Heavyweight Chris Arreola, who faces Adam Kownacki on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, has a 44-fight career filled with entertaining moments. It hasn't been perfect, but it has been memorable.
Say what you want about Arreola, but he has been a trailblazer of sorts. Before there was Andy Ruiz (the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent), there was "The Nightmare," who competed at the highest levels of boxing's glamour division. No, he wasn't always the most dedicated or disciplined fighter -- something he would readily admit -- but Arreola was a fun-loving character who generally gave the fans their money's worth when he stepped inside that ring.
Coming off a third-round TKO of Jean Pierre Augustin on March 16, the 38-year-old says he has no regrets. He has, however, recently moved under the tutelage of Joe Goosen, his new trainer.
"People tell me, 'Do you wish you would have changed your trainer a lot sooner? Do you think you should have made your move?' Y'know, possibly, but what's done is done," said Arreola. "I'm not living in the past."
In his own words, here are the five most memorable moments from his career:
Sept. 26, 2009 (Loss via TKO in the 10th round)
This was Arreola's first crack at a world title, coming in front of his home fans at Staples Center in Los Angeles. At that time, Arreola was 27-0 and considered America's best young heavyweight. While he fought valiantly, he was stopped in the 10th round. Arreola broke down into tears after the fight was over.
Arreola: "This fight is absolutely one of my top five fights because of the magnitude of the fight, the people that were there, the outcome -- just being in the ring with a legend for the first time. It just gives me chills thinking about it.
"I don't like to dwell on regrets, but as far as me crying [after the fight], I cried not just for losing -- because losing is part of the sport -- [but] more because I didn't want to lose like that. I would have rather gotten knocked the f--- out by Klitschko than to retire on the stool."
Bermane Stiverne I
April 27, 2013 (Loss via decision)
This matchup in Ontario was the first of two versus Stiverne. Arreola lost both bouts, the second coming one year later with the vacant WBC heavyweight title on the line. Despite hitting the deck in the third round, Arreola was able to see the final bell.
Arreola: "He broke my nose in the third round -- it was shattered. And the reason I like that fight the most is that it just shows my grit, and that I didn't give a crap. I'll take some to give some because I want to win that bad."
Sept. 7, 2013 (Win via first-round knockout)
After the initial loss to Stiverne, Arreola was matched against the former Michigan State linebacker. This was a grudge match of sorts, as Arreola made it clear that no football player -- who was a novice at the time in boxing -- could beat him. Turned out he was correct, and he celebrated his first-round KO victory by doing pushups in the ring after the fight was waved off.
Arreola: "I love that fight because in the press conference he was talking a big game and I believe I beat him in the press conference before I even walked in the ring with the war of words. Once he came into the ring, he was a defeated fighter. Once he got punched, his eyes just lit up like a Christmas tree. I was like, 'Oh, man, this guy's done.'
"I did pushups in the ring after the fight because I still had some energy, so I had to get it out of there."
Feb. 18, 2012 (Win via first-round knockout)
There aren't many Mexican heavyweights, and this was the rare bout between two of them. This dynamic fueled a bit of a rivalry between the two. While Arreola had established himself as a heavyweight contender with solid credentials, Molina didn't seem to respect him too much. He got a quick and brutal comeuppance.
Arreola: "I remember that fight a lot because I hate that guy. First of all, I had no animosity, I didn't really care much for the guy. I was just getting ready to beat the guy. That's all I cared about -- was to beat him. I knew nothing about him. I didn't care nothing for him. So little by little, just the way that he is, he just got under my skin. He was kind of like a brash guy, walking with his chest out, you know? And he had done nothing, yet.
"But the fact that I knocked him out in the first round made me feel like it was a pretty easy fight."
Nov. 4, 2006 (Win via seventh-round knockout)
Up to this point, Arreola was a bit of a curiosity -- a heavyweight who had basically performed on smaller stages on the West Coast. But this fight against Wills was his chance to step up and be part of the pay-per-view broadcast featuring Floyd Mayweather's challenge against welterweight titlist Carlos Baldomir in Las Vegas. It turned out to be the beginning of one career and the beginning of the descent of another.
Arreola: "There were a couple of things that came with that fight -- the fact that Damian was undefeated at the time and so was I, and we're both California fighters that had big expectations. I worked my butt off for that fight. I just wanted to win so bad because it was on pay-per-view, Al Haymon was there, and I wanted to make sure I put on a great show because I was grateful for being on that card. I just gave it my all and knocked him out in the seventh round. "It was so dope, but the messed-up thing is that they made me go to the hospital to get just two little stitches and I didn't get to watch any of the fights. By the time I got back, Floyd was about to get out of the ring. And I remember hearing Denzel Washington (who was managing Wills) yell at "Bolo." He was in the dressing room after the fight.
"I was like, 'Ewww, I wouldn't want to be him.'"