The former unified heavyweight champion overcomes adversity and shows some new wrinkles against a determined warrior Saturday night in the main event of an action-packed FOX Sports PPV.
Andy Ruiz got a chance to exorcize the doubts. He got a chance on Saturday night to see who he can be again—who he can really be. The former WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champ witnessed fast hands—his hands—chopping and strafing Chris Arreola. Ruiz saw quick, nimble feet—his feet—maneuvering around the ring. A few weeks ago, he even joked it was a miracle he could see his waistline for the first time in a while.
Now he can see the future.
Before a sellout crowd of 3,940 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Ruiz got up from a second-round knockdown to methodically break down the stubborn Arreola for a unanimous 12-round decision victory in the PBC FOX Sports pay-per-view main event.
For a moment, Ruiz was transported back to that magical night a month and two years ago to the day when he shocked the world—and maybe himself—when he rose from the mat to beat Anthony Joshua and become world champion.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) affirmed that he could be problems for any elite heavyweight today. Judges Lou Moret and Pat Russell each scored it 118-109, while judge Zachary Young had it 117-110 all for Ruiz.
“Chris is a veteran and a hard puncher,” Ruiz said. “We did what we had to do tonight. We got the victory that we wanted. I was at my lowest point and now I have to climb the ladder again. I'm thankful for the victory and I'm ready to move on to the next.”
Ruiz weighed in at 256, his lightest weight since he was 252¼ in a 10-round victory over Kevin Johnson in July 2019. It was a 27½-pound difference since the Joshua rematch, which he weighed a career-high 283½. Not to be outdone, a lean Arreola tipped the scales at a career-low 228½.
It was evident quite early that Ruiz had the faster hands. The 40-year-old Arreola (38-7-1, 33 KOs) was in good shape, thanks to new trainer Joe Goossen. Whether or not that he could last was the question.
Ruiz jabbed to the body and connected with rights to the body and the head. Then, suddenly, with 1:46 left in the second, Arreola dropped Ruiz with an overhand right on the side of Ruiz’s head, set up by the jab. Ruiz got back up, though on unstable legs. At the outset of the third, Arreola had Ruiz in trouble again with a counter left hook.
“He got me with a good clean right hand in the second round,” Ruiz said. “I was too overconfident and dropped my hand a bit. Hats off to him. We just kept pushing and pushing. I switched up and started focusing on counterpunching and working the body.
“I felt a little rust and I know other fighters can relate to that. If he wants to run it back, we'll run it back with him.”
In the fifth, Ruiz went back to pecking jabs to the body and closed the round with a three-punch combination. Ruiz was actually up on his toes in the sixth, his best round to that point.
Ruiz began finding a rhythm in the seventh. In the eighth, Arreola shook his left arm, after Ruiz hit him on his left shoulder blade. Arreola told Goossen that he was okay between rounds.
In the ninth and 10th, Ruiz kept tapping the body with hard jabs, then would mix rights with left hooks up top. Ruiz wore the stoic expression like he was taking a casual stroll in a park. With 2:05 left in the 11th, Ruiz had Arreola backing up, and once again, Arreola began shaking his left arm.
Ruiz finished strong, unleashing a three-punch combination just inside of two minutes left in the fight. With blood dripping from his nose, Ruiz closed with a left hook, followed by a right—Arreola deserves credit for withstanding the blows.
Afterward, not only did the 31-year-old Ruiz resurrect his career, so too may have Arreola.
“I respect the judges, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Arreola said. “He might have won, but don't tell me I only won two or three rounds. I got hit in the shoulder and it kinda threw it off. It wasn't a big deal though. It’s a part of boxing. I didn't take too much punishment. I'm ready to run it back with Andy.”
Despite Figueroa's awkward defensive style, Abel Ramos is starting to pick his opponent apart, taking control of the fight. #FigueroaRaoms— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) May 2, 2021
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Abel Ramos pulls off a mild surprise, stopping Omar Figueroa, Jr. in six
Omar Figueroa, Jr. likes to experiment. The former WBC lightweight titlist has a way of presenting new styles, as he did against Abel Ramos in a scheduled 12-round welterweight fight. Figueroa sporadically defended himself by crisscrossing his right hand over his left ear, and his left hand over his right ear.
