WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko wanted to face contender Chris Arreola rather than his next opponent, 39-year-old former cruiserweight titleholder Jean Marc Mormeck, Klitschko’s trainer, Manny Steward, told RingTV.com.
Mormeck (36-4, 22 KOs) has won three straight heavyweight bouts since being dethroned as WBA and WBC cruiserweight beltholder in November of 2007 by David Haye (25-2, 23 KOs), whom he managed to score a knockdown against.
But he’s a small heavyweight at under six feet tall and fighting at around 215 pounds. The 35-year-old Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) stands 6-foot-6 and fights at around 245.
“Wladimir wanted to fight Arreola this fight here. That was his dream after the Haye fight to come back to America and to re-connect. But I talked to Arreola’s trainer, Henry Ramirez, and he said that they don’t want to be anywhere near Wladimir until 2012,” said Steward.
“So we had to go with this Mormeck, because nobody else wanted to fight Wladimir. So this is a stay-busy fight in December, but the real goal is to get Arreola probably in the first part of next year.”
Arreola (33-2, 28 KOs), who is scheduled to face an opponent to be determined on Nov. 5, has impressed Steward as of late, given his commitment to weight-loss and training under Henry Ramirez.
Arreola weighed 251, and, 250, respectively, during his only losses — a 10th-round knockout by 40-year-old WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs) in September 2009, and a majority decision to Tomasz Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) in April of last year.
But the 6-foot-4 Arreola has steadily dropped weight, tipping the scales at 236 pounds for each of his past two fights. Arreola has won five straight bouts, including three by knockout, and is coming off a unanimous decision over Friday Ahunanya in July.
“Vitali is a different type of fighter, bigger than Wladimir. Arreola throws a lot of punches and he’s the only guy that I think can crowd Wladimir and bring out the best in him. At his height, he’s just big enough and strong mentally to crowd Wladimir and make Wladimir come out of his comfort zone to fight him. Wladimir would have to fight a little bit,” said Steward said of Arreola.
“The target is Arreola. Wladimir is gung-ho for it … but they said that they didn’t want it. We’ve got to make sure that we don’t lose focus with Mormeck, you know, but he wants to do it at Madison Square Garden or some big arena like that.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org