Andy Ruiz Jr. got it “right” in his heavyweight bout on Sunday against Luis Ortiz at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Ruiz’s powerful right hand helped him score three knockdowns and they were the difference in a unanimous decision victory. Fernando Villareal had it 113-112 for Ruiz, while both Zachary Young and Edward Hernandez Sr. had it 114-111 for Ruiz, the former unified champion. Yahoo Sports had it 115-110 for Ruiz.
He got off to a quick start by dropping the 43-year-old Ortiz with a crushing right hand to the top of the head in the second. He put him down a second time, connecting on a right that Ortiz mostly blocked. But Ortiz was still woozy from the first knockdown and went down again.
It wasn’t, though, the slugfest that most expected. They combined to land 154 punches, with Ortiz having a 78-76 edge in total shots. But according to CompuBox, Ortiz only landed 18 percent, while Ruiz connected on 26 percent.
“Everybody was doubting me and thought I was going to get my ass knocked out,” Ruiz said. “I worked real hard for this because I know he’s a warrior.”
Ortiz was the first left-hander that Ruiz fought as a professional and he fought cautiously and didn’t wade recklessly in. Ortiz flicked his jab most of the night but really never took his powerful left out of the holster until the 12th round, when he knew he needed to make something happen.
Ortiz is known as a sharp puncher, but at 43 and being pressured all night by Ruiz, he had to fight a calculated style. He tried to use his jab to set up a 1-2 but Ruiz moved laterally well and didn’t give him any openings.
“It was a great fight, a hell of a fight, and what the fans came to see,” Ruiz said.
The first three bouts on the pay-per-view undercard were sensational, capped by an amazing knockout by Isaac Cruz, who brutalized Eduardo Ramirez and stopped him at 2:27 of the second.
The heavyweights, though, couldn’t live up to that kind of action in the main event. It was an unexpectedly tactical fight in which neither man just opted to let the hands go and see how it went.
Ortiz scored points with his jabs and had he been able to stay on his feet, he would have gotten a majority draw. He won seven rounds on Villareal’s card and six on the cards of Hernandez and Young, but the three points he lost for the knockdowns were the difference.
“Everybody who said 'King Kong' is old, well, I gave you a war tonight,” Ortiz said. “Boxing is always full of surprises.”
Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder was ringside and climbed into the ring after the fight. He faces Robert Helenius on Oct. 15 at the Barclays Center in New York. Ruiz said he’d like to fight Wilder next and Wilder said he was game if he came out with a win.
“Deontay Wilder is back and looking for great, exciting fights to give the fans,” Wilder said. “If that’s what the fans want, let’s do it.