Ruiz vs Arreola: Heavyweight Hunger Games, Fox PPV Saturday
SAN DIEGO, Calif. April 30, 2021 – In theory, boxers in the heavyweight division don’t have to worry about making weight like their fellow fighters in the smaller weight divisions. They aren’t necessarily worried about following stringent nutrition plans and suffering for the scale.
Mexican-American heavyweights Andy Ruiz Jr. of Imperial, California, and fellow Southern Californian Chris Arreola of Escondido have let their big appetites for life get in the way of their athletic success during their careers. Both have battled their naturally big physiques at times as much as their opponents.
Now the big men will see who prevails in their personal Hunger Games challenge as they headline a Fox Sports pay-per-view card from the Dignity Health Sports Park (AKA StubHub for your hardliners) on Saturday, May 1. The main event begins at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT for the PPV, with undercard fights on Fox Sports at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT.
Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs), now age 40, came to his reckoning late in his career and hopes for one last good run under the guidance of trainer Joe Goosen. Arreola says he must train away from home to stay disciplined. He considered retiring after breaking his hand during his loss to Adam Kownacki, but the ring still calls him.
Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) let the heavyweight championship of the world slip through his hands after his upset victory over Britain’s Anthony Joshua. He celebrated a little too much, lost focus, and entered the rematch in horrible shape. Ruiz Jr. admits he let himself balloon up to well over 300 pounds during the pandemic. In a cry for help, he contacted Mexican superstar and trainer Eddy Reynoso, asking if they’d take him on. They agreed.
Hard work pays off for Ruiz and Arreola on Fight Night
Both men are in the best shape of their lives, though Ruiz Jr. says he’s still got a way to go. At their weigh-in Friday in Carson, California, Arreola weighed 228.5 pounds, the lightest in his 18-year professional career. Ruiz Jr. weighed in at 256 pounds, far under the 283.5 he weighted in the loss against Joshua and 12 pounds under his weight when he got the upset win six months prior.
“I just worked hard every day,” said Arreola on Friday. “I listened to whatever Joe (Goosen) said. This weight means nothing to me. All that matters is the hard work I put in. I’m ready for tomorrow. I’m more ready than I’ve ever been.
“We worked three, four times harder than that fight. Because I knew Andy is coming for my head. Andy has been working hard, as you can tell. This calls for a great night of boxing. Everyone that doubted me, you’re going to see on Saturday. Let’s put on a great show for Mexican fans, for all the boxing fans in the world,” said Arreola.
Ruiz Jr. expressed similar thoughts. “It’s all the hard work and dedication. Ever since I went over there with Eddy and Canelo, it’s been all about discipline, discipline, discipline, not just inside the ring but outside the ring. That’s why we had to make the change. I could have dropped even more, but I feel strong at 256. I feel amazing.
Ruiz Jr. says he’s much improved from his previous performances. “I’m more fast. I’m more explosive. I could move around more, bob and weave, counterpunch. Before, I used to have this big gut, and I couldn’t throw my punches right. At this weight, I’ve done everything right, everything correct. I’m excited to see how I feel May 1.”
Prediction: Fan-friendly all-action fight with Ruiz Jr. win
Both men declined to provide a specific prediction on the outcome other than a victory, a fan-friendly fight, and a safe exit after the fight is over to their respective families.
Ruiz Jr. says his hand speed is the key to success, driven by his desire to make up for disappointing so many people. “I killed the old Andy, and a new Andy was born. I have a lot to prove. I let a lot of people down, and that’s why I had to make big changes to myself. I know what I’m capable of doing, and I know what I can accomplish. I have it inside of me to become the Mexican two-time heavyweight champion of the world.” Ruiz Jr. says trainer Eddy Reynoso has imposed discipline and given him motivation and confidence.
Arreola described himself as rejuvenated. “I always want to win, but facing someone like Andy, who’s accomplished what he has, can add another notch to my belt. He’s the man that beat the man, so I want to beat that man. We’re heavyweights … every punch is going to hurt. This is the hurt business.
“The hard work has showed in my body, and it’s going to show on Saturday. With Adam (Kownacki), we just slugged it out. With Andy, I have to be aware at all times. He has some of the fastest hands in the division. I have to make sure I move my head, because this is going to be a great fight,” said Arreola, predicting a battle of attrition.
Both men say the fight isn’t personal, and the mutual respect between them is apparent. But the need for a win to propel their fortunes forward is the driving factor. Few experts are predicting a win by Arreola, and the oddsmakers back them up. Those calling for a result believe Ruiz Jr. will get an early knockout. Arreola has been stopped twice; Ruiz Jr. has never suffered a stoppage loss. Both men know what it’s like to hit the canvas.
A stoppage victory by Arreola would be as much of an upset as Ruiz Jr.’s win over Joshua. But he is capable of going the distance and making Ruiz Jr. work for the win just as he did Adam Kownacki. It’s hard not to wonder what could have been for Arreola had he reached his fitness epiphany 10 years ago. He will give it his all, and he might end up as the People’s Champion in Carson, but Ruiz Jr. will leave with the victory. If he does, it’s time for Arreola to retire.
Undercard fights feature all-Mexican lineup
On the PPV undercard, former world champion Omar Figueroa, Jr. of Weslaco, Texas (28-1-1, 19 KOs) faces Abel Ramos of Casa Grande, Arizona (26-4-2, 20 KOs) in the 12-round welterweight co-main event.
Impressive young super welterweight contender Sebastián “The Towering Inferno’’ Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) of Coachella, California takes on hard-hitting Jorge “El Demonio’’ Cota of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico (30-4, 27 KOs) in another 12-round bout. Another promising prospect, welterweight Jesús Ramos, brother of Abel (15-0, 14 KOs), will challenge U.S. Olympian Javier Molina of Norwalk, California (22-3, 9 KOs) in the 10-round opening.
Action on the earlier Fox PBC Fight Night portion of the card includes WBA Super Welterweight Champion Erislandy Lara of Cuba (27-3-3. 15 KOs) and Thomas LaManna of New Jersey (30-4-1, 12 KOs) in the headline bout for a minor WBA Middleweight title. Mexican featherweight contenders Eduardo Ramirez of Los Mochis (24-2-3, 11 KOs) and Isaac Avelar of Mexico (17-2, 10 KOs) fight in the co-main event beginning at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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