In his first bout in 17 months since losing the unified heavyweight championship, a slimmed down Andy Ruiz Jr. walked through the fire of an early knockdown to widely outpoint veteran Chris Arreola in the main event of Saturday's Premier Boxing Champions pay-per-view card.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) relied on his speed, activity and sharper combinations to outwork Arreola (38-7-1, 33 KOs) in his first camp under head trainer (and Canelo Alvarez architect) Eddy Reynoso in a unanimous decision (117-110, 118-109, 118-109) at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. CBS Sports also scored the bout 118-109 for Ruiz.
Following his 2019 upset knockout of Anthony Joshua to claim three of four recognized heavyweight titles, Ruiz ballooned in weight later that year and lost a lifeless decision. After entering this training camp at 310 pounds, the 31-year-old looked trim after weighing in at 258 and never stopped being the aggressor over 12 rounds.
"Chiris Arreola is a veteran and a hard puncher. We did what we had to do and we won the victory but remember that I was the lowest of the lowest and had to come back," Ruiz said. "We did what we had to do and thanks to God we got this victory. On to the next."
The 40-year-old Arreola, who challenged unsuccessfully for titles on four occasions, created some incredible drama as an overwhelming underdog in Round 2 when a short right hand dropped Ruiz. Arreola went on to hurt Ruiz a second time later in the round and once more in Round 3 as the unpredictability of heavyweight boxing was on full display.
"He got me with a good, clean right hand," Ruiz said. "I dropped my hand a little bit. I was too overconfident and hats off to Chris Arreola, he got me with a good one. But we kept going and we got the victory."
To Ruiz's credit, he fought well while hurt and remained dangerous. Arreola, who came in at the lightest weight of his career at 228 pounds in his first camp with trainer Joe Goossen, also remained patient enough not to get reckless and over pursue by going for the knockout.
The problem, however, for Arreola moving forward was that he didn't throw enough punches over the second half of the fight. Despite remaining competitive, he left the door open for Ruiz to target the body and bank round after round due to activity and intelligent boxing.
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Arreola, who fought through an injury to his left shoulder in the second half of the fight, didn't take kindly to the judges' scoring which, while accurate from a round-by-round standpoint, didn't tell the full story of the fight.
"I respect the judges and I always say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Arreola said. "Did he win? Fine. But to not give me anymore rounds, I have to be like Dr. Dre and say, 'All you can suck my motherf---ing d---.'
"In all honesty, we can run this back. Look at me, look at my face. I'm still good."
Ruiz sat down on his punches over the final third of the fight and appeared to rock Arreola with a steady stream of three-punch combinations.
In all, Ruiz outlanded his opponent by a margin of 161 to 109, according to CompuBox, and connected on 45% of his power shots overall.
"I felt a little rust and I know other fighters can relate to that," Ruiz said. "We did what we had to do and we got the victory which was to counter punch and work the body to slow him down a little bit. If he wants to run it back, we can run it back. We can have Chris Arreola-Andy Ruiz rematch and run this back here if the promoter wants."
Elsewhere on the card, Sebastian Fundora outgunned Jorge Cota for a fourth-round TKO. The 6-foot-7 super welterweight endured an all-out war from the opening bell as both men landed heavy shots from close range. But after Fundora seemed to close the distance and take Cota out of the fight, Cota answered back with a hook of his own only for the referee to step in and stop the fight. The win marks Fundora's fourth straight and second consecutive stoppage.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the entire way on Saturday, so be sure to follow along with the live results and highlights below.
Fight card, results
- Andy Ruiz Jr. def. Chris Arreola via unanimous decision (117-110, 118-109, 118-109)
- Abel Ramos def. Omar Figueroa via sixth-round TKO (corner stoppage)
- Sebastian Fundora def. Jorge Cota via fourth-round TKO
- Jesus Ramos Jr. def. Javier Molina via unanimous decision (97-92, 99-90, 99-90)
Ruiz vs. Arreola scorecard, live coverage