Chris Arreola's disdain for training is only surpassed by his voracious appetite. And the heavyweight did himself no favors with his diet leading up to his fight Friday night against Curtis Harper at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Yet, he managed to outlast his opponent in an eight-round slugfest and win by unanimous decision in the first Premier Boxing Champions card on Spike TV.
Arreola sabotaged weeks of training in the mountains of Big Bear, California, when he overindulged on pizza to celebrate his 34th birthday on March 5 and continued to stuff himself in the days after that.
"I'm my own worst enemy. I like to eat, and when people tell me to do something, I do the opposite. That's my problem,” Arreola said. “My problem is that I don't give a damn about what anybody says.
“When we left Big Bear, we left at 251 [pounds] on Thursday. But it was my birthday, so I ate pizza. I couldn't go to a bar and drink, so I went to a pizzeria. I ate a lot of pizza the next day and the day after that."
Arreola (36-4, 31 KOs) weighed in at 262 pounds the day before his fight against Harper (12-4, 8 KOs), whom was floored in the first round but battled back to put the decision in the judges’ hands.
"I love the fact that he got up, and I love the fact we kept fighting. You've got to give him a lot of respect for getting up," said Arreola, who put his “optimum weight” at 235 to 240 pounds.
“It’s fun to fight in a fight like that. Do I wish that it had ended earlier? Hell yeah. I got hit, and there was a lot of banging going on, and I love that.”
It was Arreola’s first fight since having surgery on his left elbow in October. He said the elbow didn’t affect him in the ring Friday, but that his other arm was injured early in the bout.
"I could not throw the right hand anymore after the third round,” he said. “I was sporadic with it. I had to make sure that when I used it, that I used it right and with some kind of intent."
Arreola said he embraces his status as one of boxing’s biggest wild cards.
"The fans add a lot of motivation to me, hearing them chanting my name even when I got hit. You need fighters like me to get excited about,” he said.
"Even when fans say, ‘Man, I hate that guy because he talks a lot of trash,’ that's fine, because then they'll watch you. They'll buy tickets because they want to see me get my butt kicked. I'm happy when I give the fans what they want."