Andy Ruiz Seeking Deontay Wilder After Narrow Win Over Luis Ortiz
It was a battle of world-class heavyweights as one-time unified champ Andy Ruiz (35-2, 22 KOs) took on multiple-time world title challenger Luis Ortiz (33-3, 28 KOs) at Crypto Arena in Los Angeles, California in a WBC world title eliminator.
Ruiz scored one of the biggest upsets in June 2019 when he scored a seventh-round TKO over Anthony Joshua to win the titles. A rematch took place six months later where Ruiz came into the bout grossly out of shape and lost by a clear-cut unanimous decision. He returned to the ring in May 2021 and scored a twelve-round win over former world title challenger Chris Arreola. Ranked fifth by the WBC and twelfth by the IBF, the 32-year-old says he’s dedicated and more focused than ever.
But in Ortiz, he faced someone considered one of the elite fighters in the division. Fans first took notice of the fighter from Cuba following a stoppage win over Bryant Jennings in December 2015. He worked his way towards a world title shot against then-WBC champ Deontay Wilder in March 2018. He had moments in that fight and seriously hurt Wilder in round seven. But Ortiz eventually would succumb to Wilder’s power and was stopped in the tenth. They re-matched in November 2019 but Ortiz again came up short as he was knocked out in seven. Still highly ranked (#2 IBF, #5 WBO, #8 WBC) the now 43-year-old looks to once again push towards a world title shot.
AN EARLY SURPRISE?
The opening round was a customary feel-out one by both fighters. But a minute into round two, a perfectly placed right hand on the temple put Ortiz on the seat of his pants. He got up on unsteady legs and looked done at that point. Ortiz went down for a second time in that round but summoned his reserves and fought back to survive.
Rounds two through six saw Ruiz fight mainly on the back foot, looking to set up power shots. After hurting his foe so badly at the beginning of the fight, one would think Ruiz would have pressed the action, but that wasn’t the case. As a result, Ortiz got his bearings, gained confidence, and worked his way back into the fight.
LETTING IT SLIP AWAY?
Just when Ruiz looked like he was fighting too passively, he put Ortiz down again with another right hand late in round seven. Ortiz was hurt from a straight right midway through the eleventh. At the end of the round, his left eye was nearly swollen shut. But the Cuban showed all the heart in the world. He charged forward and took the fight to Ruiz during the final round. However, it was too late in the eyes of the judges, who scored the fight for Ruiz by unanimous decision (113-112, 114-111, 114-111).
Ruiz was a bit lucky to get the victory because it was Ortiz who threw more punches. If not for the knockdowns, Ruiz would have lost on points. His effort was head-scratching. The former champ showed the power to stop Ortiz but seemed unwilling to muster the effort to do so. Still, a win is a win. After the fight, he said he would love to face former WBC champ Deontay Wilder.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.