Andy Ruiz Jr (34-2, 22 KOs) didn’t have it easy in the early stages against Chris Arreola (38-7-1, 33 KO), but the former unified heavyweight champion overcame an early knockdown and pulled away on the scorecards to take a deserved unanimous decision in front of over 3,000 fans at a limited capacity Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. This was a title eliminator, which means absolutely nothing in boxing, but Ruiz certainly should get a bigger matchup ahead against the elite of the division not named Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury soon. Luis Ortiz was at the venue and could be next.
There was not much interest in a feeling out process between two high-volume punchers. There were loud chants for Ruiz inside the arena and he had the better start in the opening round, landing a hard right hand in the final minute of the opening frame.
Arreola answered back in a big way in round two, flooring Ruiz with a right hand on what was a flash knockdown. Ruiz didn’t appear badly hurt but it was a clean shot and it put him on the canvas. Arreola did not rush in for the finish but he shook Ruiz again with a left hook in the closing seconds of the 2nd to really cap off a great round for him.
Ruiz again got rocked to started round three and he did everything but go down. It was bombs away from both men and the crowd was absolutely loving it. Defense was not a priority, to say the least. Andy settled down by patiently attacking Arreola’s body to set up the right hand upstairs, but of course when he did that it became a slugfest again.
Evidently even though the fight in the ring was exhilarating, the fights in the stands were apparently also amazing. Welcome back, fans! Anyway, Ruiz and Arreola simmered down a bit in terms of pace, which allowed Ruiz to do the superior work with his jab and body shots. His faster hand speed was noticeable but Arreola still had his moments mostly upstairs. One thing you cannot deny is the chins both men possess.
Ruiz appeared to take control of proceedings through the second half of the contest, and Arreola noticeably shook out his left arm just past the midway point of round eight. Andy committed to the body jab and counter shots upstairs, along with the occasional lead left hook. Arreola insisted to trainer Joe Goossen that his arm was okay even though replays showed the noticeable grimace in pain.
Andy’s left eye was swelling as a result of Arreola’s work but while Arreola’s workrate waned, Ruiz stayed consistently outpunching and outlanding his opponent. An accidental clash of heads occurred in the 10th round but no cut occurred. However, Arreola’s left arm continued to be problematic and he shook it out frequently. That didn’t deter him from slugging it out with Ruiz in an entertaining final round, but there was no doubt who the winner was.
Official result: Andy Ruiz Jr def. Chris Arreola by unanimous decision (118-109, 118-109, 117-110)