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November 26, 2014

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Boxing:

Prospect’s personality matches his punches

Arreola scores most significant win with stoppage of McCline

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Steve Marcus

NABF heavyweight champ Chris Arreola celebrates his fourth-round KO victory over Jameel McCline Saturday night.

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Chris Arreola (left) celebrates as referee Tony Weeks counts out Jameel McCline after he was knocked out in the fourth round of their heavyweight title fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 11, 2009.

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Chris Arreola (right) connects on Jameel McCline, both of the U.S., during a heavyweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 11, 2009.

Chris Arreola sure didn’t look like a guy who only hours earlier secured a spot as the No.1 contender to Vitali Klitschko’s WBC heavyweight title.

Instead the Los Angeles native seemed like most other young men enjoying a night on the town in Las Vegas.

“I like to have fun too,” said Arreola, who had already switched out his ring shirt for a white button-down one and was busy sharing laughs with a small entourage as he left an eatery inside the Mandalay Bay early Sunday morning.

Arreola’s trainer, Henry Ramirez, says the heavyweight’s personality, which is as powerful as any of his punches, is what really makes the 28-year-old stand out.

“He’s just a big kid,” Ramirez said. “He likes to have fun and I really think that is what keeps the pressure from getting to him.”

Arreola, an avid video game player, will probably want to pick up a few more titles in the next couple days because the pressure will only increase after his quick victory over Jameel McCline Saturday night.

The undefeated Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs) stopped McCline in the fourth round Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, securing the top prospect his most significant victory to date and the NABF championship belt on his waist.

“I took good punches, and I gave some good punches,” Arreola said. “I want to fight the best. I want to convince the fans that I can fight the best, but in order to fight the best, I have to fight who’s currently best, and I believe Jameel McCline is.”

While McCline (39-10-3) has fought for four heavyweight titles, Arreola’s critics see him as little more than a 38-year-old veteran who came out of retirement six weeks ago.

But McCline, who has lost four of his last five fights, insisted he didn’t take the fight just for the payday.

“He beat me. Is he blazing? No, but he beat me,” said McCline, who couldn’t reach his feet before referee Tony Weeks finished his 10-count 2:01 into the fourth.

“What right do I have to say he isn’t blazing?”

Arreola, whose last seven fights haven’t lasted past the fourth round, said he made a statement during the co-main event on a card that saw Paul Williams make his own statement with a dominant victory over Winky Wright.

“I do my talking with my fists and I think I spoke pretty loudly tonight,” he said.

Whether that translates into a future match with Vitali Klitschko, or his brother, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, Arreola says he’s not sure.

"I will fight whomever they want me to fight," Arreola said. "I want the best. If they tell me I'm ready to fight Klitschko, I'll fight him. If not, I'll fight someone else."

But Arreola said he will leave the negotiating to his promoter Dan Goossen.

“We got a lot of excitement in the future. We will sit down and explore any type of deal that makes sense,” Goossen said. “We don’t think there is a heavyweight in the world that can beat Cristobal Arreola.

“He’s gonna make history.”

Arreola talked about how he wants to be the Mexican equivalent to Jack Johnson.

“I want to make everybody proud, not just my Mexican people, but all my American fans too,” said Arreola, who is aiming to be the first man of Mexican heritage to win a heavyweight title.

“I want to be the Mexican Jack Johnson.”

Andy Samuelson can be reached at [email protected] or 702-948-7837.

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