New York: Andy Ruiz Jr. set a goal after losing his heavyweight titles to Anthony Joshua more than a year and a half ago in Saudi Arabia. He was on a quest to lose weight and sought the help of super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and trainer Eddie Reynoso.
Saturday night, the first step was successful after Ruiz won a unanimous decision over fellow Mexican heavyweight Chris Arreola.
I will be the first to admit Chris Arreola and Andy Ruiz Jr. was not a heavyweight fight good enough for Pay-Per-View and more suited for a free FOX Sports PBC Fight NIght.
Well, I was wrong. I am sure many that purchased the PPV Saturday night got more than expected because it was worth the purchase. Heavyweight fights are supposed to be good encounters and some over the years have been outright boring.
Except, Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson California, Ruiz and Arreola witnessed two heavyweights with something to fight for. It was better than expected, entertaining, and one of the better fights this year.
It was far from boring and what a heavyweight fight should be. They punched from the opening bell. They went to the body. Arreola in the second round used a short right to the head that was scored a knockdown. .
It was Ruiz in the tenth round. He jabbed, mixed his punches. Arreola seemed to be hurt from those punches that affected his arm. Ruiz, though, stayed with a plan as blood ran down his nose. Arreola continued to make his case.
All that remained was the suspense. You know the judges scorecards that I refer to as “Three Blind Mice.” Ruiz Jr. got the deserved unanimous decision win and will be in discussions again with an opportunity to become a two-time heavyweight champion from Mexico.
Arreola, though, deserved better than two judges scorecards of 118-109. No disputing, Arreola deserved more than one round and that’s difficult to comprehend after the knockdown.
I would criticize Arreola over the years for a foul mouth after his outcomes that were good or bad. But not this time.
Arreola admitted he lost. And he told it like it was. He told the world, in words I won’t write, about the judges and their incompetence to score fights. But the PPV audience saw a different and leaner Chris Arreola who deserves more opportunities.
And they saw a different and prepared Andy Ruiz Jr.
Ruiz said, “We did what we had to do. Thank God we got this victory and on to the next.”
Another fight for these two Mexican heavyweights may not be the answer. Though, I am sure more would buy into a PPV rematch with a more favorable opinion of purchasing after this one. Arreola, in the meantime, can continue his quest again to become a champion and by all means his stock went up.
For Ruiz Jr., there is definitely another opportunity that will come.
But with this heavyweight division there is more focus on Tyson Fury, Joshua, and Deontay Wilder. A trilogy with Wilder and Fury is not close and that could open the door for a Wilder-Ruiz Jr.fight.
Regardless, there are any number of ranked heavyweights that could be in line for Andy Ruiz Jr. and that will be in the hands of promoters that have a state in all of this.
First, the assumption is Bob Arum will continue in attempts to please Fury the WBC heavyweight champion in a goal to finally unify the titles against Joshua. There reportedly is a record site fee of $150 million to stage a Fury-Josuha fight in Saudi Arabia.
Arum has said nothing is finalized for Fury-Joshua as he continues discussions with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom that promote Joshua.
But Saturday night, unexpectedly, we got that outstanding heavyweight fight. And, yes, I want to see more of Andy Ruiz Jr. and Chris Arreola. Perhaps a rematch or with other opponents and leave the incompetent ringside judges at home.
The heavyweight division had momentum. It got more interesting and that’s the way it should be.
THROWING THE PUNCHES: Thomas LaManna needs to be proud of getting the title opportunity against 36-year old Cuban Erislandy Lara despite the quick first round knockout that denied him of the vacant WBA Middleweight title.
Lara, now with a third title in a second weight class, made it easy with his quick and superb overhead left that took 80 seconds. Lara said that LaManna went right into the punch.
LaManna promoted shows the past year in Mexico under his banner and picked up a few wins during the past year as the WBA took notice. Promoter, manager, fighter, and that got him in the ring with Lara Saturday night on the Ruiz-Arreola undercard that was televised on FOX Sports…
In the co-main event welterweight contender Abel Ramos (27-4-2, 21 KOs) delivered an impressive performance in stopping former champion Omar Figueroa Jr., (28-2-1, 19 KOs) after six-rounds in their WBA Welterweight Title Eliminator.
Figueroa came and had success in the first round, out landing Ramos slightly with 12 power punches to Ramos’ 11.
“Omar is a very tricky fighter,” said Ramos. “He has an awkward defense and it was hard to catch him clean at first, but the fight overall went as planned. I trained so hard for this fight. I knew my career was on the line. I knew I needed a win and I knew Omar would bring a good fight. I’m glad to be back on the winning side and I’m ready to take on the best of the division.”
In between the sixth and seventh rounds, referee Jerry Cantu waived off the bout, at the suggestion of Figueroa’s corner. Ramos was the busier and more accurate fighter, out landing Figueroa 150 to 74, with a 34% to 24% edge in accuracy…
Also on the Pay-Per-View card, undefeated super welterweight Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora (17-0-1, 12 KOs) continued his mark for ranking with a fourth-round stoppage over Jorge “El Demonio “Cota (30-5, 27 KOs) in their WBC Super Welterweight Title Eliminator.
Fundora and Cota stood toe-to-toe from the opening bell, throwing big punches and marking up each other early. Fundora landed 29 and 28 power punches in the first two rounds, with Cota connecting on 15 and 17.
The fourth round saw Fundora break through with a big shot that appeared to finally daze Cota. Fundora pushed forward aggressively to look to send Cota down, while Cota was still able to wing his own power shots despite his impaired state.
“I saw his leg wobble in the first round, but he took it and kept coming,” said Fundora. “The second time I saw it, I knew I had to go for the kill.”
A final powerful left hook that Fundora landed finally prompted referee Ray Corona to stop the bout at 2:35 of the fourth round. Cota disagreed with the stoppage, while Fundora set his sights on future big fights in the 154-pound division.
“It was a bad stoppage,” said Cota. “I felt like they stopped the fight early considering I had just landed a big punch. Too fast, too soon. The fans expressed their feelings. They were clearly upset by how the fight ended. That’s why I raised my hands. There is plenty more of Cota to come in the future.”
Fundora said, “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…”
In the pay-per-view opener, rising star Jesus Ramos Jr (16-0, 14 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Mexican Olympian Javier Molina (22-4, 9 KOs) after 10 rounds of welterweight action.
Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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