Former world heavyweight title challenger Chris Arreola has returned to boxing for one last chance at winning a title.
The 38-year-old Arreola has fallen short on three separate occasions, losing to the likes of Bermane Stiverne, Vitali Klitschko and Deontay Wilder and after his loss to Wilder in 2016, Arreola stopped fighting for two years. It was only up until a few months ago that Arreola made his return last December.
But instead of being in a marquee fight, Arreola fought journeyman Maurenzo Smith in an untelevised fight right after Wilder had his heavyweight title classic against Tyson Fury at Staples Center. When asked by Fightful in a recent conference call how it felt returning to the ring after not fighting for so long, Arreola said it felt great to fight again, but called the circumstances and environment he fought in very humbling.
"I was actually the 'main' main event that night. I was literally the last fight while the people were putting their chairs up and stuff like that so it was a very, very humbling experience. It was nice being backstage and watching everybody fight. The atmosphere, I missed the whole atmosphere, the whole comradery that people had in the backstage. It felt great being back in the ring, man. I didn't feel any ring rust. I felt the one thing that I did feel the most is the excitement, all the commotion, all the people and so I was more than ready and happy to fight that day," Arreola said.
But even as Arreola, a perennial fan favorite for years, is hoping for one more shot at gold, he is fighting in a heavyweight climate that is filled with top stars. Wilder is likely facing Dominic Breazeale next May. Fury, the lineal heavyweight champion, has an ESPN debut set in the next few months and unified champion Anthony Joshua is making his U.S. debut on June 1 against Jarrell Miller.
Arreola, who is fighting Jean Pierre Augustin on March 16, understands that he is at the point of his career where he one more slip up could mean the end for him. Although Arreola said he feels great, he understands he's on his last run to fight and win a championship.
"Absolutely. So I am approaching 40 years old, but I had two years off and in between I took some time off, so I don't feel like I'm so much of a beam or a worn fighter. This is my last title run. This is my absolutely last title run and I have to make it count. I'm in boxing again to leave a legacy and to leave something behind. I don't want to go out the way I did in my last fight against Wilder. So yes. I'm chasing the title. This is my last title run and I'm going to give you hell. I'm working my butt off because hey, it's better late than never," Arreola said.
Arreola's fight against Augustin will be the opening fight of the pay-per-view portion of the March 16 PBC card from AT&T Stadium in Dallas. The main event is Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia for the IBF welterweight title. You can check out Arreola's comments in the video at the top of the page.