It will be a good experience for Chris," says Arreola's trainer, Henry Ramirez. "We didn't plan it; it just worked out that way. McCline is definitely a step up in class. He's the kind of guy who at least people can recognize.
Wladimir Klitschko, who owns two of the four championship belts, is 6'6 ½" and has 46 knockouts among his 52 wins. Brother Vitali, who wears one of the other belts, is 6'7 ½" and counts 36 knockouts among 37 victories. Barking right at Arreola's heels is fellow unbeaten contender Alexander Dimitrenko, who is ranked in the top four of all the sanctioning bodies and is 6'7". Toss in Nikolai Valuev at seven feet and it's obvious that the 6'4" Arreola has a tall order in front of him.
So what's a little guy like the Arreola to do? A good first step would be for him to turn in an impressive performance against three-time title challenger McCline, who is a step up for Arreola, even at 38. Just a year and a half ago McCline demonstrated that he still has pop in his gloves when he knocked down the previously iron-chinned Samuel Peter three times before losing a unanimous decision.
"It will be a good experience for Chris," says Arreola's trainer, Henry Ramirez. "We didn't plan it; it just worked out that way. McCline is definitely a step up in class. He's the kind of guy who at least people can recognize."
Ironically, in order for Arreola (26-0, 23KOs) to beat the bigger men, he's going to have to get smaller. Critics of the Southern California-based Arreola dismiss him as a West Coast-hyped phenomenon whose problems with weight indicate a lack of commitment. One joke making the rounds is that Arreola may become the first boxer to have "over-under" wagering when he steps on the pre-fight scales.
Arreola is aware of the criticism, and admits he cannot beat fighters like the Klitschko brothers weighing 250 pounds—his weight in his last two fights. The need to lose weight hit home with a wallop when his last opponent, fellow contender Travis Walker, knocked him down for the first time in his career. Arreola bounced back from that second round knockdown to send Walker to the canvas three times en route to a third round TKO. But the lesson had been learned.
"Once I got hit and dropped, I said, 'What am I doing here?' They're raising my hands up, my boobs are jiggling and I'm thinking, 'I'm supposed to be an elite athlete.' I looked like a bum. Now it's time for me to step up and prove to those who thought I was a plodding heavyweight or a West Coast hype-job that I want to get to the Promised Land," says Arreola, who weighed 254 pounds against Walker and 258 ½ in the fight before that. "I realize this is no joke; it's time to play the part of a professional athlete."