Danny Trejo, Ruiz-Arreola & The Fighting Mexican Spirit

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The legendary Mexican-American actor can't wait to see what Mexico's two greatest heavyweights produce Saturday night on FOX Sports PPV.


“I want to be there,” says Danny Trejo of the upcoming Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Chris Arreola fight. Everyone should tune in, says the iconic Hollywood star of Saturday night’s heavyweight showdown which airs on FOX Sports pay-per-view (9p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).  

Trejo is considered one of the best character actors in recent years. He was born to Mexican-American parents in Los Angeles—and like so many proud Mexican and Mexican-Americans, he has a deep boxing background, which he writes about in his upcoming autobiography, Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood

It was because of boxing, Trejo says, that his Hollywood career began. A lightweight and welterweight prison boxing champion, he trained at the famed Main Street Gym under Howie Steindler and sparred with the likes of Bobby Chacon and Mando Ramos. 

“I saw Mando get the better of Mantequilla Napoles,” Trejo said. Chacon was a great puncher, he mentioned. But Ruben Olivares hit him so hard, “I’m not so sure we sparred,” he recalled with a loud laugh. “I think it was a left hook.” 

Trejo reminisced for several minutes about the boxers he has seen over the years, dropping the names of famed Mexican boxers from the past, like Chango Casanova. Andy Ruiz Jr. and Chris Arreola are among his favorites. “I know both of them. I love them, they are awesome guys and great fighters. They just have to train harder.” 

Trejo believes Ruiz should still be champion, that Saturday’s all-Mexican battle should have been a title fight. “I love Andy to death but, when I saw that picture of his new Rolls Royce, I knew he was going to lose.” 

It is a trend Trejo has witnessed since the late Sixties, when his own application for a professional boxing license was turned down because of his rap sheet. “Winners attract losers,” he said with emphasis. “I’ve seen it a million times. Whenever a guy’s rep got out, the vatos would wait for them outside of the Main Street Gym to take them out drinking.” 

The world is going to see how exciting heavyweight boxing can be when it’s two Mexicans going at it. Actor - Danny Trejo

Trejo watched a lot of promising careers get permanently sidetracked because of a lack of focus. The actor, who has traded punches with Hall of Fame boxers as well as some of the toughest death row inmates says you cannot cut corners and still be able to compete against world class boxers. 

“Look at Conor McGregor. The greatest MMA fighter, yet he couldn’t do much in a boxing ring. Just because you’re the greatest salsa dancer doesn’t mean you can be great at Cha-Cha,” said Trejo. 

To be able to compete at and remain at that level, boxers have to “live in a bubble.” Excuses do not matter in the ring, he says. What matters, according to him, is that both take advantage of their second chances. “They have to treat it like a man getting out of the penitentiary.” 

Trejo has faith that Ruiz and Arreola can reach that level again. In the past, Arreola has “run out of gas,” says Trejo. If he can maintain his intensity for the duration of the bout, he is a tough man to beat. 

For his part, Ruiz must keep his weight down, Trejo said. After I told him reports out of both camps say they are in great shape and that Ruiz is considerably lighter than he was for his last fight, Trejo went from “I wanna be there” to “I’m gonna go!” 

It cannot possibly be a bad fight, he feels. Part of him hopes it is a draw. Regardless of who wins, Trejo confidently says, “I think it can be fight of the year.” 

In the lower weight classes, Mexican fighters have consistently put on the greatest shows. Too often, he says, most of those fights were buried on the undercards of comparatively slower and less exciting heavyweights. When they were in the main events, Trejo reminds us, Olivares, Chacon, Mando, Zarate, Barrera, and many others, were involved in some of the most memorable fights ever. 

“Especially when it’s Mexican vs. Mexican,” Trejo said. As for May 1st? “The world is going to see how exciting heavyweight boxing can be when it’s two Mexicans going at it.” 

For a closer look at Ruiz vs Arreola, check out our fight night page. 

Photo Credit: Paul Mobley

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