Andy Ruiz looked maybe a bit awed by the importance of the forthcoming task and maybe unsure of himself as him and Chris Arreola were being introed at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. You understood that more as Arreola blitzed him some early in their clash which screened on Fox PPV Saturday evening.
Ruiz maybe had a bad flashback surge of unwelcome recollecting to the time in December 2019 that he took to a ring poorly prepared to defend his crown in Saudi Arabia against Anthony Joshua.
This was a trimmer Ruiz, and Arreola is an ultra vet, so any flashback vibe got dispelled.
The action crested early, then Arreola looked to conserve energy and stay defensively on guard, to the point that he may have elongated his career by like two years.
That would be good for his $ accounts and btw props to Joe Goossen, who I strongly suspect concocted this form and strategy tweak in Arreola…but it also meant that watchers didn’t see Arreola get out of pugilism mode and bite down and press Ruiz and risk more in pursuit of a showy reward.
Summing up, both heavyweights performed quite respectably in a fight that blazed bright early and then simply simmered.
NOTE: I was put off some by the over hype by the announce crew at the tail end of the program. Shawn Porter doesn’t have to tell viewers that what they just saw is 30% better than it was… and that extends to the whole crew, Brian Kenny, and Lennox Lewis, and Heidi Androl, who does get an A for rolling with the shot delivered by Arreola is a fun/profane post fight rip rap. Hammering the prospect of a rematch was an off note, though, too.
Here is the release sent out by the promotion:
CARSON, CALIF. (May 1, 2021) – Former unified heavyweight world champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr.bounced back from an early knockdown to defeat all-action heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola by unanimous decision in the main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event Saturday night from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
“Chris is a veteran and a hard puncher,” said Ruiz. “We did what we had to do tonight. We got the victory that we wanted. I was at my lowest point and now I have to climb the ladder again. I'm thankful for the victory and I'm ready to move on to the next.”
The battle between boxing’s two greatest Mexican-American heavyweights in Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) and Arreola (38-7-1, 33 KOs) began with fireworks, as the underdog Arreola landed a powerful overhand right that forced Ruiz to touch the canvas and earned Arreola an early knockdown on the cards. Ruiz was able to recover and survive the second round, taking the knockdown as a wake-up call and prompting him to initiate numerous big exchanges in the third round.
“He got me with a good clean right hand in the second round,” said Ruiz. “I was too overconfident and dropped my hand a bit. Hats off to him. We just kept pushing and pushing. I switched up and started focusing on counterpunching and working the body.”
Both men tasted power punches in a raucous third round that saw Arreola land 14 power punches to Ruiz’s 13, according to CompuBox. Ruiz adjusted as the fight went on, and found success scoring with body shots and combinations punctuated by a punishing sweeping left hook.
Ruiz owned a 106 to 75 advantage in power punches landed and built up his lead on the cards by landing 161 of his 626 punches thrown, to Arreola’s 109 landed and 521 thrown. Arreola appeared to hurt his left arm in round eight, but was able to manage any pain enough to continue throwing bombs until the final bell.
Ruiz punctuated his performance with a strong final round, clinching his victory in the WBA Heavyweight Title Eliminator by the scores of 117-110 and 118-109 twice in the eyes of the judges.
“I respect the judges, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” said Arreola. “He might have won, but don't tell me I only won two or three rounds. I got hit in the shoulder and it kind of threw it off. It wasn't a big deal though. It's a part of boxing. I didn't take too much punishment. I'm ready to run it back with Andy.”
“I felt a little rust and I know other fighters can relate to that,” said Ruiz. “If he wants to run it back, we'll run it back with him.”