On Saturday, May 1, 2021, in an as advertised battle of Mexican American giants, Heavyweight contender Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) squared off with former unified Heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) live on Fox Sports PPV from the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson California.
The fight was contested for 12 rounds in an eliminator for the WBA Heavyweight championship, and served as the first major bout in over a year in the LA area to feature spectators since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that put much of the sports and overall world on hold.
Both men came into the bout in exceptional condition with a do-or-die attitude and something to prove.
For Arreola, it was a battle for relevance hoping to keep his career alive and set up a final fourth shot at the Heavyweight crown against either or the winner of Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua .
Ruiz aimed to prove that he was no one hit wonder, returning to the ring for the first time since 2019 and the loss of his Heavyweight titles in his rematch with Anthony Joshua.
Ruiz’s return is paired with his first fight with new trainer Eddy Reynoso, whom he sought out to become his new trainer following his defeat to Joshua.
Ruiz had shown a trimmed down physique and a redirection in discipline thanks to his new cornerman and team ,now sharing a stable with pound for pound king Saul Canelo Alvarez , 2 weight champion Oscar Valdez , and rising contender Ryan Garcia.
Arreola on the other hand aimed to continue a resurgence of his own following a partnership with veteran trainer Joe Goosen and a career best fight with Polish Contender Adam Kowalski that despite a loss became a record setting slugfest that saw both men shatter the record for punches thrown in a heavyweight matchup.
Both men came into the ring accompanied by flags and songs honoring their Mexican heritage to raucous cheers from an exuberant crowd.
Arreola came in clad in Dodger blue while Ruiz came decked in Yellow and Purple.
Ruiz came out pressing action while Arreola moved on the perimeter of the ring and tried to establish distance behind the jab.
As the round pressed forward Ruiz established his hand speed and right hand making the first contact with a right to the solar plexus.
Ruiz made the hand speed difference apparent landing a crisp one two and right over the top.
Ruiz came forward in a crouch with a jab and was caught by a quick counter right to the head from Arreola that brought him to a knee.
The flash knockdown buzzed Ruiz but did not seem to immediately hurt him as he met Arreola head on after beating the count.
Ruiz was buzzed by a right hand at rounds end despite managing to return fire and land some shots before the bell.
Ruiz seemingly cleared his head between rounds but still found himself unable to take away Arreola’s jab and right crosses.
Arreola continued to look circle and probe behind the jab as Ruiz picked up the pace and began putting combinations together.
The highlight of the round came in the middle of a heated exchange as an overhand/ hook combination from Arreola stumbled Ruiz and sent him reeling into the ropes.
The battle continued with a give and take through the fourth as Ruiz continued moving forward trying to mix his punches up and find his way inside as Arreola continued landing the seemingly harder punches as Ruiz seemed to be buckled on multiple occasions.
Through the fifth and sixth Ruiz gradually found a rhythm scoring clean with crisp combinations on the inside and using his defense to avoid counter right hands from Arreola.
Ruiz gradually began taking control of the pace in the seventh and eighths switching tactics boxing more and allowing Arreola to.come forward to counter.
Measuring distance with the jab and following quickly with short uppercuts and right hands to the body.
Ruiz opened the ninth with a double jab seemingly looking the fresher of the two outscoring Arreola in the preceeding rounds by compubox and comfortably out jabbing him upstairs and down to set up big body shots with the right and smooth hooks around the guard.
The championship rounds set in and the tenth round saw Ruiz continue to invest in breaking Arreola down slowly as the “the nightmare” appeared to be losing steam with the snap gone from his punches as he plodded forward behind the jab and cross while Ruiz keep firing the jab cross hook combination making contact wherever possible.
Arreola looked visibly uncomfortable with his shoulder following the tenth remarking on it to trainer Joe Goosen in the corner between rounds.
The penultimate round saw an ebb and flow with Arreola making contact with his jab drawing blood from the nose and mouth of Ruiz who still landed the effective power shots buckling Arreola and getting the better of most exchanges.
The twelfth and final round saw both men empty the tank fighting to the last bell with Ruiz outlanding a very game Arreola.
The fight was ultimately ruled a unanimous decision for Ruiz by scores of 117-110, 118-109, 118-109.
Ruiz was booed by some of the crowd unhappy with some of the scores during his post fight interview and remarked on some ring rust and his interest in continuing to improve and that if the public demands a rematch he would be happy to do it again.
Arreola had much to say about his dissatisfaction with the scoring as he colorfully described that he felt the fight was closer and that he deserved more than the points given to him in the eyes of the judges going on to say that he will gladly take a rematch.
Ultimately the scores reflect the winner but do not always tell the story behind the battle fought as Arreola made a valiant stand and effort providing a true test for Ruiz comeback to the ring.