Sunday’s heavyweight bout between Luis Ortiz and Andy Ruiz is arguably the last chance for either man to compete for a world title. It’s a fact that adds even more weight to a showdown between men known for their roles as B-sides in battles against some of the best heavyweights of their era.
Ruiz (34-2, 22 KO) shocked the world in December 2019, knocking out Anthony Joshua to capture the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles. Ruiz was a perfect example of what he was capable of: speed, strength and combination punches that defied the expectations of a casual observer of his body type.
A rematch with Joshua the following December showed Ruiz’s bad habits. Ruiz entered the fight at 283 pounds, up from 268 in the first fight. Ruiz seemed disinterested in putting in the hard work needed to be the best in the world and it resulted in a poor performance as Joshua ran around him.
Ruiz has only fought once since losing his three world titles, a somewhat disappointing showing against Chris Arreola in May 2021. Ruiz was stopped in the second round of that fight but won a unanimous decision on a wide range of scorecards.
Discipline has been Ruiz’s kryptonite throughout his career and he has changed coaches several times in recent years. After splitting from Eddie Reynoso, Ruiz headed to Ortiz’s battle with new trainer Alfredo Osuna.
“We chose Luis Ortiz because he’s a real top ten guy,” Ruiz said in an interview with BoxingScene.com. “He’s a guy that everybody in the heavyweight division respects a lot. That’s why we picked him.
“We want someone at our position to show everybody, we beat him and now we’re ready to fight at another level. [unified heavyweight titlist Oleksandr] Usyk or another big heavyweight fight. It’s a perfect opportunity.”
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Ortiz (33-2, 28 KO) has spent many years as a feared member of the heavyweight division, but it wasn’t until a March 2018 fight against WBC champion Deontay Wilder that big fights came his way.
Ortiz entered the first Wilder fight with a perfect record and had beaten every opponent he had faced. It was an epic battle thrown by both men before Wilder was able to score a stoppage in the 10th round. The couple married in 2010. They will match again in November 2019, the second fight will be at a much slower pace and against Ortiz. Wilder’s right hand was winning every round before ending the fight in the seventh round.
Ortiz has fought twice since losing his second chance at a world title. In his most recent fight, Ortiz had to come off the canvas twice before knocking out Charles Martin for the first time in 14 months.
The general consensus after the Martin fight was that age had finally caught up to the 42-year-old Ortiz and that the count was at the end of his career. And, sure enough, Ortiz is slow, easy to miss and doesn’t take any punches. But power is the last thing, they say, and the end of the fight showed Ortiz still has plenty of dynamite left in his punches.
“I’m back in the gym a week after the Charles Martin fight, I’m always up and ready, whether I have a fight or not,” Ortiz said before the fight.
My goal is to fire Andy Ruiz. One of us is getting fired and I guarantee this one won’t go to the jury, I’ve studied Andy from top to bottom. If I don’t get you out of one. Punch, I’m going to destroy you until you can’t walk anymore.
Ruiz vs. Ortiz card, odds
Luck through Caesar’s Sportsbook
Andy Ruiz -400 Luis Ortiz +320 Heavyweight Isaac Cruz -800 Eduardo Ramirez +550 Lightweight Abner Mares -230 Miguel Flores +190 Lightweight Jose Valenzuela Edwin de los Santos
Date: September 4 | Start Time: Around 9:00 AM: Crypto.com Arena — Los AngelesTV channel/PPV: Fox PPV | Price: $74.99
At his best, Ortiz would have made easy work of Martin. What he didn’t do, and the way he looked during the fight, makes it hard to pick Ortiz to get the win here. More than anything else, Ortiz is concerned about how much he’s slowed down. Ruiz is fast for his size and looks in amazing shape compared to times when he didn’t control his weight or diet before a big fight.
Ortiz may struggle to find Ruiz all night. It’s true that Ortiz can finish the fight with one clean punch, but it’s more likely that Ruiz will simply pile up the rounds with angles and clean combination punches while Ortiz looks to land bombs around the ring. Pick: Andy Ruiz via UD