Heavyweight Chris Arreola, whose three stoppage losses all came in world title fights, is aiming for one more shot in the twilight of his career, but he said if he cannot defeat rising contender Adam Kownacki in their crossroads fight Saturday, he will retire from boxing.
"No disrespect to anybody, no disrespect to Adam because I think he's a great fighter, but personally, man, if I lose there's no reason for me to be in the sport of boxing," Arreola said in a teleconference Tuesday with boxing reporters. "I'm in boxing to be a champion and if I lose it brings me all the way back to the bottom, and I don't want to keep crawling back up. I'm too old to be doing that, man.
"So it's a make-or-break kind of fight. It's a win-or-go-home thing, and I know Adam has intentions to retire me, and I'm not planning to retire no time soon. I know Adam worked his butt off to get me out of this boxing, but I worked hard myself."
Kownacki and Arreola will meet in a scheduled 12-round fight that will headline a Premier Boxing Champions tripleheader (Fox and Fox Deportes, 8 p.m. ET) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Kownacki's hometown.
"Absolutely, this is my last chance, man," Arreola said. "This is my last chance not because the media or anything like that. This is my last chance because I say so. You know, if I lose, I go home, no matter if it's a great fight, or great event, or it's a [fight that] could have gone either way, plain and simple. I lose it, I go home. I stay home. One-and-done, no more. So this is my added motivation. This is all I want. This is what I'm living for."
Arreola (38-5-1, 33 KOs), 38, of Riverside, California, had bid to become the first Mexican heavyweight world titleholder before Andy Ruiz Jr. accomplished the feat with his massive upset seventh-round knockout of Anthony Joshua on June 1. But Arreola could never quite get over the hump in his three chances.
In 2009, he suffered a 10th-round knockout loss to Vitali Klitschko in is first world title opportunity when Arreola's then-trainer, Henry Ramirez, threw in the towel to stop the battering.
After Klitschko retired, Arreola got another opportunity and met Bermane Stiverne in a rematch for the vacant belt, but Stiverne knocked him down twice and stopped him in the sixth round in 2014.
And in 2016, Arreola got a shot at Deontay Wilder but got dropped in the fourth round and eventually knocked out in the eighth round of a one-sided fight.
After the loss to Wilder, Arreola did not announce his retirement, but he did not fight again for 2½ years until returning in December 2018. He has notched two knockout wins in a row on the comeback trail, including in the third round against then-unbeaten Jean Pierre Augustin on March 16 on the Errol Spence Jr.-Mikey Garcia pay-per-view undercard.
Now Arreola goes in as the underdog against Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs), 30, a Poland native who moved to New York when he was 7.
"I don't even pay attention to the odds, to be honest with you," Arreola said. "But my only ... my main motivation is win or go home. My motivation is to keep fighting, to keep putting food on my family's table, keep making a living off of boxing. That's my motivation. No disrespect to oddsmakers or anything like that, but, you know, like [former world titleholder and top trainer Roger] Mayweather said, 'They don't know s--- about boxing.'"