The Working Class Charm Of Chris Arreola
By: Sean Crose
I remember the conference call like it was yesterday. I was on the phone with boxing media and Chris Arreola…foul mouthed Chris Arreola. I wasn’t expecting to be impressed – but Arreola proved my pre conceived notions to be wrong. Sure enough, the experience reminded me not to judge a book by its cover. For Arreola was, for lack of a more professional term, really cool. Friendly, gregarious, personable – he had all the traits needed to be well liked. Whatever his flaws might have been as a pro athlete, it was hard not to leave the conference call impressed with Arreola’s proficient renegade people skills.
Truth be told, I don’t think I was much different than a whole lot of fans that day. People, simply put, like Arreola the person, if not the fighter. Think about it, here’s a guy who actually admitted that he doesn’t deserve the heavyweight title shot he’s getting next week against the very colorful – and, admit it, talented -Deontay Wilder, yet few are condemning the state of boxing for creating such a match up.
This may have something to do with Alexander Povetkin, who was supposed to face Wilder, testing positive for a banned substance, of course. An immediate replacement was needed and Arreola was available. Still, I think there’s something more at work here. Arreola, as has been pointed out (I think by Dan Rafael and a fan during one of Dan’s online chats), is apt to enter the fight out of shape and unprepared. Understandable, perhaps, since he took the bout on short notice – but still perfectly in keeping with Arreola’s reputation for being less than disciplined.
Sure enough, Arreola is likely to enter the ring on any given occasion as big as a figurative three family house. He’s also likely to struggle against less than lauded opposition. Yet through it all the man fights and fights. Ultimately, Arreola strikes fans as being a working class guy, a jovial tough customer who might not be the picture of industry, but is still all heart. He’s the guy to bear hug you a party, the kid in grammar school who would take care of the playground bully for you. He’s the guy who steps up to the plate each and every time and gives it his all – whether he’s bothered to properly prepare himself or not.
So yeah, there’s a lot to like about Chris Arreola. With that in mind, it would be one hell of a shock to see him get past Wilder, a fighter with his own charms…and heart. Say what you will, this fight won’t be a snooze fest.