Saturday’s Fox PPV main event featured two Mexican-American Heavyweight’s facing off in Carson, CA in a Cinco De Mayo-esque event. The two fighters approached the ring at very different points in their respective career’s, but each had plenty to prove.
Andy Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs), the former and first Heavyweight champion of Mexican decent returned to the ring for the first time following his exceedingly disappointing title loss against Anthony Joshua, the man he defeated in the upset of the century (okay, fine, the decade), across from the longtime fixture at Heavyweight, Chris Arreola (38-7-1, 33 KOs).
The overarching question surrounding Ruiz’s return to the ring had been his ability to rebound from his loss as well as his extended absence from the ring. But, likely more importantly, would he be able to return to a reasonable and effective fighting weight?
On the scales and in the gym, Ruiz was able to answer that question of his commitment and discipline, weighing in nearly 50 pounds lighter than his last fight. All that remained entering Saturday night was how the former champion would fare against a tough, yet overmatched opponent.
Similarly motivated, Arreola weighed in at his career lowest with hopes of “beating the man who beat the man,” as he said entering the stadium. Arreola viewed the fight as another, and likely final chance of achieving his ultimate goal: winning a championship.
In the first round, Ruiz displayed his exceptional hand speed along with a seemingly improved defensive presence, which could possibly be attributed to the addition of Eddy Reynoso in his corner (although there might be more work to do.)
Despite that early display of defense, Arreola landed a beautifully placed right hand above the ear to send the former champ to the canvas.
The rest of the round saw Ruiz seemingly find his footing, only to once again be blasted and rocked by a barrage of shots by a strong and focussed Arreola.
Again, as the third round began, the two found each other at the center of the ring with Chris Arreola again getting the better of Ruiz, rocking him with several shots. Surprisingly, Ruiz didn’t touch the canvas, steadied himself, and found success towards the end of the round, landing strong shots to begin to answer the offense of Arreola.
As the fight progressed, it seemed as though Ruiz altered his approach and settled into a counter punching approach. He found particular success with his left hooks upstairs and straight shots to the body.
In his shift to patience, Ruiz was able to land effective combinations, typically delivering the 1-2-3 that came so naturally. In doing so, he began to wear down Arreola and took relative control of the fight to the final bell.
Ultimately, Ruiz was able to weather the early storm on the way to a hard fought unanimous decision victory over a more-than-game Arreola. The fight itself assuredly delivered more action and intrigue than most fight fans may have imagined.
The official scores were 117-110 and 118-109 twice, for Ruiz.