Chris Arreola is three days away from an HBO fight with Bermane Stiverne, and the 32-year-old Mexican-American heavyweight brawler says that he's kept his weight under control recently, never allowing himself to get over 255 pounds.
In the past, Arreola says he would balloon up and turn his training camps into "fat camp," which didn't allow him to get as much done as he needed on the boxing side. In an ESPN chat, Arreola talked about some of those issues:
"My ideal weight is no higher than 245 and no lower than 239. But not only do I watch my weight during training, but as a "veteran" I watch my weight all the time. I don't want to go over 255. Even just between fights. I didn't watch my weight at times and I ballooned up to 295 before the Klitchsko fight. That was so stupid and embarrassing.
"... The main thing that's improved is what's between my ears, what's in my head. Before people would tell me that I was the best. I believed in my own hype, that I was King Ding-a-Ling. But now I know I have to fight. That's the biggest thing, between my ears.
"... I gotta stay in the gym. I have to train. I can't let myself balloon. I did it again with Tomasz (Adamek). I got up to 280. That's not professional. That's not showing that I love boxing. I got my eyes opened to a lot of things."
Arreola (35-2, 30 KO) stayed active in the ring to help himself stay on weight, fighting six times between January 2011 and February 2012, but he hasn't fought since then, and his last bout was a first round knockout of Eric Molina. Arreola hasn't gone past three rounds since July 2011, when he beat Friday Ahunanya over 10.
He says that right now, he's about 247 or 248 pounds. He's stopped making jokes about burritos and Corona, stopped trying to laugh off the obvious weight issues that limited him in the past, and seems truly focused. Shots from his training camp show him in pretty good shape, looking healthy. He's always going to be "jiggly," but jiggle itself was never the problem. He doesn't need abs, he just can't try to losing 30-40 pounds every time he gets ready to fight, and he sounds like he's got that under control now.
Does Arreola have a shot at sort of "redeeming" himself for his past losses, which can be at least somewhat blamed on conditioning? Or is he simply a second-tier heavyweight, though arguably the most fun of the bunch?