A moment of adversity came up for Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday night as Chris Arreola scored a knockdown in the second round of their fight in Dignity Health Sports Park. After a couple of rounds, Ruiz was able to get his bearings back and get the upper hand.
The former unified champion won by unanimous decision with scores of 117-110 and 118-109 twice to rebound from his loss to Anthony Joshua in 2019. He now has a record of 34-2 with Arreola falling to 38-7-1.
It started off with both fighters scoring with the jab, but Ruiz was trying to establish his gameplan early by going to the body with a jab as Arreola was moving forward. When Ruiz was in range he would throw combinations that would affect Arreola at times, but the Los Angeles native kept pressing forward. Ruiz attempted to be more aggressive in the next round which gave Arreola the opportunity to catch Ruiz with a right hand. Ruiz went down to a knee and had an eight count administered to him, and he had to get through the rest of the round as Arreola increased his output to try to finish off the fellow Mexican fighter from California.
After a third round which had back and forth action from both fighters, it was Ruiz who settled down and landed more shots over the course of the fight. He continued to work the body and land left hooks while Arreola was scoring with the jab but could not build momentum off of that. In the eighth round, an exchange between Ruiz and Arreola resulted in Arreola hurting his left shoulder, but he pressed on for the rest of the night.
Ruiz continued on with his calculated attack in the tail end of the bout and finished with a good final round. The punch stats had Ruiz landing more (121 to 106) and throwing more (626 to 521) over 12 rounds which impressed the judges enough to give Ruiz the victory.
Arreola gave a good effort, but was upset when the scorecards were read. “I respect the judges, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” he said after the fight. “He might have won, but don’t tell me I only won two or three rounds. A lot of punches he threw were hitting my gloves. He never put me in danger. It’s dejecting to not get the respect from the judges that I feel I deserve.”
Andy felt like the early success that he had in the first round led to the knockdown. “I got a little overconfident in the early rounds,” he said. “He got me with a good clean right hand in the second round. I 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.”
“I’m thankful for the victory and I’m ready to move on to the next.”
With this being an eliminator for the WBA title, Ruiz could look forward to potential matchups that could get him closer to another world title shot. There was some buzz about him fighting Luis Ortiz, and he welcomed that challenge. However, he feels that he needs to get back in the gym to sharpen his skills.
“A fight against Luis Ortiz would be an exciting matchup. I have to get back to training so I can keep feeling better in the ring. I’m actually happy to get the 12 rounds in.”
Cover photo by Sean Michael Ham of TGB Promotions