August 8, 2008

A Mexican Heavyweight? Meet Chris Arreola “The Big Brown Hope”

By: El Gran Campeon

Growing up I had always heard about the great heavyweight fighters in history such as Ali, Foreman, Frazier, and Louis, I always asked myself, “Why aren’t there any Mexicanos in the heavyweight division?” When I looked around and did not see many Mexicanos over six feet I got my answer, we just weren’t built that way.

In more then 100 years of pro boxing no fighter of Mexican descent has ever captured a heavyweight title. This is what motivates 27 year old Mexican- American heavyweight Cristobal “The Nightmare” Arreola. The nightmare (24-0-21 KOs) has become “The Big Brown Hope” for the Mexican community, a community with a rich boxing history aching for its first heavyweight champion. At 6’4 235 pounds, with an exciting fast paced, fan friendly style he is the next big thing in boxing today. With impressive wins over fellow hot prospects Chazz Whitherspoon (23-1-15 KOs) and Malcolm Tann (23-4-12 KOs) Arreola is one step closer to realizing his dream.

Arreola has a story that many Mexicanos can relate to. He is the son of Mexican immigrants, his father Agustin a construction worker, his mother Lucy a maid who cleaned houses and hotels for a living. Cristobal recalls his mother Lucy giving his older brother Carlos Juan away to a family that she cleaned houses for in order to provide him with a better life. Like Oscar De La Hoya, Arreola grew up in East Los Angeles and trained at the Resurrection Gym, but that is where the similarities end.

Cristobal “the Nightmare” Arreola. Photo credit: Goossen Tutor Promotions

Arreola is not a pretty boy or a golden boy, he doesn’t consider himself an American Son (the title of De La Hoya’s book) He is a true Mexican warrior in every sense, and he is proud of it, “When you watch me fight you will see the tough Mexican work ethic” he states.

Growing up in East Los Angeles, Arreola did not have much, he remembers sleeping on a sofa until the age of 15. He credits his father (A former boxer himself) for introducing him to the “Sweet Science” when he was two years old.

In 1987, Arreola began boxing as an amateur. By age 16, he had already fought in 200 amateur bouts. Among his highlights as an amateur, was his win over Dallas Vargas a fighter that had over 300 amateur fights on his resume. That win gave Arreola the 178 pound title in the 2001 finals of the National Golden Gloves.

He has sparred with Wladamir Klitscho, Hasim Rahman, and James Toney some of today’s best heavyweights, and possible future opponents for Arreola.

Today Cristobal is ranked #7 by the World Boxing Council and stays busy by fighting four sometimes five times a year, a rarity for boxers today.

There have been Mexican heavyweight contenders before such as Manuel Ramos, Joey Orbillo and Alex Garcia but Arreola has a far better chance then those before him ever did due to much weaker opposition in the heavyweight division today.

Boxing has been craving for its next great American heavyweight, will they settle for a Mexican- American heavyweight? Only time will tell. Some boxing writers have already thrown some racial jabs at Arreola’s Mexican heritage. Michael Marley of “Boxing Confidential” referred to him as a “big fat taco eater”. With all this nonsense and hatred towards us Mexicanos, we the people should stand behind “The Big Brown Hope” and support his quest the same way that African Americans supported Jack Johnson, and Joe Louis. Who knows it might be another 100 years until another Mexican contends for a heavyweight title. A Mexican heavyweight...what’s next a black President?

El Gran Chisme:

· Negotiations are heating up for a possible bout between “The Nightmare” Arreola and former heavyweight champion David Tua. The bout will either take place later this year in California or early next year. A win for Arreola would put him in position to contend for a title some time next year.

· Steroids? Margarito don’t need no stinkin steroids. Two days after his impressive beat down of former undefeated champion Miguel Cotto, a radio station in Puerto Rico accused the “Tijuana Terminator” of juicing up before the July 26th fight. Margarito silenced the sore losers from Puerto Rico last Friday when the results of urinalysis taken before the fight came back negative. Expect to See Margarito back in action on November 1st against an opponent that is yet to be announced.

· El Hijo Del Leyenda Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will face Matt Vanda on October 25th, in a rematch of their controversial fight that took place on July 12th. In that fight that took place in Hermosillo Mexico, fans threw bottles at Jr. and his dad in disgust of Jr’s lackluster performance. Jr will have to win in convincing fashion in the rematch to silence his critics.

· Mexico’s Cristian Mijares, the king of the Jr. Bantamweight division, is in talks to fight heavy hitter, and newly crowned champion Vic Darchinyan. Darchinyan is coming off an impressive 5th round knockout of Dimitri Kirilov. The fight between Mijares and Darchinyan could take place in October.

· “El Travieso” Jorge Arce, will square off against Filipino fighter Z “The dream” Gorres, in an IBF title elimination bout. Arce will look to make a statement in this fight scheduled for a fall date. A win for Arce could set up a much talked about showdown with “El Magnifico” Israel Vasquez.

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