Many ringside journalists said they thought the Vitali of the last two fights looked even stronger than the Vitali before the 3½ years' retirement.
But at 38 and having recently returned from an extended layoff, Klitschko is focusing on his own strengths. "He's mentally very strong and he's physically very strong," said Boente of his fighter. "Many ringside journalists said they thought the Vitali of the last two fights looked even stronger than the Vitali before the 3½ years' retirement."
While that may seem like hyperbole, Klitschko has been making a strong case. In his first fight back, in October last year, Klitschko reclaimed his old title by picking apart a slow, plodding Samuel Peter in Berlin, forcing the big-punching Nigerian to retire on his stool at the end of the eighth round. Three years earlier, Peter had dropped Klitschko's younger brother, Wladimir, three times en route to a 12-round points defeat.
In March, Klitschko cemented his comeback by overpowering Cuba's former cruiserweight champion Juan Carlos Gomez in nine rounds in Stuttgart to improve his record to 37-2 (36 KOs).
This time, Klitschko knows it won't be nearly as straightforward. "Vitali thinks that Arreola is stronger than Peter and Gomez," admitted Boente. "Gomez was a very good technical fighter but he's not a puncher at all. Samuel Peter never had the chance to even touch Vitali. [Arreola] is definitely stronger."
Boente says Klitschko's confidence is now back where it was before his retirement, during which he pursued business and political careers that remain important to him.
"The first fight after the lay-off was very important because there were many question marks," said Boente. "I'm pretty sure that Vitali had his doubts. You never know how good you are. He looked very good in sparring, but sparring is a different story than the actual fight. Now it's a different thing. He's already had two fights since the lay-off and now he feels very good and definitely is very confident."
The Klitschkos have emerged from a contentious past few months during which they were both scheduled to fight the Englishman David Haye in Germany. After pulling out of a June 20 bout with Wladimir claiming injury, Haye then walked away from a September 12 fight with Vitali and instead signed to meet the giant Russian Nicolay Valuev for the WBA title on November 7.
But Boente insists Haye is now off the agenda and out of their heads. "We never think about that," he said. "That's past and now we're looking to the future — and the future is not a future with David Haye. Personally, I even doubt that he shows up against Valuev."
If Haye does show up and he wins, Boente says he may still not be part of the Klitschkos' plans, even though he would hold a rival world title. "It doesn't matter for us," said Boente. "The goal was always to be the heavyweight champion at the same time. They are and the goal is fulfilled. They reached their dream and that's it.
"To have the WBA belt, or not, doesn't matter any more. That is an organization that had two heavyweight champions at the same time. Nobody could understand it. Wladimir holds three belts. The IBO belt, I have to say, is very important for all of us. Vitali's the WBC champion and they fulfilled their goal."
It's clearly not enough for the elder Klitschko, who is putting his title and his reputation on the line against a challenger 11 years his junior—on foreign turf. "Vitali likes to compete on a high level," said Boente. "That is the most important thing. The motivation is to be back in the U.S. again, to have a big audience, to fight at Staples against an American."
Although Arreola will start as the betting underdog, he will be the hometown favorite. But Boente insisted: "To Vitali, it doesn't matter. I asked him before and he said the ring is always four corners wherever you put it up."