9-27 UPDATE: In the words of LAT columnist Bill Dwyre, "The tree was just too tall for Chris Arreola to chop down." Arreola lost in ten rounds, saying, "He found a way to win; I found a way to lose." Link inside. BIGGER QUESTION: Why didn't the LA Times, dying for readership, put this on the front page to draw Mexican-American readers? Instead, a feature on Neutra and Wright houses on the market. -- Rabe
Riverside native Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola fights Vitali Klitschko for the heavyweight title against Saturday (9-26) at Staples Center. So let's rub it in that we had an interview with Arreola MONTHS ago ... by sportswriter David Davis. Arreola could become the first Mexican-American heavyweight boxing champion. (More inside...)
Here's how David Davis (left, with friend) pitched the Arreola interview to Off-Ramp (Note to freelancers: THIS is a pitch):
Born and raised in East L.A., and now living in nearby Riverside, Cristobal "The Nightmare" Arreola is a second-generation Mexican-American whose parents illegally snuck over the U.S. border.
He's grown up to become one of the most lethal boxers in the world. At 27-0, with whopping punching power (24 KOs), he's the #2 ranked heavyweight contender in the world (by the WBC and the IBF) and #3 (by the WBO).
His knockout rate and old-school demeanor have electrified boxing's most passionate and loyal fan-base. If he were to fight for the title – and if he were to become the first-ever heavyweight champ of Mexican descent -- Arreola would truly be the second coming of "The Brown Bomber." [NOTE: JOE LOUIS' NICKNAME WAS THE BROWN BOMBER.]
At 6-foot-4, with a 77-inch reach, Arreola has covered his thick body with colorful tattoos. He's a self-confessed member of "Raider Nation" and sports silver-and-black trunks in the ring. He's no pretty boy; in fact, he's the anti-Oscar De La Hoya. Think of him as the pugilistic offspring of Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike Tyson.
Whether Arreola can step up and stop the big boys of the heavyweight division -- the Klitschkos, Nikolay Valuev -- remains to be seen. According to his camp -- trainer (Henry Ramirez), promoter (Dan Goossen), and manager (Al Haymon) -- the only person who can stop Arreola is Arreola himself. In effect, does he have the balls-to-the-wall dedication necessary to fight at the championship level?
The jury is out, in part because Arreola himself seems conflicted. As a youngster, he flirted with joining a gang. He quit the sport briefly after winning the national Golden Gloves in 2001. Last year, while at a party, his best friend was shot and killed. That left Arreola devastated, and his management team had to postpone his next fight.
These days, his primary challenge is to control his appetite. For his last two fights –- a third-round KO over highly touted Travis Walker and a fourth-round KO over Jameel McCline -- he entered the ring at a hefty 254 pounds. Arreola says that he's learned his lesson.
He had better: With his convincing win over McCline on HBO last weekend, Arreola is in line for a title shot, perhaps before the end of the year.
The Mexican-American community -- and the world –- awaits.