Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Chris Arreola: Pride and Redemption

Mexico's two greatest heavyweights seek another world title shot as former champion Andy Ruiz Jr. faces dangerous veteran Chris Arreola Saturday night on FOX Sports PPV.

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Ruiz vs Arreola Weigh in

In a pre-Cinco de Mayo event, the two most accomplished Mexican big men of all-time meet in a must-win battle for a spot back among the heavyweight elite.

This Saturday, May 1, live from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and atop a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), former unified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) meets rugged three-time title challenger Chris Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) in a twelve-round battle with pride, career redemption, and a possible world title shot on the line.

The fan-friendly pay-per-view undercard is packed with all-action fights. In the twelve-round welterweight co-feature, former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. faces the always tough Abel Ramos. Also on the card, exciting super welterweight contender Sebastián “The Towering Inferno’’ Fundora takes on the heavy-handed Jorge “El Demonio’’ Cota in a 12-round battle. In the pay-per-view opener, rising welterweight star Jesús Ramos, Jr., nephew of Abel Ramos, meets U.S. Olympian Javier “El Intocable” Molina in a ten-round welterweight attraction.

The Story

It was a Rocky story come to life when massive underdog Andy Ruiz stopped Anthony Joshua back in June 2019 to become unified world heavyweight champ. A late replacement as the B-side for Joshua’s U.S. debut at Madison Square Garden, the battler from Imperial, California shocked the world with his performance and became the first heavyweight titlist of Mexican descent.

The happy vibes didn’t last all that long, though. Somewhat softened and distracted by his newfound fame and fortune, Ruiz came into his mandated rematch with Joshua six months later in Saudi Arabia flat and ill-prepared to handle the hit-and-run mobile former champ. 

The unanimous decision loss led to some major shakeups in Ruiz’s life. Under the tutelage of new trainer Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, “The Destroyer” looks to be sharper and in better shape than ever before. This Saturday’s bout is his first step back on the path to another world title shot.

Chris Arreola had been written off as all but finished, but the addition of trainer Joe Goossen has brought life and a sharpened skill set to the 40-year-old. Under Goossen, the three-time former world title challenger looked energetic and determined in a back-and-forth, all-action battle with Adam Kownacki in 2019 that, ultimately, ended up being a decision loss.

After a lengthy layoff, though, “The Nightmare” is back and eager to make one last run at a world title. Although he has a healthy respect for his opponent, the reality is that Ruiz stands in the way of everything he wants to accomplish on this last leg of his 17-year career.

The Stakes

For Ruiz, a win represents the first step on the road to redemption after his win-it-all/lose-it-all 2019. For Arreola, a win means a career rebirth and return to main stage relevance. Realistically, a world title shot likely awaits the winner of this bout, no matter who comes out ahead. 

This is going to be an action packed event between fighters who do not go backwards. Former Unified World Heavyweight Champion - Andy Ruiz Jr.

The Matchup

Ruiz may look like an “everyman,” but he has deceptive athleticism and well-honed skills. Everything that makes him special was on display in his upset of Anthony Joshua. He has quick hands, puts combinations together well, and is a tenacious battler whose instinct is always to fight his way out of trouble. Blessed with a solid chin, he was able to rise off the canvas and make history.

The Joshua rematch, however, showcased Ruiz’s weaknesses. With a tendency to succumb to distraction, he’s had a history of not preparing intensely enough to be his best self in the ring. Against Joshua in Saudi Arabia, he came into the fight overweight, under-trained, and incapable of matching the mobile-minded former champ’s athleticism.

There’s nothing that screams elite athleticism about the blue collar Arreola. However, a strong jab and heavy hands, combined with his toughness and unflappable ring character, make him a formidable foe. By nature a come-forward fighter, he likes to press the action and is most comfortable when fighting someone who shares that similar mind set.

Like Ruiz, Arreola has also struggled with presenting consistent effort in training and has entered the ring way too often in less than optimal condition.

The Words

Andy Ruiz Jr.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring on May 1. I have known Chris Arreola since I turned professional. He’s a Mexican warrior just like me, and I expect him to come at me with everything he’s got. This is going to be an action packed event between fighters who do not go backwards. I will be smart and ready to do whatever it takes to get the win and put myself back in position to become heavyweight champion again.”

Chris Arreola

“I feel great. I’ve been working hard for months. I know that I have to make this a great fight for the fans and for myself. I know how crucial this fight is for my career. I don’t pay attention to the odds. If people want to make me the underdog, I’m comfortable with that. I’ve been an underdog my whole life.”

The Breakdown

Both fighters will come forward, looking to engage. Ruiz has the more nuanced skills and quicker hands, so he’ll likely be getting off first as Arreola spends the night returning fire, answering with thudding shots.

Both claim to be in top shape under the guidance of new trainers, so we may see the best version of Ruiz against the best version of Arreola on Saturday night. For Arreola, that could mean having to walk through some shots to try and batter Ruiz down over the long haul. For Ruiz, that could mean having to maintain a high work rate to pick apart the older, more battle-worn Arreola.

Any way you look at things, though, there’s going to be a battle and the winner will have to overcome some legit heavy artillery to move on to the next chapter of his career. 

For a closer look at Ruiz vs Arreola, check out our fight night page. 

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