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Arreola gets first top billing

September 21, 2007|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

His promoter predicts he'll be the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world, but before he gets there, Riverside's Chris Arreola is fighting tonight in the first main event of his young career.

Arreola, 26, will try to extend his streak of nine consecutive victories by knockout or technical knockout when he fights Chicago's Thomas Hayes (27-1, 19 knockouts) in the headline bout of a card at the Ontario DoubleTree Hotel that will be televised by Spanish language Telefutura.

"It's been a long time coming getting to a main event, and hopefully it won't be my last," said Arreola, who is 21-0 with 19 knockouts.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Arreola is fighting for the fourth time this year after two technical knockout victories in Las Vegas and July's first-round knockout of Derek Berry at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

If he should win tonight in a fight for the World Boxing Council's Continental Americas heavyweight championship, Arreola said he would intensify his lobbying to land on the undercard of the sold-out Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Ricky Hatton welterweight pay-per-view fight Dec. 8 in Las Vegas. Arreola's manager, Al Haymon, also manages Mayweather.

"I want to keep impressing people, and get a bigger following," Arreola said.

Dan Goossen, Arreola's promoter, has similar plans, describing the WBC's 10th-ranked heavyweight contender as a "fast-charging guy in the ring who shows you exactly what enthralled us with Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson."

Arreola has only watched some old videos of Hayes. He said he expects his opponent to "come at me like Mike Tyson" because Tyson's former trainer Kevin Rooney used to train Hayes.

The critics of Arreola say he too often forgets defense in favor of seeking knockouts. "The best defense is a good offense, and [Arreola] typifies that statement," Goossen said.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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