Andy Ruiz Jr. and Chris Arreola are slated to meet in Carson California this Saturday on a Premier Boxing Champions pay-per view main event at heavyweight. I wanted to address this main event on PPV as we approach fight night with some thoughts on the fight.
PPV!?: I am not alone in questioning this PPV as it really sucks for a PPV main event. When PBC first came out it was on regular TV with the aim of ending PPV and now it has evolved or devolved into frivolous PPV events. There was a time when PPV meant the best events in boxing whether it be iconic legends meeting or massive title fights. This is neither, I scoffed at this as a PPV main event when it was announced and I scoff at it now. Out of principle alone I would never purchase this fight and recommend not to buy it to show these promoters we will not fall for bullshit.
The Match: While I do not like this as a PPV I cannot deny that this will likely be an exciting fight. These two fighters do not know how to be boring in the ring as neither is going to clinch or run in there. They both have fast hands for heavyweights and carry dangerous power in either hand. Ruiz Jr. has 22 KO’s in 33 wins with Arreola scoring 33 KO’s in 38 wins. I expect a toe to toe fight for as long as it lasts and expect a knockout and possibly in the first four rounds. These two are going to meet in the middle of the ring in the first round and get down to business right away because that is how the two of them fight.
Ruiz Jr.: Andy probably had the craziest eight month period at heavyweight since Buster Douglas upset Mike Tyson in 1990. Ruiz Jr. stopped undefeated Anthony Joshua to earn multiple world title belts at heavyweight and shook up the boxing world like Douglas did in 1990. Unfortunately, Ruiz and Douglas were not built for long term success as they blew up in weight and lost their titles in their first defense. Ruiz Jr. took the entire year off in 2020 and fired his trainer Manny Robles who led him to the title. That firing drew ire from many boxing fans who felt that it was a sign of his lack of commitment to the sport and saw this as confirmation that he would fade into nowhere. Ruiz has since hired Eddy Reynoso and showed a serious commitment to boxing as he trains alongside Canelo Alvarez. When he won the title he was a chubby 268 and when he lost the title he was 283 and weighed in with his shirt on which was a horrible sign. Ruiz claimed during the countdown special stated that he was 257 and plans to weigh between 250 and 255. When Ruiz was going into the rematch with Joshua he posed for photos that made it appear that he lost weight and by the time he got in there he had actually gained 14 pounds. I do not believe everything I see and hear but given the Reynoso track record I am very much likely to believe that he will show up in the shape he claims to be at. I anticipate a lot more head movement and skillful counter punching. He needs to dominate this fight and score a knockout to impress me and make a statement.
Arreola: Chris has been in the heavyweight landscape for about 13 years or so first breaking into serious contender status in 2008 when he faced Jameel McCline prior to facing Vitali Klitschko. He had a chance to be the first Mexican heavyweight champion but it did not go to plan when he quit between rounds against Klitschko before crying in the post fight interview and claiming he did not really quit. After that his career had highs and lows where he would blow up in weight and get fat and claim to be back better than ever. In 2014 he lost to Bermane Stiverne for the WBC title after Klitschko retired and despite building an early lead he was knocked out while ahead in the fight. After that he got the benefit of the doubt in questionable cards against Fred Kassi and Travis Kauffman and looked done in those fights. He went on to fight a war with Adam Kownacki in a fight that raised his stock though it was a losing affair. Chris also has injured hands in fights against Tomasz Adamek, Manuel Quezada, and others. He is a very dangerous puncher early in fights as he knocked out Eric Molina in one round in addition to knocking out Seth Mitchell in the first round as well. What Arreola does very well is land in between his opponents combinations. He hits hard and has fast hands and has built a career off of eating a punch to land his own and in many fights he has cashed in. Against Stiverne and Deontay Wilder he was knocked out due to the vulnerability his style allows. Against Kauffman and Kassi and also Wilder he looked like a shot fighter who could not pull the trigger. Maybe he could see the openings but just could not get it done. Arreola has hired Joe Goosen who is a no bullshit trainer who pushes his fighters to their physical limits and it appears the duo have had a solid camp. Arreola looks slim though we do not know his exact weight he looks thinner than he has in years. Chris looks like he took to the new coach and his methods and I look forward to see what he has to offer. However, like a wife that has been cheated on too many times by a man who keeps promising to do better I am going to need to see more. Chris is upset that Ruiz became the first Mexican champion at heavyweight and he seems motivated to win just to take some of that glory.
Prediction: I fully expect Ruiz to win by stoppage in the first five rounds. He is faster, younger and fresher and has worn a championship title. Arreola is old, has been knocked out several times, is shop worn from numerous wars and has been past it for about five years or longer. Chris is way too easy to hit and I think Andy takes a good enough punch where if this gets into the trenches he will be at a serious advantage. I expect Ruiz to counter Arreola to death and win a stoppage in a fun but short fight. Think Canelo vs James Kirkland for reference.
See your future be your future: For Ruiz this is a chance to avoid becoming Arreola. What I mean by that is Arreola like Ruiz got off to an explosive start to his career with KO’s and a title fight but then blew up in weight and disappeared from serious contention. Through name value and a loyal fan bas Chris has continued to get big opportunities that he really did not deserve based on in the ring accomplishments. Ruiz can learn and grow with Reynoso and get the life in the fast lane champion/viral star lifestyle out of his system or he can get fat and get knocked around by the best fighters in the division. Personally I like Ruiz as a fighter and liked his story in 2019 and hope he goes on to correct the mistakes of December 2019 to get back into serious contention. The division is wide open for him to get back in with Wilder deposed and Joshua whom he has beaten looking to unify all the titles. This fight is designed for Ruiz to look good but lets see what he does next.