Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz returns to the ring against veteran Chris Arreola tonight on PPV. Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) scored one of the biggest upsets in recent years when he knocked out Anthony Joshua on short notice in 2018. He lost the belts in the immediate rematch for which he showed up around 20 pounds heavier than his usual weight. Ruiz may have gotten complacent during his reign but it now falls on him to decide if he will be a one hit wonder or remain a key player at heavyweight. His hiring of Canelo’s coach Eddy Reynoso appears to be a step in the right direction and Ruiz weighted in at 256 pounds, down from 283 in the Joshua rematch.
His opponent Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) challenged three times for the WBC heavyweight title resulting in stoppage losses to Vitali Klitschko, Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder. At 40 years old he’s unlikely to be able to handle an in-shape Ruiz’ speed and power but should stand toe to toe with him and make the fight fun for however long it lasts.
In the co-main event former WBC lightweight champion Omar Figueroa Jr (28-1-1, 19 KOs) faces Abel Ramos (26-4-2, 20 KOs) at welterweight. Figueroa moved up to welterweight in 2015 but has only fought 3 times since and had uninspiring results. He stopped a faded Robert Guerrero but looked very unconvincing in a controversial win over John Molina Jr and he was simply outclassed by Yordenis Ugas in his last fight. Figueroa has struggled to impose his pressure game at welterweight against opponents he enjoys no size advantage over. Ramos is not exactly a top fighter at welterweight but he’s coming off of a very good effort in a split decision loss to Ugas. He is a better boxer than Figueroa and should also be able to handle himself on the inside. Figueroa just doesn’t seem equipped to be a high level welterweight and Ramos should confirm it with a win tonight.
Sebastian Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) is in action against Jorge Cota (30-4, 27 KOs). Fundora is a gigantic super-welterweight prospect at 6’7”. He uses his length pretty well with a decent southpaw jab and a good left uppercut that works a treat against smaller opponents (which is everybody at this weight). Like a lot of tall fighters however, his size has given him some defensive flaws. His head movement is lacking and he tends to rely simply on backing up as a means of defense if an opponent can fire back. Cota is a tough, high volume pressure fighter who can punch but is terribly flawed technically. He has suffered devastating knockout losses before to Jermall Charlo and Erickson Lubin and should be there to be hit by Fundora’s uppercut. This is a fight Fundora should win handily but if Cota can manage to get past his jab, he might give Fundora a few dicey moments on the inside.
Rounding up the main card is perhaps the most intriguing match up on the card, Jesus Ramos (15-0, 14 KOs) vs Javier Molina (22-3, 9 KOs). Ramos is a 20 year old prospect with devastating power in both hands that no one has lasted more than 4 rounds against. He is a southpaw and unlike some other young big punchers, consistently goes to the body and avoids the trapping of headhunting. Molina has only lost to titlists Jamal James and Jose Pedraza recently and has never been stopped. He’s a very good boxer at distance and should be able to take Ramos deeper into the fight than his previous opponents have. However he’s struggled with Pedraza switching to southpaw and given his relative lack of power will probably struggle if he can’t keep Ramos at bay.
Former super-welterweight champion Erislandy Lara’s middleweight debut (27-3-3, 15 KOs) for the vacant WBA belt will headline the prelims on Fox. Lara has been a mainstay at the top of 154 for the last decade. He lost close fights to Paul Williams, Canelo and Jarrett Hurd and held the WBA belt, which he defended 5 times. Like most Cubans he is a slick, defensively sound counter fighter. He’ll be facing Thomas Lamanna (30-4-1, 12 KOs) who is a decent fighter but has never faced anyone on the level of Lara and has failed in each stp up in competition he’s taken in his career so far. At 29, he’s highly unlikely to make the leap in ability he’d need to stand a chance against even an aging Lara.
This card may lack a truly cracking match up but it has some top fighters at crossroads in their careers and a couple of good prospects facing interesting tests.
Ruiz vs Arreola airs on PPV at 9:00pm ET / 6:00pm PT with the prelims starting at 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT on Fox.