Andy Ruiz Jr. didn’t deliver a memorable performance but he got the job done against Luis Ortiz.
The former heavyweight champ put Ortiz down three times en route to winning a unanimous decision in a 12-round bout on Sunday at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
The scores were 114-111, 114-111 and 113-112, meaning the busier Ortiz won six rounds on two cards and seven on the third. However, the 43-year-old Cuban ultimately couldn’t overcome the knockdowns.
The victory in what was billed as a WBC title eliminator could set up a fight between Ruiz and Deontay Wilder, another former champ, if Wilder defeats Robert Helenius on Oct. 15. That’s the fight Ruiz wants.
— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) September 5, 2022
“God willing he wins. Me and him are in the same organization,” he said. “I want to thank (manager) Al Haymon. He can make this fight happen. Lets do it, let’s get it on.”
Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) hadn’t fought since May of last year, when he outpointed Chris Arreola in his first fight after losing his rematch with Anthony Joshua.
However, rust didn’t appear to be his biggest problem against Ortiz (33-3, 28 KOs). And it wasn’t his weight. He was hefty, as usual, but he obviously put in the work during training camp.
No, it was the Cuban’s southpaw stance – Ruiz had never faced a left-hander as a professional — and his boxing ability that made things difficult for Ruiz.
Ruiz’s strategy was to box carefully and wait for Ortiz to engage, at which time he would unload counter punches. That approach resulted in the knockdowns from right-handed punches, two in the second round and one in the seventh.
The problem for Ruiz is that Ortiz didn’t engage much. Instead, he fought from the outside, where he scored with his long jab and enough straight lefts to win rounds and generally limit Ruiz’s activity.
It was a good game plan that would’ve worked had Ortiz been able to remain on his feet.
The result was a disappointing fight for fans who expected something akin to a brawl between two big punchers. That aside, Ruiz will take victories over established contenders any way they come. He was elated after the scoring was announced.
Ruiz was asked afterward about fighting a southpaw for the first time.
“It was pretty difficult,” he said. “The ability I have, me counter punching and waiting for him to load up, me countering and dropping him, it was a blessing.”
Wilder was interviewed in the ring after the fight. He wouldn’t commit to fighting Ruiz if he beats Helenius but he certainly is open to it.
“Deontay Wilder is back,” he said. “He’s always look for great, exciting fights. That’s what he loves to give the fans. So if that’s what’s lined up next. I gotta handle business. After that, we can get it on.”
Meanwhile, Ortiz, his left eye almost closed, implied that he doesn’t plan to call it quits after his solid performance. In fact, he seemed shocked that someone would ask him whether he’s finished.
“Do you think I’m done?” he said. “You saw a warrior tonight. What do the people want? Do you think I’m done?”
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