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Vitali Klitschko vs Cris Arreola for WBC Heavyweight Title

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One glance at Vitali Klitschko's resume and you might think he's a college professor, a diplomat, a businessman or a politician.

•He holds a PhD in sports medicine and philosophy;

•He speaks four languages (Ukrainian, Russian, German and English);

RUMBLE: Klitschko, Arreola set to fight

•He and his brother Wladimir work for the UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which supports more than 180 projects in 87 countries.

•He twice ran for mayor of Kiev, Ukraine, has been a member of the city council there, and represents the country at many social and political events;


•He and Wladimir have established funds to support young talented sportsmen and sportswomen, and underprivileged kids, and to help young people learn about AIDS and drug abuse;

•He eventually wants to run for high office, maybe even president, in Ukraine.

There are a couple other items on his resume, however, that give away his true calling:

•He's got a powerful right hand that has KO'd 36 of the 37 opponents he's beaten in the ring;

•He's 6-7½, sculpted like Adonis and in tremendous physical condition, and. . .

•He's the WBC heavyweight champion of the world with a nickname befitting of his educational and ring status — "Dr. Ironfist."

And Dr. Klitschko will put his title on the line Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles (HBO, 10 p.m., with a replay of the Mayweather-Marquez fight from last weekend shown first) against undefeated Mexican-American Cristobal Arreola, who will attempt to become the first fighter of Mexican descent to become a heavyweight champion.

The fighters weighed nearly the same during the weigh-in Thursday. Arreola was a trim — for him — 251 pounds, and Klitschko tipped the scales at 252. However, Klitschko is more than three inches taller than Arreola.

Klitschko is 38, but prefers not to dwell on age. He's proud of his great physical condition, and feels completely healthy for the first time in a long time, after several years fighting nagging injuries. In fact, the only two losses of his career — to Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis— came in fights that had to be stopped because of injuries to Klitschko, each time when he was leading on the scorecards.

He says his four years away from competitive fighting — he retired nearly a year after knocking out Danny Williams in December 2004 — have rejuvenated him and make him feel much younger, and fresher, than his years.

"I feel like 20-25," Klitschko says. "Sometimes I look back and say, 'wow, I'm 38,' But I have great feeling. I don't feel old, especially the last year, my body played with me, no injuries, and without (injuries) I can show it in my performance."

When Klitschko — who was once a kickboxing champion before he decided to focus solely on boxing — is not training for a fight, or involved with his numerous business, political and social interests, he loves to stay active.

"I like basketball, I like volleyball and I like windsurfing, and I like so many different sports," he says. "The last time I played basketball was a couple months ago before I went into preparation for the fight."

Klitschko has trained for the Arreola fight in Los Angeles, where he now resides much of the time with his wife and three children.

His trainer, Fritz Sdunek, says Los Angeles is probably the best place for Klitschko to train.

"We had a great training camp and we went swimming at UCLA," Sdunek said. "We're really looking forward to Saturday night. Vitali is in great shape and didn't have any injuries while training. We'll probably see a knockout on Saturday night."

And if, as expected, he does win Saturday, will there ever be a showdown with brother Wladimir — who holds several heavyweight belts — to unite the heavyweight title? Vitali is weary of the question, but leaves the door cracked ever so slightly.

"To be honest," he says, "I don't know that I'd want to fight someone as strong as my brother. Nothing is impossible in life, but the main goal in boxing is to put your opponent on the floor as soon as possible. Can you imagine punching your mother, punching your father?

(Wladimir) is not just my brother, he's my closest friend, he's the closest person to me in the world. It's difficult to understand how I can fight against my brother."

He hesitates a bit, then says, "I'm not ready to anwer that question."

Unbeaten American Chris Arreola has vowed there will be a "changing of the guard" when he faces WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on Saturday.

Arreola meets Klitschko at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and is confident of defeating the champion.

The 38-year-old Klitschko has 37 wins and two defeats in his career and has never been knocked to the canvas.

"I'm going to win it, it's going to be my time," said Arreola, 28, after Friday's weigh-in.

Klitschko tipped the scales at 18 stone while Arreola came in marginally lighter at 17st 13lb.
    
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"I am always in shape," said Klitschko.

"It is never tough to get in shape. I don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs. I always maintain my fitness.

"If I find the mistake in the defence of Arreola, I will send him to the floor."

But Arreolo, who is hoping to become the first Mexican-American to win a major heavyweight title, is sure he will beat the champion.

"It's not going to go far, plain and simple," Arreola said.

"It is going to be a knockout fight and it is going to be exciting. I am going to bring emotion and determination to win the title for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans to celebrate. That is my goal."

Klitschko last fought in March stopping Juan Carlos Gomez in the ninth round while Arreola secured a fourth-round knockout victory over Jameel McCline in April.



Chris Arreola had no problem shedding a few extra pounds for this fight.

Arreola weighed in at a surprisingly slim 251 pounds Thursday for his WBC heavyweight championship bout against Vitali Klitschko, but only after briefly fooling the crowd gathered in anticipation of his first title shot.

Arreola (27-0, 24 KOs) poked fun at his reputation for a paunchy physique when he mounted the scale outside Staples Center with his shirt on, registering at 277 pounds. Arreola then removed his shirt to reveal a large weight vest, taking it off to reveal a considerably fitter build than he's showed in his past few fights.

Although both fighters live in Southern California, Arreola was the favorite of a small but vocal crowd hoping he'll become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion.

"You guys are going to be proud of heavyweights for once," Arreola told the crowd. "We're going to put on a show, and it's going to be great. It's not going to be just a wildman, caveman type of fight."

Arreola hasn't weighed in below 254 pounds for a fight in 15 months, and his belly has been used against him to suggest he wasn't serious about training. When he signed for a title shot, Arreola hired a strength and conditioning coach and rededicated himself to transforming his body.

Though he still isn't exactly slim, trainer Henry Ramirez believes the power-punching East Los Angeles native is in the best physical shape of his career. Arreola has gone the distance just once in his 27 pro fights, also winning two disqualifications.

Klitschko (37-2, 36 KOs), who is favored to defend his belt in Saturday's fight, was joined on the podium by his younger brother, Wladimir, the IBF and WBO champion. Vitali Klitschko weighed in at 252 pounds — the heaviest weight of the Ukrainian champion's career by 2 pounds — with a more sculpted build.

The 38-year-old Klitschko is headed into his third bout back from an injury absence of nearly four years. He hasn't lost since his title fight with Lennox Lewis was stopped because of a cut despite Klitschko's lead on the scorecards in June 2003 at Staples Center.

 

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