He calls himself "The Nightmare," and never has a nickname been more appropriate.
From a strictly talent standpoint, we are talking about a man who should be eating up boxing's most glorious and storied weight class. Arreola, a 28-year-old Riverside, Calif., native, possesses one of his sport's most destructive left hooks, as well as a TNT-loaded jab. He is light on his feet, quick with his hands and blessed with a natural talent that leaves trainers and promoters drooling with envy.
And yet, Chris Arreola -- the 6-foot-4 Buff Love of boxing -- is a joke. An enormous, not-especially-funny joke.
In the aftermath of his latest fight, a fourth-round TKO of little-known
By Alberto's, Arreola is not referring to the home of one
Hence, the man who stands before us as, in the words of
That was nothing, however, compared to his fight with Minto, a gritty, flat-topped 34-year-old journeyman out of Butler, Pa. Four weeks ago, Minto was resting at home when he received a phone call from his agent,
Minto knew of Arreola's skill and hype and pizzazz -- and yawned. He also was certainly aware of why Arreola's people thought he would be an ideal opponent: Coming off of the Klitschko humiliation, The Nightmare wanted an easy bounce-back fight. At 5-10 and 218 pounds, with a 34-2 record against a largely unimpressive gaggle of opponents (Where have you gone,
There was just one thing: Minto doesn't like Alberto's. Or Burger King. Or McDonald's. When he trains, he trains hard. When he punches, he does so with all his might. A former linebacker at Slippery Rock University, Minto dropped out of college in 1995, then took a job in Butler working as a cable TV lineman. He began boxing as a means to staying in shape, competed in the local Golden Gloves competition ("I made regionals," he says. "That was cool."), then turned professional in November 2002 -- at the
He fights to feed his wife and two young children, but also because he remembers what it was like to grow up poor and hungry. Minto was raised by his single mother,
Minto was hoping for yet another God-impacted moment last Saturday, when he glanced toward Arreola and saw a moon-blocking mountain of protoplasm. "I knew it would be a challenge," he says. "But I had a chance."
"Well," he says. "The guy can fight, but he doesn't respect the sport. Look at him -- he needs to work hard, but it doesn't look like he really does. No respect. So maybe he wouldn't respect me either."
As an undercard event for the big
"Brian Minto," he said, "is one tough mofo. He really is."
And Chris Arreola is one gifted mofo. He really is.
Now if only he could stay away from the chips and salsa.