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Ruiz, Arreola Meet in Crossroads Mexican Showdown

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It would not be a Cinco De Mayo celebration without boxing and two heavyweights who could enter world title contention with an impressive victory.

Andy Ruiz and Chris Arreola will square off Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The 12-round bout will headline a four-bout FOX pay-per-view telecast (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

The clash between Ruiz and Arreola will pit two boxer-puncher who throw a high volume of punches. Both fighters are coming off of long layoffs from their last fights, respectively, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ruiz (33-2, 22 knockouts), who resides in Imperial, California, lost by unanimous decision to Anthony Joshua in his last fight in December 2019. Ruiz looked sluggish in the fight, partly from the 15 pounds he put on and partying since his upset win over Joshua in the first fight six months prior to the rematch. 

The 31-year-old did admit after the rematch to not training to his full potential for the rematch, eventually parting ways with trainer Manny Robles. Ruiz sought the services of trainer Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Canelo Alvarez, WBC junior lightweight titleholder Oscar Valdez, and unbeaten lightweight Ryan Garcia.

Ruiz has recently posted photos on his social media accounts of himself, looking trimmed-down and in shape for his clash against Arreola. He believes the switch to Reynoso was what his career needed.

“I was at 310 pounds when I started this camp,” said Ruiz at Wednesday’s press conference. “We started losing weight slowly but surely. People are wondering if I’m still going to have the same power after losing weight, but I’ve been working hard for this moment and the power is definitely staying with me.

“The lack of discipline that I had before training with Eddy Reynoso has been the biggest difference heading into this fight. You can’t play boxing. You have to stay ready always. That’s one of the main things that I’ve focused on, in addition to perfecting every movement I make in the ring.The game plan is always to be victorious. We have little strategies and combinations that we’re perfecting. I’m making sure I’m throwing punches the right way. I appreciated every trainer that I’ve had, and I learned something from all of them, but I feel like being in camp with Eddy was the best move for me.”

Arreola (38-6-1 1 NC, 33 KOs), who resides in Riverside, California, last fought in August 2019, losing by unanimous decision to then-unbeaten Adam Kownacki. Arreola performed well in defeat, setting the CompuBox record for total punches thrown by a heavyweight in a 12-round fight (1,125).

Arreola has challenged for a world title belt four times, losing to Vitali Klitschko in September 2009, Bermane Stiverne in 2013 and 2014, and Deontay Wilder in July 2016. 

He is now being trained by Joe Goossen after having been with Southern California-based trainer Henry Ramirez. Arreola believes he is in a better place now and is still a legit contender in the division. 

“I feel very rejuvenated heading into this fight,” said Arreola. “I’m excited and ready to go. Today is just a press conference, but just seeing Andy today gets my blood going, because I’m ready to fight right now.

“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. I’ve worked so hard, but I haven’t been trying to just lose weight specifically. The hard work has showed in my body and it’s going to show on Saturday.”

Also on the FOX pay-per-view telecast:

– Former world titleholder Omar Figueroa (28-1-1, 19 KOs) of Weslaco, Texas will square off against hard-hitting Abel Ramos (26-4-2, 20 KOs) in a 12-round bout. Like Figueroa, Ramos, who resides in Casa Grande, Arizona, is coming off a loss in his last fight.

– Unbeaten junior middleweight Sebastian Fundora (16-0-1, 11 KOs) of Coachella, California will face Mexico’s Jorge Cota (30-4, 27 KOs) in a 12-round bout. 

– Opening the telecast is a 10-round welterweight bout between Jesus Ramos (15-0, 14 KOs), who is the nephew of Abel Ramos, and Javier Molina (22-3, 9 KOs) of nearby Norwalk. 

Prior to the pay-per-view telecast, two fights will air live on the ‘FOX PBC Fight Night’ telecast. Erislandy Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs) will face Thomas Lamanna (30-4-1, 12 KOs) of Millville, New Jersey for the vacant WBA world middleweight title. In a clash between featherweights from Mexico, Eduardo Ramirez (24-2-3, 11 KOs) will square off against Isaac Avelar (17-2, 10 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September 2012 and The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at santio89@yahoo.com or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing

About Francisco Salazar

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