Yuma High alum Victor Arreola's been wrapping his wrists for over a decade as an amateur and has finally decided to take the next step in his boxing career.
Arreola is making his professional debut today in the heavyweight showdown against Bobby Lopez in the Mayhem in Mesa War.
Arreola has over 60 amateur fights under his belt, but as Arreola and his trainer Gary Diaz will attest to, going pro is a different kind of monster.
“The difference is sitting down and landing the shots correctly,” Diaz said. “Trying to land the big shots to hurt the person. As an amateur, we're trying to score a lot of points, land a lot of contact just to score points. Pro, we focus on the liver, the pancreas, the kidneys and the jaw to knock them out and the temple.
“It's a whole different art. In the pros it changes to actually dissecting the guy while he's still awake. It's a sweet science.”
According to the International Boxing Association, “Each blow, to have a scoring value, must, without being blocked or guarded, land directly with the knuckle part of the closed glove of either hand on any part of the front or sides of the head or body above the belt.”
In other words, if you knock down a fighter, it's worth just as many points as if tapped him on the chest.
For Arreola, the switch to the professional ranks hasn't been too big a deal.
“I've always had a pro style. If you watch the Olympics, it's really boring. Even in the Olympics, if you knock a guy down, it doesn't mean that you won that round. It means you just got a point because you landed a punch. That guy can get up, hit you three more times, and he won the round. I never really liked it. The pros are a little bit more about who's doing the more damage, who's the aggressive fighter and that's how my style's always been.”
Arreola got that Olympic experience when he fought in the 2008 Olympic trials in Salt Lake City. He fell short, losing his fight in a decision, but took a lot away from the experience.
“I've been to a lot of tournaments before, but there was a lot of talent there. They would have, I think, two or three rings, and there was a match going on in each one and every guy was just talented. They were trying to make the Olympics and everyone was trying their hardest.
“You really learn from stuff like that when you go to tournaments like that. You see guys from all over the country, it was really a good eye-opener.”
Going pro is something Arreola's always thought about, but it was Diaz who really started pushing him after the Olympics.
“He's been there doing it all his life and he knows the sport like the back of his hand,” Diaz said. “It's not going to be easy but with the right guidance, the right team and sponsors behind us, I think he can be one of the best in his division.”
That first test will come against Lopez, who is also new to the pro ranks. Lopez is 1-0 in his brief professional career but lacks the extensive amateur background that Arreola possesses.
“We haven't seen too much of him,” Diaz said. “We just know he's a taller, stronger fighter. He doesn't have much background. We know he's sparred with a couple of guys and they've told us a few things but they're over from that area in Phoenix. (Lopez) is from Tucson and they think very highly of him as the next great kid and we're going to spoil it. That's our job.”