“At this point, you have to accept things for what they are. Chris is 32 years old and at this point, he is what he is. It’s something we gotta do. I can’t ever foresee him doing a camp in Riverside again,” said the trainer, whose last straw was the preparation - or lack thereof - he saw before their April loss to Bermane Stiverne. “Like I said, the Phoenix camp was a direct reaction to the Stiverne camp. There was no way I was going to go through that ever again.”
And Arreola’s reaction to Ramirez moving their camp away from their familiar surroundings?
“He was for it. He said, ‘I need it.’ He’ll tell you he can’t trust himself in Riverside. He said he needed it. So he was really receptive to it and he got down there for five weeks and I’ll be honest about it; he worked his ass off,” Ramirez stated.
The flighty heavyweight told Maxboxing, “It was great. Honestly, I was the one who suggested it a long time ago, man. I told him we needed to get outta here.”
But “The Nightmare” had one caveat.
“No Big Bear, absolutely not Big Bear. I f*ckin’ hate Big Bear,” said Arreola, the disdain clearly evident in his voice, “but I said anywhere as long as it’s five, six hours away. I’m good. I’m down with it.”
So his Kryptonite is Riverside (which isn’t exactly Las Vegas)?
“It’s not the people; the people are great,” he explained. “People support me regardless. It’s me. I’m my own worst enemy, man. Like I said, the gym’s only 15 miles away. In those 15 miles, I’ll find an excuse to miss the gym. As little as, ‘Oh, sh*t; I need an oil change,’ and I’ll stop and get an oil change. By the time it’s done, ‘Ah, it’s too late. I’m not going to the gym. F*ck it.’”
In his defense, the Econo Lube N’ Tune in Riverside is quite the hot spot. But for the perpetually undisciplined Arreola, the loss to Stiverne was the turning point. “I gotta give the credit to Stiverne. Once he broke my nose, all bets were off. I’m a guy who’s going to bring the fight to somebody and after my nose broke in the third round, even though I kept trying, every punch was the most excruciating punch that there was. So I gotta give credit to him even though I didn’t work as hard as I should have. But I take nothing away from him,” said Arreola, whose record dropped to 35-3 (30) after that fight.
Riverside can get warm in the summer but going to Phoenix was like going from the frying pan into the microwave.
In describing the heat of Arizona, Arreola says, “Think of an outhouse, like a Porta-Potty outside the middle of summer and you go in there to take a sh*t. That’s what it’s like. It’s hot like that inside a Porta-Potty but a big Porta-Potty.”
(This guy is a regular Edgar Allan Poe; isn’t he?)
“It was like 114, 115 [degrees] and then in the gym, it probably got even a little hotter than that,” said Ramirez, who brought his charge to the Central Boxing Club in Phoenix. “There were days where you walked in and you’re already sweating. It was pretty bad. But like I said, it was something we needed to get done and we got through it. He’s ready to go on Saturday.”
There would be no quick dips in the pool at the home they rented in Scottsdale.
“I never went in it; it was like an oversized Jacuzzi. It was so damn hot,” said Ramirez, whose biggest problem with leaving Southern California was missing Dodgers games, eventually rectified as he ordered up the MLB Extra Innings package for their PlayStation 3.
When you ask him what type of shape he’s in, Arreola quips, “I’m not round,” but adds, “I feel like I’m in great shape. I feel like I’m in really, really good shape to go the full 12 rounds - which I doubt is going to go that far. But I’m in shape to do that. I’m in shape but the thing about it, man, I told myself, ‘I’m not going to give this kid, Seth Mitchell, not one opportunity for him to beat me at all.’ If he beats me, he has to beat me inside the ring. You’re not going to beat me in the gym.”
Both heavyweights are advised by the influential Al Haymon, who is now pairing his fighters together more and more. Arreola-Mitchell almost feels like an elimination match as if - excuse the pun - Haymon is trimming the fat.
“Absolutely,” said Ramirez, agreeing with that notion, “I don’t doubt that for a second but let’s be honest; what’s better business: the Mexican heavyweight winning - regardless of Chris’ past, his shortcomings - or Seth Mitchell? Let’s be honest; it’s better for business for the Mexican heavyweight, who’s exciting, to win. But that being said, I expect an exciting fight for as long as it lasts. But I don’t doubt Chris is going to get him outta there. Because the one thing about Chris is, unlike Johnathon Banks, when [Banks] hurt Mitchell in the second fight, he didn’t try to really finish him or he couldn’t whatsoever.
“Chris is a natural finisher. He’s a natural fighter. He’s a naturally aggressive guy. I can’t see Mitchell keeping him off.”
Ramirez believes that, while Mitchell is a natural athlete (having played middle linebacker at Michigan State), Arreola is the fighter.
Moving forward, expect Arreola to train for his fights outside of Riverside.
“Me and Henry, we talked about it and it’s just a necessity for me. It’s just something that I need to do. I cannot stay home and train. It’s like I said; it’s not the people - it’s me. I’m my own worst enemy.”
The referee for next week’s bout between Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez is Kenny Bayless. Your three ringside judges are Craig Metcalfe, Dave Moretti and C.J. Ross...The referee for the Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse fight is Tony Weeks and the three judges are Juergen Langos, Robert Hoyle and Glenn Trowbridge...I can’t lie; I’m intrigued by the possibility of Terrelle Pryor as the Raiders starting quarterback...I really wish this weekend’s game between the Hurricanes and Gators was at the Orange Bowl...Can’t wait to hit allCanes and The Big Cheese while in Miami...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.