On the back of a majority draw against Fred Kassi on July 18th, perennial heavyweight contender Chris ‘The Nightmare’ Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KO’s) told FightHub that he would still love to have a crack at WBC champion Deontay Wilder (34-0, 33 KO’s) if the opportunity arose.
Arreola made his first unsuccessful attempt for the famous green belt back in 2009 against Vitali Klitschko but was forced to retire in the tenth round.
He had to wait five years before his next opportunity, taking on the Haitian puncher Bermane Stiverne for the vacant belt in a rematch of an entertaining scrap 12 months previously where Arreola lost a unanimous decision verdict. He showed his huge courage in that one by even hearing the final bell after having his nose obliterated early on.
He was flattened inside six in the second meeting with Stiverne, who went on to lose the belt in his inaugural defense against the same man Arreola is now calling for; Wilder.
Despite repeated rebuffs whenever he makes a grab for the title Arreola shrugs it off, confirming with enthusiasm his desire to face the newly-crowned king if the fight is offered to him.
“Of course man! I’m in the game to be a world champion. He has that title, and that’s what I want. Once you get that title you’re a target, so he knows he’s a target; he’s my target. You know, I’ve been wanting that title for a while, I already fought for it twice, third time’s a charm.”
He even had a rough outline of a game-plan for if and when his chance comes about.
“I gotta stay in his gut man, I can’t let them hands get loose cuz he has good hands, he does have good hands, fast hands.”
That isn’t a bad strategy against a man with an 83” reach and 97% knockout ratio. Getting inside is a task all on its own, though, Stiverne found this out when he became the first person to go the distance with Wilder in January and although he didn’t get stopped, he had to take some tremendous punches on the way in to try and land his own. It didn’t work out in the end.
Arreola’s aggression is one of his key assets, but his bull rushing strategy can sometimes lead on to the tip of a well-timed counter-punch. If he meets Wilder, it is uncertain whether the champion will revert to throwing bombs in the same ruthless fashion as when he was working up through the rankings, or whether he will remain as cautious as we saw him last time out against Eric Molina.
Either way, Arreola is likely to get caught at some point in the affair and will do well not to compound the impact to a heavy shot by walking into it.
Now, Wilder holds the WBC belt but every other meaningful title in the division is held by Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KO’s), who has carved out an impressive legacy over the last decade with a systematic safety-first style.
Klitschko will put his WBA Super, WBO and IBF(as well as the lesser IBO) titles on the line in a highly-anticipated bout with the UK’s leading light, the undefeated Tyson Fury (24-0, 18KO’s), this coming October.
Arreola gave his thoughts on that one too and seemed surprised at his own anticipation, perhaps because Klitschko’s bouts can often deteriorate into somewhat dull encounters given his borderline illegal tactics.
“You know what? I’m actually looking forward to that fight; I’m really looking forward to that fight. I almost wish that it was out here in the United States, that way Klitschko doesn’t hold as much, but it’s a fight that I’m looking forward to seeing. Of course I think Klitschko beats him cuz he’s a better fighter, a better boxer, but as far as entertainment value that’s a great fight to me.”
Tyson Fury’s pre-fight antics alone are sure to make for an entertaining watch, but his size advantage over Klitschko as well as impressive mobility and his own set of decent boxing skills should make for a very good fight as Arreola suspects.
So ‘The Nightmare’, as ever, is lurking on the edges of the world title scene and looks to have a quicker return to the top table than when he lost his first shot against the elder Klitschko. He is fun to watch and backs down from nobody, but up to this point those assets have proven wanting in his pursuit of a genuine championship belt.