Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. made a successful return to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Chris Arreola at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., on Saturday night.
Although the scores were wide, with two judges seeing it 118-109 for Ruiz and the third having it 117-110, there was a fair bit of drama early as the former champion had to adjust after surviving an early knockdown.
Many expected Ruiz (34-2) to stop the 40-year-old Arreola after employing Canelo Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, and altering his diet to show off a new body. But most people underestimated the changes Arreola made heading into the fight; he slimmed down to just over 220 pounds. And those changes nearly spelled Ruiz’s demise in the second round.
Ruiz attempted to start fast but Arreola turned him back in the second with a right hand that put Ruiz down. From there, Arreola began leaving his mark on Ruiz with hard right hands that clearly had an effect. Maybe it was the product of rust from a nearly 18-month layoff. Ruiz found his legs in the third round and then used sharp boxing and picked his spots to keep Arreola from landing the big shot.
Ruiz pelted Arreola with combinations in the middle and late rounds but never had his opponent in danger. Instead, he racked up points as Arreola struggled to find his target; Ruiz would land combinations and then slip out of range. Rinse and repeat.
The performance represented a huge turnaround after an overweight Ruiz was dominated in his rematch with Anthony Joshua in December 2019. After showing a greater commitment to his training, it is evident that Ruiz will remain a force in the division.
Here’s how it all went down (all times Eastern):
Andy Ruiz Jr. survives knockdown to earn decision over Chris Arreola
Round 12 (12:31 a.m.): It’s obvious that Arreola’s left shoulder is cooked but he’s gonna fight this final round. Ruiz knows it and cracks him with a combination coming in. Arreola eating some big shots but he seems to be OK. Ruiz thumping his way to a 12-round decision and he earned every bit of it. 10-9, Ruiz (117-110, Ruiz)
Round 11 (12:27 a.m.): Ruiz lands a right hand as Arreola is coming in. Uppercut from Ruiz. Arreola trying to pressure but he gets ripped up by a combination. Short right hand by Ruiz lands. Ruiz is starting to come after Arreola as Arreola attempts to fight him off. Ruiz with another right hand. Arreola doesn’t have much power on his shots. 10-9, Ruiz (107-101, Ruiz)
Round 10 (12:23 a.m.): Ruiz lights up Arreola with a left hand. Another combination. Arreola needs to let his hands go at some point. Ruiz walks Arreola into a right hand and lands to the body. I don’t know what Arreola is thinking at this point. He needs something big. 10-9, Ruiz (97-92, Ruiz)
Round 9 (12:19 a.m.): Arreola just isn’t throwing and Ruiz is letting the opportunities come to him. Combination by Ruiz. Arreola is just too patient. Ruiz with another combination. Another round and the same story. Ruiz is landing with a bit more frequency and takes another round. 10-9, Ruiz (87-83, Ruiz)
Round 8 (12:15 a.m.): Arreola looking for a way inside but can’t find a spot to fire power shots. Arreola lands a right hand. Ruiz lands a right hand and it seems like Arreola has hurt his shoulder. Left hook lands for Ruiz. Not a lot happening in this round but, again, Ruiz was busier. 10-9, Ruiz (77-74, Ruiz)
Round 7 (12:11 a.m.): Arreola isn’t throwing a lot of punches and is allowing Ruiz to take rounds on activity. They exchange jabs. Ruiz with a body head combination. Ruiz with a blistering combination that Arreola takes well, but Arreola doesn’t offer anything in return. The activity from Ruiz is giving him the edge. 10-9, Ruiz (67-65, Ruiz)
Round 6 (12:07 a.m.): Ruiz opens the sixth with a hard three-punch combination. Right hand by Arreola. Left hook from Ruiz backs Arreola up. Another three-punch combination by Ruiz. Ruiz lands to the body but Arreola steps in with a right hand. Ruiz is starting to pick up steam and rounds. 10-9, Ruiz (57-56, Ruiz)
Round 5 (12:03 a.m.): Arreola sneaks in a right hand a minute into the round. Feels like both are waiting for the other to make a mistake. Arreola finds Ruiz’s face with a hard right hand. Big left and right combination from Ruiz. Arreola causes Ruiz to whiff on a big right hand. Close round but Ruiz being more active will give him the round. 10-9, Ruiz (47-47)
Round 4 (11:59 p.m.): Ruiz opens the fourth with a combination but Arreola takes it well. Arreola waiting for an opening and chops Ruiz with a right hand. Ruiz making a commitment to the body. Straight right by Ruiz. Much better round by Ruiz. 10-9, Ruiz (38-37, Arreola)
Round 3 (11:55 p.m.): Arreola opens up and cracks Ruiz again! Ruiz is hurt! What the hell is going on?? Arreola has figured out Ruiz and is hurting him at will. The right hand by Arreola is like a heat-seeking missile. Ruiz with a combination that drives Arreola back. Ruiz with a short left hand that stuns Arreola but he fires back with a right hand that staggers Ruiz. This is a great fight. 10-9, Arreola (29-27, Arreola)
Round 2 (11:51 p.m.): Not a lot happening in the first minute until Arreola lowers a hard right hand and down goes Ruiz! Ruiz is back to his feet and they briefly slug it out. Ruiz appears to have his legs under him. Left hook by Ruiz lands and Arreola fires a hard combination that appears to hurt Ruiz! Whoa. What a second round by Arreola. 10-8, Arreola (19-18, Arreola)
Round 1 (11:47 p.m.): Ruiz starts pressuring immediately. Arreola with a body shot and Ruiz returns with a combination. Straight right hand lands for Ruiz. Ruiz jabbing to the body. Fast and hard right hand by Ruiz. He’s sharp. Ruiz’s hands look extremely fast. To Arreola’s credit, he’s been sound defensively. But this was a Ruiz round. (10-9, Ruiz)
11:40 p.m.: Both fighters are in the ring and it is time for a heavyweight clash.
