Major changes in Chris Arreola camp

Immediately after destroying Brian Minto in Atlantic City, N. J. on December 5, 2009, Chris Arreola (left) poses for a photo with his longtime trainer and confidant Henry Ramirez. Photo credit: Jim Wyatt

One of the most overused cliches in boxing is: Our fighter is at the crossroads of his career. What are they talking about? Every match is a make or break fight when competing in the combat sports. One stupid mistake and your career is over.


As of this writing, Cristobal Arreola, now 29-2-0, with 25 KOs, has less than 20 working days to prepare for Joey “Minnesota Ice” Abell (27-4-0, 26 KOs) for their scheduled 10-round main event on an ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights”, January 28th, at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.

Team Arreola finally realized how dire the situation is and went looking for additional help. Houston-based trainer Ronnie Shields, who worked with Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Tomasz Adamek, Pernell Whittaker, Kermit Cintron, Jesse James Leija, Raul Marquez, Juan Diaz, Meldrick Taylor and Vernon Forrest was  recruited to assist in the training of Arreola. As of Wednesday, Shields was sharing that responsibility with Arreola’s long time trainer Henry Ramirez.

As a boxer, Ronnie Shields had a stellar amateur career. He was the National Junior Olympics Featherweight champ in 1974, the National Golden Gloves Featherweight champ in 1975 and in 1976 and 1978 the National Golden Gloves Light welterweight champ. As a pro he fought for the title twice but lost.

According sources, Shields contacted Al Haymon a couple of months ago about possibly working with Arreola and then Haymon called him back a few days ago to let Shields know Chris would be on a plane to see him. Their first workout took place on Wednesday. The change of scenery might be the best thing that ever happened to Arreola, who has been widely criticized for his obvious lack of commitment to training and conditioning.

After working the mitts and watching Arreola workout, Shields talked with Henry and went over what he saw as deficiencies. In addition to adding Shields they hired Brian Caldwell to handle Arreola’s conditioning.

“I see a lot of potential in Chris,” said Shields, “but the truth is he is his own worst enemy. I told him I’m not here to put pressure on you; I’m here to help. I’m going to work side by side with Henry on trying to get Chris into position to once again challenge for a world title — and possibly win it.”

The Arreola-Abell main event and co-feature pitting Michael Dallas, Jr. (17-0-1, 7 KOs) versus Josesito Lopez (28-3-0, 16 KOs) will be televised live on ESPN2′s “Friday Night Fights” (7 p.m. PT). As far as the impact Shields and Caldwell can make on Arreola’s career, we’ll see come January 28th.

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