LOS ANGELES --
"I don't have a muscle body," said Arreola. "I don't have a chiseled frame. Some people can carry 250 [pounds] and look like an Adonis. Then you look at me and I look like I just got off the field after picking some oranges."
Arreola's not picking oranges, or anything else for that matter. He's preparing for a shot at boxing history. On Sept. 26, he'll will attempt become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent when he challenges WBC titleholder
"[The criticism] bugs me sometimes," said Arreola (27-0). "It's not a lack of conditioning; it's a lack of looking like I'm in good condition. In my last fights, I could have gone 10 or 12 rounds."
Still, Arreola admits the obvious: He hasn't always fought in the best of shape. Arreola looked winded and was dropped in the second round in a knockout win over
"People really haven't seen me in good shape," admitted Arreola. "I understand that. I created that by myself. There is no one else to blame but me."
In an effort to improve his conditioning Arreola has brought in personal trainer
"Sometimes he just takes a little more time off between fights than I would like," said Ramirez. "[But] he's peaking at the right time."
At least one member of Arreola's camp believes his renewed commitment has something to do with his opponent. "It's like being a reporter covering a story that you aren't that interested," said Arreola's promoter,
Against Klitschko, being at anything less than your best simply is not an option. The 6-foot-7 Ukrainian has won his last two fights since returning from a four-year layoff and has done so in spectacular fashion: an eight-round demolition of former champion
"All my career I have been a pressure fighter," said Arreola. "I know no other way to fight. People have tried to keep me at bay with their jab, but once I put that pressure on, there is only so much you can do. When I'm coming forward I'm going to hit you with everything [and] a few rounds later, you are going to be tired."
Some believe Klitschko's dominance over Peter, who's a brawling knock-out artist like Arreola, is proof the WBC champ will win this matchup. Not so, says Team Arreola.
"[Peter] didn't want to put that pressure," said Ramirez. "He would throw a jab but never follow up with anything to close that distance. Besides, Peter is more of a clubbing one-punch guy. Chris is a combination-punching fighter who is stubborn as hell and will not be jabbed to death. It's not going to happen."
"Chris always seemed to me to be a lightweight in a heavyweight body," said Goossen. "He will reel off combinations that you usually don't see that in a heavyweight. He won't stop throwing bombs."
Big punches: things every great heavyweight champ has in common.