Travel back to April 2009: the fourth Fast & Furious movie had been out for only a couple of weeks, Apple was set to soon release the third incarnation of the iPhone and a young, 28-year-old Chris Arreola was on the doorstep of a world title opportunity.
Stepping foot into the hallowed ground of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where many of boxing’s biggest fights took place, Arreola faced Jameel McCline, a 38-year-old fighter who has faced some of the best heavyweights of his time, but with no world title to show for even after several championship opportunities. Arreola knocked him out in four rounds and moved on to have his first world title shot later that year against Vitali Klitschko.
But like McCline’s career, Arreola has also faced several notable heavyweights and yet was unsuccessful in his multiple attempts at winning a world title through the years, failing in three attempts. Now fast forward 10 years after that encounter against McCline and now Arreola finds himself as the grizzled, old veteran looking for one more shot at glory facing a younger, hungry and unbeaten rising contender in Adam Kownacki.
Now 38 years old and on his last legs, Arreola knows the irony is not lost on him when it comes to how this fight is on paper and how similar the circumstances are back in 2009. Yet, even recognizing the similarities in both fights, Arreola is fully intent on avoiding history repeating itself.
“Yeah it’s kind of like the circle of life, everything goes around and comes full circle. I was once the young lion and now I’m the old veteran. That’s exactly how I feel. I feel like Jameel McCline. But the thing about it is that I feel like I’m in great shape. I’m ready to put on a great show,” Arreola told Fightful in a recent media call.
Arreola is looking for one more chance at a world title before calling it quits for good, but in a loaded heavyweight, he knows that one misstep means the end for him. With Kownacki being regarded as a borderline top 10 heavyweight and ranked in the top six by both the WBC and IBF, a win for Arreola immediately puts him back in the mix for a fourth and final opportunity to win a world title.
When Arreola first returned to the ring last December after a two-year absence from the sport, he made a vow that he would retire if he lost one more time. Nearly nine months later and Arreola is still operating under that same mindset.
“No disrespect to anybody and to Adam, but personally, if I lose this fight, there’s no reason for me to be in boxing anymore. I’m in boxing to be a champion and if I lose, it brings me all the way to the bottom. I can’t keep going all the way back up from the bottom. I’m too old to be doing that. It’s a make or break kind of fight, win or go home. I know Adam has great intentions to retire me, but I’m not planning to retire soon. I know Adam worked hard tp get me out of boxing, but I worked hard as well," Arreola said.
Even after wars against the likes of Deontay Wilder, Bermane Stiverne and Klitschko, Arreola believes he is in great shape. Though, despite knowing what losing at this stage of his career means for him, Arreola is confident of not only giving back the sport one more entertaining scrap but also a potential upset that may eventually result in him getting one more shot at championship gold.
“This is just another great chapter of my boxing career. I honestly believe that Adam is a great fight, a really good fighter, but I would rather keep my career going," Arreola said.
Kownacki vs. Arreola will headline the August 2 PBC on FOX card from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Also on tab for the card is Marcus Browne vs. Jean Pascal for the interim WBA light heavyweight title and Curtis Stevens vs. Wale Omotoso.
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