On Saturday, March 9, Riverside's Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) takes on the heavy-hitting Haitian Bermane "B. Ware" Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs) in a heavyweight battle with the winner guaranteed to fight for the WBC Heavyweight World Championship in his next bout. Both Arreola and Stiverne will look to put their power on display to take that next step toward history.
"Boxing fans can look forward to an exciting night of action on HBO® with the heavyweight showdown between Cristobal Arreola and Bermane Stiverne," said Kery Davis, Senior Vice President of Programming, HBO® Sports.
The Arreola-Stiverne fight shapes up as a bout unlikely to go the distance given the knockout rates of both combatants. Arreola, 31, has stopped all but five of his 35 victims, while the 34-year old Stiverne - whose only loss on his impressive record came more than five years and 11 fights ago - has allowed only two of his 22 conquests to hear the final bell.
The co-featured bout is a rematch between two-time World Champion Juan Carlos Salgado (26-1-1, 16 KOs) of Mexico City against the #1 world contender and mandatory challenger, Argenis Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs) of the Dominican Republic in a 12-round IBF Jr. Lightweight World Championship bout.
An injury earlier this year limited Arreola's activity in 2012 to one fight - a first round KO of Eric Molina in February. Stiverne matched Arreola's 2012 bouts posting a win (via unanimous decision) against Willie Herring in April.
"Prior to Chris' injury, he kept a very unheard of pace for a heavyweight, registering five wins in 2011 and a February bout in 2012. This is the type of determination Chris has shown fighting his way back to his goal of becoming heavyweight world champion," his promoter, Goossen Tutor's Dan Goossen said. "He's been incredible staying in the gym and keeping his weight under control. I've said for years he's one of the most exciting fighters in the world, and now with his desire to be in tip-top shape, he's now one of the most dangerous fighters today."
The always-entertaining Arreola was thrilled to learn the fight will be in front of his hometown fans in California, "I'm going to make 2013 my year. I'm thrilled to be back on HBO and fighting someone worthy and good in Stiverne. He's a tough fighter but my will and strength will break him down. I'm not going to let anyone stand in my way!"
An irritated Stiverne said about the fight with Arreola, "It should have been done a long time ago." "I don't know what he's been doing besides running from me. I'm looking forward to the fight. He is nothing that I can't deal with. I'll get the job done. I'm not concerned about a knockout. We have a plan that we want to execute. If the knockout comes, it comes."
"It'll be a great fight between Arreola and Stiverne," Stiverne's promoter, Don King, predicted. "It's the next step in bringing the world championship back to America. The fight is a must see."
Back on September 10, 2011, Salgado was on the winning end of what many thought was a very tough bout against Mendez for the vacant IBF title in Mexico.
The victory over Mendez made Salgado a two-time world champion previously winning the title in 2009 over then undefeated Jorge Linares with a devastating first round knockout. His reign was short-lived the first time around when he lost his belt in his first defense against Takashi Uchiyama, the still reigning world champion.
Salgado said, "I'm excited to defend my title in California. Mendez has been doing a lot of talking but it won't help him when I beat him for a second time on March 9."
Salgado's promoter, Oswaldo Kuchle of Promociones del Pueblo, said of their first fight, "Salgado-Mendez I was a thriller. The 12th round was a historic round, and I can't wait to see round 1 of the rematch." "Both fighters fought their hearts out, and now, besides the IBF belt on the line, they've made it personal, especially knowing the winner will be on the road to huge fights in this division."
Mendez gets his second shot at the title after soundly beating Martin Honorio for the #1 rating in the IBF and the mandatory shot at Salgado and is anxious to start the bout from the end of the first fight with Salgado when he scored a knockdown in the 12th round but was unable to finish the job.
"I let Salgado off the hook last fight and I won't make the same mistake again. I will make sure that the belt is around my waist at the end this time. The people of the Dominican Republic will have a new champion come March 9th," stated the confident challenger.
"Boxing fans love the heavyweights and we have two of the best and biggest knockout punchers in the business going toe-to-toe," Goossen stated. "Chris is determined to become the first world heavyweight champion of Mexican descent. And with Salgado-Mendez, you have two of the top Junior Lightweights in a rematch that was a thriller the first time around. It will be a great night of fights at The Hangar."
The event is being promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions. The Arreola-Stiverne bout is presented in association with Don King Productions and the Salgado vs. Mendez bout in association with Promociones del Pueblo and Acquinity Sports. The event is sponsored by Corona.
The Arreola-Stiverne showdown will be televised on HBO® World Championship Boxing at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT. This will also mark the first HBO® boxing event to be held at the world-famous Orange County Fairgrounds & Event Center, home to the newly built 23,000 square foot building The Hangar. Tickets priced at $250, $150, and $75 and will go on sale Friday, January 25 at 8 a.m. online at www.fightcluboc.com and firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 818-817-8001.