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Chris Arreola's idea of boxing is something similar to the old "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots" tabletop game. Walk to the center of the ring and begin punching until one or the other's block is knocked off.
Arreola's always spoiling for a fight, the less nuance the better.
When you're 6-foot-4, better than 250 pounds and punch hard enough to knock down small walls, toe-to-toe is the way to go.
Tomasz Adamek doesn't have Arreola's size or power, but he does share the Californian's fighting spirit. And so, when the two meet on Saturday in the main event of an HBO-televised doubleheader from the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., Adamek insists Arreola won't have to hunt him down.
"I will not run from Arreola," said Adamek, a Poland native who has already held titles at light heavyweight and cruiserweight. "I will be easy to find in the ring if he wants to find me. Why should I exchange punches with Chris, when I can make him miss and then hit him? Whatever works for me on that day, I will do. I think in the ring I will change tactics. I'll see what gives me the greatest advantage during the fight."
Arreola chuckled upon hearing that Adamek is willing to mix it up. Arreola is prepared to have to go on a trip to find Adamek, cut off the ring and force the fight into small spaces where he believes his power will prevail.
He doubts Adamek wants a slugfest, but said he'd welcome the news if it were true.
"You know me, bro," Arreola said. "Ain't nothing I like better than a fight – a real fight. Let's get in there and go. He hasn't done that in his other [heavyweight] fights, and so why would he do that against me, when I'm the biggest puncher he's faced? But if he does, hey, no complaints."
It will be Arreola's second fight since being routed by World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in September in a highly rated HBO show from Los Angeles.
He destroyed Brian Minto in Atlantic City, N.J., in December, but will face a considerably greater challenge in Adamek. Adamek is 40-1 and has won nine in a row since his only loss, a unanimous decision in a light heavyweight title fight with Chad Dawson.
Since then, Adamek won a cruiserweight belt and then moved up to heavyweight, where he hopes to win a belt to become the first man ever to have held the light heavyweight, cruiserweight and heavyweight belts. Roy Jones Jr. won the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles, but didn't fight at cruiserweight. Evander Holyfield was a cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, but never had a light heavyweight belt.
Adamek is clearly a world-class talent, as well as an exciting fighter. His 2005 victory over Paul Briggs was a wildly entertaining affair that was one of the year's best fights. His 2008 fight with Steve Cunningham, in which he won the cruiserweight belt, was one of that year's finalists for Fight of the Year.
Clearly, he knows how to put on a show. His new trainer, Ronnie Shields, was pleasantly surprised to find out that Adamek is highly skilled, as well.
"Adamek is a believer of winning fights first in his head, then with his fists," Shields said. "[That is] exactly my way of thinking, my kind of fighter. What Arreola expects and what he will actually get are two very different things. I think we are going to surprise him a lot. If he thinks this is going to be an easy fight, he is wrong."
Arreola said he hopes it's not an easy fight because he insists he's learned greatly from the loss to Klitschko and wants to show his improvement. He hopes to string together a series of wins to show that he's deserving of a second crack at the championship. He vows he'll be in better condition and that he's finally treating his body the way a world-class athlete should.
"No beer in more than a month," he said, proudly.
Whether that's enough to beat Adamek remains to be seen, but Arreola is confident. He's given two-and-a-half months of his life to prepare for the bout and made sacrifices he hasn't made even when he was preparing to fight for the title.
His trainer, "Electric" Henry Ramirez, and his conditioning coach, Darryl Hudson, rave about his dedication now. That's a major change from not so long along, when Arreola would simply sneak out of camp to go party.
It's all because, after having shared the ring with Klitschko, he realizes how close he is to the top. He got routed in September, but believes he has the talent and now the knowledge to turn things around.
He's borrowing a page from Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s book.
"I believe I'm going to stop him," Arreola said. "I agree with Floyd's philosophy. If you don't believe you're the best, you don't belong up in that ring. I believe I'm the best. My job is to knock people out, and I'm going to go out there and do my job."
- Chris Arreola
- Tomasz Adamek