Aside from perhaps alligator wrestlers and Donald Trump’s hair stylist, there are no tougher humans on the planet than professional boxers. But while boxers have an uncanny ability to compartmentalize fear whenever they step through the ropes, it doesn’t mean they’re immune to being frightened outside the ring—especially come Halloween time.
Knowing that, we reached out to a handful of Premier Boxing Champions fighters and asked what horrors might cause them to be startled (as well as their favorite memories related to All Hallows’ Eve):
CHRIS ARREOLA (heavyweight contender)
What scares you? When I was a kid, Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
Favorite scary movie: The Paranormal Activity movies are the best.
Favorite Halloween memory: In 1988, I remember I dressed up as a hunchback, and we went up and down Pacific Avenue in Huntington Park, California, and got a ton of candy.
Favorite costume: I just like dressing up as something super creepy. I'm dressing up as a mime this year, but giving it my own little spin.
Favorite candy: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
MARIO BARRIOS (undefeated 130-pound prospect)
What scares you? Exorcisms.
Favorite scary movie: The movie It. That clown was creepy.
Favorite Halloween memory: Going to haunted houses with my sisters was always a good time.
Favorite candy: Snickers really satisfies me.
JERMELL CHARLO (undefeated 154-pound contender)
What scares you? Haunted things, like hearing noises in my house and stuff. That scares me.
Favorite Halloween memory: I used to compete with my brother to see who could get the most Halloween candy.
Favorite candy: Twizzlers.
ANDRE DIRRELL (2004 Olympic bronze medalist and current 168-pound contender)
What scares you? I might get scared of a really big dog, but I don't scare easy.
Favorite scary movie: I’m a big fan of Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp.
Favorite Halloween memory: I don’t really have a particular favorite memory yet, but I’ll be looking to create one this year. I’m going to Disney World with my kids for a few days. We’ll be dressing up as the Addams Family.
Favorite costume: I went all out on this one costume. It's a ghoul that makes me approximately 10 feet tall when I wear it. I actually got an offer to work at a haunted house because the costume is so great, and I did it for about an hour-and-a-half before I got too cold and I quit to go inside. Michigan winters are no joke.
AHMED ELBIALI (undefeated 175-pound prospect)
What scares you? Heights.
Favorite Halloween memory: My friends and I used to egg houses and jack candy baskets for ourselves. It was a bit devious but fun.
Favorite costume: I was Zorro one year, and got a lot of compliments since I made the costume myself.
Favorite candy: Almond Joy.
DANNY GARCIA (undefeated former 140-pound world champ and current 147-pound contender)
Favorite scary movie? Besides Scream, I liked The Purge. It reminds me of boxing: You have 45 minutes to punch someone legally without consequence.
Favorite Halloween memory: I have two little sisters, so I would dress up, wear a mask and go around with them. I have a feeling this year will be my favorite, because I have my new baby, and she’s dressing up as a pumpkin.
Favorite costume: The Scream mask, because that was one of my favorite scary movies when it first came out.
Favorite candy: Milk Duds. Doesn’t bother me that it gets stuck in my teeth.
TONY HARRISON (154-pound contender)
Favorite scary movie? I used to be scared of Candyman. You’d say his name three times in the mirror, and then he’d come get you. I was terrified of that stuff becoming true. My older cousins used to say things to make us believe crazy stories like that, so I was scared of the Candyman—until I knew better.
Favorite Halloween memory: When I was younger we used to always go to the rich neighborhoods where they give out the big candy bars, not the little fun-size ones. We'd go back two and three times, hit them again and again. They didn't care, and we loved it.
DANIEL JACOBS (160-pound world champion)
What scares you? Waking up in the middle of the night and seeing stuff in the dark and thinking it is something scary or demonic. When you first wake up and you see things and your eyes aren’t open and things aren’t what they seem. That happened to me like three weeks ago!
Favorite scary movie: I like American Horror Story. That is more of a series, but it’s really good.
Favorite costume: I was a gorilla boxer one year. I was in a full gorilla suit with boxing gloves, and I had an amateur belt on. No one knew that it was me in the costume, and I was going into stores and scaring people and boxing on them.
Favorite candy: Candy corn. It doesn’t come around that often, and I like that.
ERISLANDY LARA (154-pound world champion)
What scares you? Death.
Favorite scary movie: I don’t like scary movies! [Laughs.]
Favorite Halloween memory: In Cuba they don’t celebrate Halloween, but my favorite moments have been trick-or-treating with my kids here in the U.S.
Favorite candy: Kinder Chocolate from Germany. My wife is from Germany, and once I tasted them I was scared I would have to fight at heavyweight.
ARON MARTINEZ (147-pound contender)
What scares you? Roller coasters and scary movies.
Favorite scary movie: I really liked Paranormal Activity.
Favorite Halloween memory: About seven years ago, our family turned our house into a haunted house and dressed up as zombies to scare all the kids. That was a lot of fun.
Favorite candy: I love M&M’s and Snickers.
JOHN MOLINA JR. (140-pound contender)
What scares you? Scary movies.
Favorite scary movie: The Exorcist.
Favorite Halloween memory: Going as a boxer when I was 9 years old and wearing my dad's boxing gear.
Favorite costume: I like getting wrapped in aluminum foil and going as leftovers. This year my daughter will be Tinker Bell, and I’ll be Peter Pan.
Favorite candy: I love candy corn.
LEO SANTA CRUZ (126-pound world champion)
What scares you? Being alone at night is scary sometimes.
Favorite scary movie: The Exorcist.
Favorite Halloween memory: When we were younger, my cousins used to jump in front of cars with masks on and start dancing really funny or making funny moves, and the people in the cars would start laughing.
Favorite candy: Snickers and Kit Kats.
SAMMY VASQUEZ JR. (undefeated 147-pound contender)
What scares you? I’m scared of the unknown, like going into a haunted place by myself and not knowing what’s around the corner.
Favorite scary movie: I would have to say Beetlejuice.
Favorite Halloween memory: When I scared these older, bigger kids who were trick-or-treating. When they came to the house, I hid behind the bushes with a bloody Jason mask, and jumped out and chased them. They threw their buckets of candy in the air and were pushing and running after each other. I got all the candy they left behind!
Favorite candy: Kit Kats.
- Beyond the ring