Andy Ruiz Jr. rises from the canvas to see off foul-mouthed Chris Arreola

Andy Ruiz Jr beats Chris Arreola

Sean Michael Ham

Andy Ruiz Jr. defeated Chris Arreola on Saturday night, but his opponent was less-than-happy with the decision. At his post-fight interview, Arreola swore on more than one occasion.

The former unified heavyweight world champion bounced back from an early knockdown to defeat “The Nightmare” by unanimous decision in the main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event Saturday night from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

“Chris is a veteran and a hard puncher,” said Ruiz. “We did what we had to do tonight. We got the victory that we wanted.

“I was at my lowest point, and now I have to climb the ladder again. I’m thankful for the victory, and I’m ready to move on to the next.”

The battle between boxing’s two greatest Mexican-American heavyweights in Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) and Arreola (38-7-1, 33 KOs) began with fireworks, as the underdog Arreola landed a powerful overhand right that forced Ruiz to touch the canvas and earned Arreola an early knockdown on the cards.

Andy Ruiz Jr. recovered and survived the second round, taking the knockdown as a wake-up call and prompting him to initiate numerous big exchanges in the third round.

“He got me with a good clean right hand in the second round,” said Ruiz. “I was too overconfident and dropped my hand a bit. Hats off to him.

Andy Ruiz Jr.
Sean Michael Ham

“We just kept pushing and pushing. I switched up and started focusing on counterpunching and working the body.”

Both men tasted power punches in a raucous third round that saw Arreola land 14 power punches to Ruiz’s 13, according to CompuBox. Ruiz adjusted as the fight went on and found success scoring with body shots and combinations punctuated by a punishing sweeping left hook.

Ruiz owned a 106 to 75 advantage in power punches landed and built up his lead on the cards by landing 161 of his 626 punches thrown, to Arreola’s 109 landed and 521 thrown. Arreola appeared to hurt his left arm in round eight but managed any pain enough to continue throwing bombs until the final bell.

Andy Ruiz Jr. punctuated his performance with a strong final round, clinching his victory in the WBA Heavyweight Title Eliminator by the scores of 117-110 and 118-109 twice in the eyes of the judges.

“I respect the judges. But I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” said Arreola. “He might have won. But don’t tell me I only won two or three rounds.

“I got hit in the shoulder, and it threw it off. It wasn’t a big deal, though. It’s a part of boxing. I didn’t take too much punishment. I’m ready to run it back with Andy.”

“I felt a little rust, and I know other fighters can relate to that,” said Ruiz. “If he wants to run it back, we’ll run it back with him.”

In the co-main event, welterweight contender Abel Ramos (27-4-2, 21 KOs) delivered an impressive performance in stopping former champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. (28-2-1, 19 KOs) after six-rounds in their WBA Welterweight Title Eliminator.

Figueroa showed off a herky-jerky style 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.”

As the fight hit round three, Ramos appeared to figure out his opponent’s timing and began unloading a lethal right hand that he would eventually ride to victory.

That third round saw a significant bruise begin to develop under Figueroa’s left eye due to that Ramos right hand. Ramos kept up his momentum during rounds four and five, while Figueroa came out aggressive in round six, winging big power shots looking to turn the tide back in his favor.

However, Ramos stuck to his plan and pounded Figueroa with the right hands to the head and body. Ramos landed a series of right hands to the body in the final moments of the round that put Figueroa in clear pain heading back to his corner.

“We trained hard for this fight, and I felt good heading into the ring,” said Figueroa. “I’m disappointed I came up short. My body wouldn’t respond as I wanted it to.”

“We trained to attack the body,” said Ramos. “Our plan from the beginning was to pressure him. We wanted to score points to the body. I could hear him groaning, and I knew once I hurt him bad that the fight was over.”

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, landing Figueroa 150 to 74, with a 34% to 24% edge in his accuracy.

“I trained so hard for this fight,” said Ramos. “I knew my career was on the line. But 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.”