance to fight Vitali Klitschko for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Chris and his trainer, Henry Ramirez, have been frequent guests on my show over the years and both are great guys who deserve the best….
Henry was a fan of my radio show long before I’d ever heard of Arreola and was a regualr caller for years; from topics ranging from boxing to basketball….
And Ramirez had done a magnificent job moving Chris along, matching him right and honing his skills until he became the #1 ranked heavyweight in the world….
The one concern, though, was Chris’ lack of discipline outside the ring and tendency to gain weight….
Henry was always concerned about The Nightmare’s lack of discipline and did everything he could, but ultimately it’s up to the fighter to take responsibility and keep his eye on the big picture….
When the fight was signed, I said I liked Chris’ chances if he got his weight in the 230-235 lb. range, but gave him no chance if he came in the ring at 250+….
So when they weighed in on Friday and Arreola tipped the scales at 251, my heart sank; because I knew it was all over….
During the pre-fight show on HBO, it was revealed that Chris began training camp at 292 lbs, which is inexcuseable. He should have been training, dieting and staying alcohol free BEFORE camp, in anticipation of the biggest opportunity of his life….
Then, during his interview, he actually said the following: “If Michael Phelps can smoke weed and still break records, why can’t I drink beer?”….
When I heard that I knew Chris just doesn’t get it….
After the fight, when you’ve won the ultimate prize in sports, you can drink all the beer you want. But until then, you have to eat healthy, train hard, keep your weight down, quit partying and stay away from alcohol….
He should have reported to camp at 251, trained down to around 230 and come into the ring fit, quick and ready to become the first Mexican-American Heavyweight Champion….
Instead, he came to camp around 300 lbs. and the fight was already lost….
Because of Klitschko’s tremendous size, athletic ability and reach, the only way to beat him is to get inside, work the body and apply constant pressure. But in order to do this, you have to be in great physical condition. You simply cannot be overweight and expect to break Klitschko down….
So with Chris slow and out-of-shape, his only chance was to swing for the fences and hope to catch Vitali with a haymaker. But every time Arreola plodded his way toward Klitschko, Vitali simply moved to the side or clinched….
Has Chris been in better shape, he could have moved his head, cut off the ring and thrown combination after combination….
Neither Klitschko brother likes to back up and don’t like to exchange, so a fighter like The Nightmare had the style to defeat him….
But only if he was in supreme condition….
After 10 rounds of slowly trying to walk Klitschko down and throwing one punch at a time, Chris had taken a tremendous beating and there was no need to go on….
Because Arreola has tremendous heart and still thought he could win, he wanted to continue, but Ramirez told the referee the fight was over and his fighter had taken enough….
I know Chris was furious and wanted to finish, but Ramirez did the right thing….
This is why Henry is a rarity in boxing; a trainer who actually cares about his fighter and has his best interests at heart. I’m sure it was tough for Ramirez to throw in the towel, but Henry showed how much he cares about Chris’ long term future….
Again, Ramirez is a first class trainer and highly respected in the game, but ultimately it’s going to be up to Chris. He’s a grown man and only he can make the decision to clean up his life and get into top physical condition….
This means no partying, eating right, no alcohol, getting to sleep early and never allowing his weight to go above 250 lbs….
In fact, he should already be in the gym and learned from this experience. If I were Arreola, I’d have been on the treadmill the next morning; beginning the process of re-dedicating myself to the sport….
But if he continues to drink, party and eat unhealthy food, he’s never going to reach the ultimate goal. And that will be a shame, because he is such a warm hearted, funny, class guy….
He would make a great heavyweight champion, because of his engaging personality, kind nature and exciting style. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s Mexican-American….
I’ve loved getting to know Arreola and wish him the best; and it’s certainly not too late. He’s under 30 years of age, hits hard, loves to fight, has a great heart and an excellent trainer….
Now it’s time to look in the mirror and ask himself just how badly he wants this….
So it’s up to you, Chris. Is it more important to party and drink, or become the Heavyweight Champion of the World?