By Dan Ambrose: Blue-collar heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr (34-2, 22 KOs) put in a workmanlike performance to defeat veteran Chris Arreola (38-7-1, 22 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in their fight on Fox Sports pay-per-view at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The scores were 118-109, 118-109, and 117-110. Boxing News 24 scored the fight for Ruiz by a 117-110 score. He was the better fighter tonight.
Ruiz dropped hard by Arreola
An overconfident Ruiz bum-rushed the 40-year-old Arreola in the second round and paid a heavy price in getting dropped hard from a headshot. Ruiz looked like he had no respect for Arreola’s power, and it cost him in getting dropped on his backside.
After Ruiz got back up, Arreola once again hurt him with a right hand to the head that had him looking like he was on the verge of being stopped.
Normally, the fight would have been over shortly after that if Ruiz were fighting an elite heavyweight with common sense, but he was fighting an old-timer in Arreola, who chose not to try and finish Andy. Arreola didn’t fo for the finish the way a younger heavyweight would have done.
.@Andy_destroyer1 overcomes a early knockdown to win the WBA Heavyweight World Title eliminator by UD, defeating Chris Arreola in historic night of 🇲🇽 boxing at @dignityhealthsp. pic.twitter.com/ydwhQiZNQm
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) May 2, 2021
Arreola started gassing after the third round, which allowed Ruiz to take charge of the fight. The low punch output for Arreola appeared to embolden Ruiz, giving him confidence that wasn’t there in the second round when he was getting rocked left and right.
Arreola gassed out early
Although Ruiz will say his success after the knockdown was because he adapted, that wasn’t it. The reason Ruiz took control is Arreola got tired and stopped throwing punches. He was just looking to counter instead of lead, which you can’t do against a heavyweight like Ruiz.
In rounds five through ten, Ruiz came forward constantly, throwing his wide hooks and a lot of one-two combinations. Arreola hurt his left arm in the eighth after getting hit by a shot from Ruiz.
It’s unclear whether Ruiz’s trainer Eddy Reynoso told him to target Arreola’s bicep with his punches as we saw with Canelo Alvarez targeting the biceps of Callum Smith in their fight last December. Whatever the case, Arreola’s suffered an arm injury, which further decreased his punch output to nothing.
In the 12th, Arreola woke up and started punching again, and he fought well enough to possibly win the round. But by that point in the fight, it was too late for Arreola. He’d given away way too many rounds by doing nothing.
It was a shock to see Ruiz get put down because he and his trainer Eddy Reynoso, the coach that also trains Canelo Alvarez, had repeatedly told the media how much he’d improved as a fighter.
Instead, we that Ruiz is the same guy that lost to Anthony Joshua in 2019, Joseph Parker in 2016, and struggled badly against a past his prime Siarhei Liakhovich in 2014.
Ruiz showed no improvement in his game, and if anything, he might be worse than he was before because looked weak from having lost so much weight.
The weight loss hurt Ruiz’s power
Despite losing 60 pounds in timing down from well over 300+ lbs to 256 lb, Ruiz still looked fat, and the power that he once had before his weight loss seemed to abandon him tonight. That’s expected.
When you lose as much weight as Ruiz did, it’s commonplace for a fighter to lose power. That’s why it’s not a good idea to live it up and pack on a bunch of weight in the first place.
All in all, Ruiz fought at a decent level that one would see from a fringe contender, but not at the level of an elite heavyweight.
If Ruiz’s promoters want him to get another big payday against Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury, they need to keep matching him against marginal heavyweights like 40-year-old Arreola. If they put Ruiz in with Deontay Wilder or Dillian Whyte, he’ll lose.