It didn’t work too well. It took Ramos some time to adjust, but once he did, he dominating, stopping Figueroa after six rounds.
Ramos (27-4-2, 21 KOs) got rolling in the third and fourth rounds, hurting Figueroa numerous times with right uppercuts to the head and body. By the sixth, Figueroa’s left eye was swelling shut from uppercuts. He bravely attacked even in the face of Ramos’ clinical attack.
Finally, Ramos broke down Figueroa (28-2-1, 19 KOs) so much that he could not answer the bell for the seventh. It’s the first time Figueroa was stopped.
“Omar is a very tricky fighter,” Ramos said. “He has an awkward defense and it was hard to catch him clean at first, but the fight overall went as planned.”
Ramos moves up the hierarchy in the talent-stacked 147-pound division and is closing in on another big fight.
Sebastian Fundora stops Jorge Cota in four
Sebastian Fundora and Jorge Cota promised a war and delivered. A see-saw battle raged between the rising Fundora and the battle-tested Cota but the younger man was stronger down the stretch, battering Cota and stopping him at 2:35 of the fourth round.
The war began from the opening bell. As usual, the 6-foot-6 Fundora went to work on the inside, intent on ending matters early. They couldn’t miss each other, eschewing defense in exchange for a war of wills. Cota tagged Fundora with a looping left, and Fundora came right back with an uppercut. They threw a combined 120 total punches in the initial round—110 were power shots. By the second, Cota’s right eyelid was cut.
Fundora, 23, had the upper hand in the third yet was still eating hard counters from veteran. In the fourth, a left from Fundora (17-0-1, 12 KOs) hurt Cota (30-5, 27 KOs) as part of a four-punch combination. Cota’s legs buckled and he was barely hanging on, before referee Ray Corona stepped in to wave it over at 2:35.
There was a combined total of 203 punches thrown—200 were power punches.
“We were hitting each other, but my punches were doing more damage and that's why the referee stepped in,” Fundora said. “I think he could have been stopped earlier in the round. I just kept fighting until the end.
“My message to the rest of the division is that we're here. If you’re ready for war, we're ready to take it. Bring it.”
.@ramos_jesus9 and @JavierMolina562 both connect in the early rounds, with Ramos getting the better of their exchange. #RamosMolina— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) May 2, 2021
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Jesus Ramos keeps rolling, wins unanimous decision over Javier Molina
Jesus Ramos, the 20-year-old southpaw welterweight, used a consistent attack, mixing uppercuts, body shots and hooks to dismantle Javier Molina (22-3, 9 KOs) in an easy 10-round decision victory. Scores were 97-92 and 99-90 (2).
It was the second time Ramos (15-0, 14 KOs) went the distance and the first time he went 10 rounds. He fought with a patience beyond his years, working behind the jab and stepping in with combinations to the head and body.
Ramos sustained a minor cut in the corner of right eye in the sixth round. In the seventh, Molina had a point taken away by referee Gerard White for punches to the back of the head. Molina came forward in the ninth, though by then it was too late.
“It was my second time going the distance and that's what we wanted,” Jesus said. “We love knockouts, but we're glad at this point in my career that I got the experience. I thank Molina for taking the fight, he's a great fighter. I learned a lot today. I'm going to keep building on that.”
In a scheduled eight-round welterweight fight, Adrian Granados (21-8-3, 15 KOs) and Jose Sanchez (11-1-1, 4 KOs) fought to a draw, while heavyweight Carlos Negron (23-3, 18 KOs) won an eight-round decision over Scott Alexander (16-4-2, 8 KOs). Featherweight Anthony Garnica (6-0, 3 KOs) was dominant in a four-round decision over Jesse Bazzi (1-2, 0 KO), and 18-year-old lightweight Fernando Molina (6-0, 3 KOs) won a six-round decision over Prisco Marquez (4-3-1, 1 KO).
For a closer look at Ruiz vs Arreola, check out our fight night page.