Arreola ready for Kauffman!
By Vikram Birring, Dog House Boxing (Dec 4, 2015)
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Four and one-half months ago, Arreola labored to a draw against unknown Fred Kassi of Cameroon. When asked about what happened, Arreola is honest, “I wasn’t up for the fight. I was there physically but not mentally, I was just going through the motions.”
In his eyes, for the third time in the last few years, he’s being fed to a prospect with a glittering record in a crossroads fight. “It motivates me, to face a guy with a great record. I love that.” In February of 2012, Arreola traveled to Corpus Christi and knocked out 6’4” Eric Molina in the first round. Then, in September of 2013, Arreola wiped out the college football player turned boxer Seth Mitchell in the first round; Mitchell has not been seen in a boxing ring since. And long before that, Arreola defeated several good fighters early in his career: Kenny Lemos (8-1-1), Lee Manuel Ossie (32-5), Damian Norris (8-2), Damian Wills (21-0-1), Zakeem Graham (10-1-1), Malcolm Tann (23-2), and Thomas Hayes (26-1). Arreola gives praise to all of them, and says that having tough fights early in his career helps keep him relaxed later in his career when he sees a flashy record on the other side of the ledger.
Kauffman and Arreola have a long history. Arreola states that Kauffman was his long-time sparring partner years ago, and they’ve shared over 200 rounds together in the ring, with Kauffman doing well at times. And Arreola respects Kauffman more than Mitchell and especially Molina. With typical Arreola honesty, he bluntly states: “Travis Kauffman is a legitimate fighter. He has a great amateur pedigree. Mitchell was a football player. And Molina, he’s just not very good. I can’t believe he went that many rounds against Wilder. I think Wilder carried him.” After almost four years, Arreola still is insulted that some picked Molina to beat him.
At thirty-four years of age, Arreola is thinking about the next phase of his life. Along with his lifelong trainer Henry Ramirez, he is planning on opening a gym in Riverside and hopeful of having his own stable of fighters, similar to Robert Garcia, who opened a gym in Riverside recently (“Robert’s doing a great job.”) And he’s proud that others from his hometown have been able to shine on boxing’s greatest stage, most notably Josesito Lopez but very recently Saul Rodriguez, who had a spectacular knockout against Ivan Najera.
One can tell Arreola loves his hometown. At one time, in early 2011, he set up camp in Houston with Ronnie Shields, and says Shields is a great trainer and he learned a lot from him, but being away from his daughter was too difficult, so he shifted headquarters back to Riverside and hasn’t left ever since. He’s a loyal man too, he’s been with Al Haymon for years and never left the banner of the late Dan Goosen, and leaving Ramirez will never happen. “We came up together, and we’ll ride into the sunset together.”
Regarding the gargantuan shift in the heavyweight division with Tyson Fury’s victory against longtime kingpin Wladimir Klitschko, Arreola has nothing but commendation for the new champion: “Fury fought a beautiful fight. He used great feints and stayed on his toes. I pick him in the rematch too.” But his focus is still on his active career. There are rumors swirling about the winner of his fight earning a shot against WBC champion Deontay Wilder, but the “Nightmare” ignores the talk and simply focuses on his current fight. He simply wants his fists to do the talking. “I love to fight. I live for this.”
Questions or comments, e-mail Vikram at: email@example.com
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