Taking Names, and Dominating the Ring
By Jon Chattman, Inked Entertainment Contributor
Usually, when Floyd Mayweather drops you, it’s a bad thing. It means your ass-down on the mat or staggering to stand up as a ref count to ten. In the case of undefeated middleweight boxer and USBA middleweight champion Luis “Cuba” Arias, “Money” just dropped him from his promotion three years ago, and it’s proven to be the best thing that’s happened to him. Case in point: he’s been with Roc Nation, has continued to dominate and is just days away from the biggest fight of his career with what will be, no doubt, his largest audience ever. On Nov. 11, the Milwaukee-born star will headline an HBO-televised bout at the Nassau Coliseum, taking his 18-0 record with him, against an impressive fighter (32-2) and cancer survivor Daniel Jacobs.
In an interview earlier this week, the Cuban-American, who considers greats like Oscar De La Hoya, Roberto Duran, and Felix Trinidad as influences, discussed his upcoming title bout, Mayweather, and the tattoos on his skin which truly tell the story of the man he is. Before we dive into the interview, here are a few things you should know: Arias made his professional debut on Nov. 10, 2012, at Staples Center, where he defeated Josh Thorpe. On August 20, 2016, he captured the vacant USBA Middleweight title at the Milwaukee Center. He has successfully defended his title on two occasions already and fully expects to down Jacobs next weekend.
You're 18-0 with 9 KOs. You're taking on Danny Jacobs at Nassau Coliseum. Has your training for this bout been any different than those in the past?
I've seen everything I could possibly see in the ring, so I’m approaching this fight like any other one. I just plan on making this a dogfight. I’m coming to rough Danny Jacobs up, be in his face, put the pressure on and shock the world. I’ve studied Danny and know how he fights, so I just need to fight my fight, stay the course and I’ll come out with the win.
What's your relationship with Jacobs? Do you have any animosity toward him?
I’ve known Danny since I was 15, but I always figured I’d end up fighting him at some point, especially since his name has been in my weight division. I respect what he’s overcome in his personal life, but I think he’s overrated as a boxer. I think he receives more media and attention than he deserves because he comes from New York City. But if you look at his record, he hasn’t really beaten a quality opponent. He has shown flaws in his game and hasn’t taken advantage of his opportunities to cement himself as a household name in boxing.
Does it help if you hate the opponent you're against or hurt or neither?
Neither, I personally think it’s bad to go into a fight with hatred and negative emotions involved. When you’re in the ring, you have to be locked in on beating your opponent and put all other feelings to the side.
The fight is airing on HBO. Totally off-topic, could you beat up any of the characters on Game of Thrones?
f they didn’t have any weapons and it was a fist fight, I’d definitely beat them all up! It would be a straight-up war between me and Khal Drogo, though.
What’s your biggest career achievement thus far?
I would say headlining this fight on HBO World Championship Boxing because getting to this level is a huge achievement in itself. But I’m not satisfied with just fighting as a headliner and I’m looking forward to putting my stamp in the boxing world, starting with this fight on Nov. 11.
What's your biggest setback been?
When Floyd Mayweather dropped me from Mayweather Promotions, that was definitely a challenge because that left my career up in the air without a promoter. I had to scramble to find a new promoter, a new trainer and, in many ways, I had to start my career from scratch. To make matters worse, it happened around the time my daughter was born, so I had to get my career back on track while providing for a newborn.
It was a learning experience for business, but I moved past it and that situation has continued to motivate me to be a world champion. At the end of the day, I’m just thankful for Roc Nation for giving me the opportunity.
Let's get to your tattoos. What was the first one you got?
My first tattoo was a big boxing glove that has my nickname – “Cuba” – on it. I got it as soon as I turned 18 and was legal enough to do so.
Your heritage is a big part of who you are. Talk to me about the work you've had done on your right arm.
I’m Cuban and Nicaraguan, so I definitely wanted to pay homage to both aspects of my heritage through my tattoos. On my right arm, I have tattoos of the Cuban flag, the country of Nicaragua, a Nicaraguan church, a Nicaraguan bill and La Concepcion de Maria (there’s a special day for her in Nicaragua).
Collectively, what do your pieces say about the person you are, and the person you will be?
There’s a story behind every bit of ink on my body and they illustrate the most meaningful parts of my life and show that I’m a passionate guy. In fact, my left arm has more of my personal story because I’ve tatted the names of my parents and my daughter there.
I have my city, my religion, my heritage, my family, my sport and my story tatted on me through 25 tattoos, so those are all people and things that I’m personally passionate about. Whether it’s my professional life or my personal life, I’m a passionate person and will always be that way.