11:28 p.m.: Main event is up next as Andy Ruiz Jr. makes his highly anticipated return to the boxing ring to face Chris Arreola in what is sure to be an all-action fight.
11:17 p.m.: Abel Ramos is running away with this fight and has completely broken Figueroa down. Ramos’ commitment to the body began paying dividends in the sixth round and a brutal body assault sent Figueroa to his corner spitting up blood. His corner had no choice but to stop the fight. An incredible victory for Ramos and an absolute beatdown of a former highly touted prospect. The Ramos family has had an excellent night.
11:06 p.m.: After three rounds, Ramos is being sturdy and consistent enough to give Figueroa some problems. Figueroa is attempting to be crafty but Ramos isn’t falling for any of his traps. He had a hard time in the first two rounds but Ramos has seemed to figure out his opponent and is landing with more frequency.
10:52 p.m.: Up next is the co-main event as Omar Figueroa Jr. faces a stiff test against Abel Ramos in a welterweight showdown. Figueroa is returning to the ring after suffering his first loss to Yordenas Ugas in July 2019. Ramos is also coming off a loss to Ugas, but it was a split decision. Both need a win in this WBA world title eliminator.
10:36 p.m.: As anticipated, the fight didn’t go the distance. Fundora hurt Cota badly in the fourth round and was landing with alarming frequency. Cota tried to land the home run but was getting crushed by a variety of power shots. The referee finally stepped in after a hard left hook. The crowd booed because it wanted Cota to go out on his shield but he was in danger of being hurt badly. Great performance by Fundora, who continues to climb up the ladder with his unique size, reach and skill set.
10:25 p.m.: Fundora and Cota have spent the first six minutes throwing hard leather at each other. This fight is unlikely to go the distance so enjoy it while it lasts.
10:15 p.m.: Up next is the 6-6 super welterweight Sebastian Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) stepping into the ring with seasoned veteran Jorge Cota (30-4, 27 KOs). Cota rebounded from back-to-back losses to Jeison Rosario and Jermell Charlo to win two fights in a row. Fundora is aiming to get his third straight knockout.
10:02 p.m.: After 10 rounds, Jesus Ramos earns the unanimous decision. He was unable to collect the knockout but Molina was crafty enough to avoid any significant damage. Ramos demonstrated maturity once he realized Molina wouldn’t engage to give him the opening he needed and used pressure and body work to take the decision.
9:41 p.m.: After five rounds, Ramos is in control but Molina isn’t making it easy. The veteran has been slick and forcing Ramos to work to land punches. Ramos has begun to work on the body to slow down Molina’s movement as he pursues his 15th knockout.
9:17 p.m.: We’re kicking off the Ruiz-Arreola undercard with Jesus Ramos (15-0, 14 KOs) taking on Javier Molina (22-3). Ramos has shown some impressive power but Molina has proven to be durable.
What time does Ruiz Jr. vs. Arreola start?
- Date: Saturday, May 1
- Main card: 9 p.m. ET
- Ruiz-Arreola main event: Approximately midnight ET
The Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Chris Arreola PPV main card begins at 9 p.m. ET, with the fighters expected to make their ring walks at approximately midnight ET, depending on the length of the earlier fights.
How to watch Ruiz Jr. vs. Arreola
The Ruiz vs. Arreola fight is a Fox Sports PBC event that is available via pay-per-view through many cable and satellite providers; check with your local provider for more information.
Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Chris Arreola fight card
- Andy Ruiz Jr. def. Chris Arreola (117-110, 118-109, 118-109).
- Abel Ramos def. Omar Figueroa Jr. via 6th-round TKO (3:00).
- Sebastian Fundora def. Jorge Cota via 4th-round TKO (2:35).
- Jesus Ramos def. Javier Molina via unanimous decision (97-92, 99-90, 99-90).