The fight proved to be better than some expected, and it harbored a couple of shocking moments. Former Unified Heavyweight Champion 🇺🇸Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. (34-2-0, 22KO), after a slow, lethargic start, was forced to make serious adjustments after 🇺🇸Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (38-7-0, 33KO) indeed made it a nightmare early on with his determination, and his power. Andy did what he had to do to overhaul his approach, the way you’d expect a Championship caliber fighter to do, and utilized what worked to establish control, en route to the Unanimous Decision verdict in his favor.
Of course the first round was one where you kept your eyes on Andy Ruiz, wondering what alterations you would see in his repertoire while operating under a new regime, and early on, you didn’t really see much of a difference, as Andy was trying to find his rhythm after being out for quite some time. While he was in lethargic mode, trying to see what would work for him, his opponent gave him, his handlers, and his fans a scare.
Arreola stunned those in attendance when he knocked Ruiz to the canvas with an arching right hand in round 2, as Andy made the mistake of ducking down sideways right in front of Chris, and taking his eyes off of his opponent. Ruiz knee touched the canvas, which relegated Referee Jack Reiss to administer the 8-count to the former Champ.
Ruiz got up, but he continued to make the same mistake of coming straight forward, and dropping his left hand, to where Arreola continued to scrap him with a quick counter right. Chris hurt Ruiz once again at the backend of the same stanza.
Arreola landed what was the hardest punch of the fight by either man, with a pinpoint right hand that buckled Ruiz knees all the way, and the former Champ was in big trouble as he staggered all the way backwards to the ropes from the impact of the punch, but managed to keep himself up, and got out of the round.
It was at this point that Ruiz knew he had to alter his gameplan. Against every other opponent in his career, Ruiz was able to walk them down, with no remorse, due to his power, speed, and ability to take the shot (even being evident against🇬🇧Anthony Joshua in most segments), Arreola was the first fighter to be able to consistently hurt Ruiz, and make him pay for walking him down with overconfidence.
Ruiz, guided by his new Trainer Eddy Reynoso, made the adjustments to take away Arreola’s right hand completely, by getting his head more off the line, feinting, changing eye levels, and subtly stepping in and out of range, and from that point forth, Arreola had a hard time adjusting to the adjustments implemented by Andy.
The jab, cross, hook combination was working wonders for Ruiz, as Chris was picking off the 1, and 2 routinely, but he had a difficult time picking off the hook that followed, and the other 2 punches forced Arreola’s high guard up, to constantly mask the sweeping hook. Andy took control of the fight in the mid rounds, and round 7 is where it began to go south heavily for Arreola, as Ruiz targeted a heavy right hook to the back of Chris’s left rotator cuff, and threw his shoulder out of whack, going according to Arreola’s reaction.
In pain, it was clear that damage was done, as Arreola was no longer snapping the jab off like he did early on to get the respect of the former Champion, and with him no longer being able to commit to an authoritative jab, he couldn’t fire off the left hook anymore either, so a fighter who was having trouble landing the right cross from round 4 on, also had his left hand legally nullified, so Arreola was in no mans land in having the ability to attack, or know-how to adjust, and Ruiz took full advantage of the new development.
Ruiz counterpunched, and carefully lead in spots without getting too overeager, and began to thoroughly outpoint Arreola, putting points on the board, and using that approach to nearly sweep the second half of the fight, and did so until the 12th and final bell.
The judges read out as a Unanimous Decision verdict for Andy Ruiz, which was accurate, but what wasn’t accurate was the overly wide scoring in his favor, and that was what Arreola was disgusted with. He understood whole heartedly that Andy won the fight, but the 40 year old wanted the accurate scoring to better reflect the fight, and his efforts. Arreola in the most Arreola way possible (laughs) summed it up with a few choice words that he had for the three judges.
Both fighters expressed their enjoyment of the fight, and both are open to having a rematch. I say why not? there’s a specific market for it, the result of the first fight was a success in entertainment value, and the story is still alive to make for a good money fight for the 2 proud Mexican-American Heavyweights to run it back one more time.