It's a Labor Day Weekend showdown when former unified champ Andy Ruiz Jr. and Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz square off in a WBC Heavyweight title eliminator Sunday night on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View.
This Sunday, September 4, former unified heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. (34-2, 22 KOs) and top contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) meet in a high-stakes 12-round WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
The Labor Day weekend clash headlines a stacked four-fight FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
In the co-main event, all-action Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz will take on fellow Mexican battler Eduardo Ramírez in a 12-round WBC Lightweight Title Eliminator. Also on the card, former three-division world champ Abner Mares returns to the ring after a three-year hiatus in a 10-round super featherweight bout against former title challenger Miguel Flores. In the pay-per-view opener, explosive rising star Jose Valenzuela meets former world champion Edwin De Los Santos in a 10-round lightweight contest.
Andy Ruiz Jr. shook the world when he rose from the canvas to stop the heavily favored unified world champ Anthony Joshua back in 2019. The upset led to a level of fame the blue collar contender had never experienced before.
But if the tall task of facing the big-ticket Brit brought out the best in him as a warrior, all the trappings of success brought out the worst in him as a human being. Burdened with distraction, Ruiz would come into their rematch just six months later, overweight and under-trained, and drop a one-sided unanimous decision to a movement-minded Joshua.
A long period of soul searching followed and then a ring return against fellow Mexican-American Chris Arreola in 2021. Despite a rocky start and a second-round knockdown, Ruiz would settle down and take a decisive unanimous decision victory.
Hungry for another shot at world title glory, the Imperial, California native needs a win this Sunday to get him that opportunity.
The 43-year-old Luis Ortiz is coming off a big win over former world titlist Charles Martin on New Year’s Day. Like Ruiz, he also had to suffer through some early rough patches before overcoming. Suffering knockdowns in rounds one and four, the veteran contender would come back to blast his opponent away in the sixth round.
Fighting out of Miami by way of Camaguey, Cuba, Ortiz has been regarded as an elite in the heavyweight division for years now. However, two competitive losses to then-WBC champ Deontay Wilder and an inability to land big fights against other top heavyweights have kept the highly-skilled Cuban from next-level success.
A win on Sunday will get him one more shot at becoming Cuba’s first-ever world heavyweight champion.
This WBC Heavyweight Title Eliminator will clear a path to one more world title shot for the winner and one more shot at all the acclaim and riches that go along with the belt.
Ruiz’s body type and overall look don’t exactly scream “world class athlete,” but the man is deceptively fast and athletic. He also has quick hands, puts combinations together well, and is a tenacious battler whose instinct is always to fight his way out of trouble. All of this makes the 32-year-old a formidable foe.
On defense, he slips punches well and has overall good instincts. His sturdy chin has also served him well against high-end opposition.
Ruiz’s weaknesses, however, have historically been wavering focus and a penchant for self-indulgence, which have affected his conditioning and in-ring performance.
“ This fight is going to end in a knockout. ” Heavyweight Contender - Luis Ortiz
Ortiz is a smart, well-schooled southpaw boxer-puncher who fights at a controlled pace. Working behind a solid jab that establishes both pace and space, he likes to stalk his opposition, probing for openings and opportunities. His greatest offensive asset is a heavy left hand, which he employs as either a straight, sharp stinger to the head and body or as a thudding overhand bomb.
Defensively, Ortiz relies on the distance created by his jab and his ability to pick off shots with his gloves.
“I’ve been training hard because we want to climb back up the ladder of the heavyweight division. That’s why we picked a tough guy like Luis Ortiz. It’s going to be a crazy atmosphere in that arena. All the Mexican fans will be there supporting, and may the best man win. I’m glad that Ortiz is predicting a knockout, because I’m ready for anything. My only prediction is that I’m going to win.”
“I’m very excited. The fans are going to see two fighters who love to battle and love to punch and punch hard. This is a dream come true and we’re not going to disappoint the fans on September 4. This fight is going to end in a knockout.I’m sure Andy thinks the same thing. This one isn’t going to go 12 rounds.”
Both Ruiz and Ortiz are among the very best when it comes to heavyweight skill sets. Both fighters are also brimming with warrior pride. So, whatever happens, expect it to be spirited and well-executed.
Ruiz, along with an 11-year age advantage, will have an edge in both hand and foot speed. The southpaw Ortiz, meanwhile, brings with him a four-inch reach advantage and an edge in one-punch knockout power.
The pace and tempo of this bout will tell a lot about who’s having his way.
Ruiz does his best work when pushing himself to action, utilizing his hand speed and underrated agility. Ortiz, on the other hand, likes to slow down the pace and prod his way to big, fight-altering shots.
The Cuban, at this stage of his career, will have a tough time dealing with Ruiz’s hand speed in a back-and-forth war of attrition. So, it’ll be imperative for him to control this bout with his jab, make his big left hands count, and limit his opponent’s ability to let his hands go. Ruiz is a stellar counter-puncher when focused and in shape and if he’s allowed to move those hands, things could get ugly for Ortiz, whose punch resistance has come into question in recent bouts.
Andy Ruiz vs. Luis Ortiz this Sunday will have a bit of everything. There’ll be some boxing, some banging, and some flat-out scrapping as both fierce competitors battle for one more shot at glory.
For a closer look at Ruiz vs Ortiz, check out our fight night page.
- Ruiz vs Ortiz