This Saturday late afternoon and into the evening on this side of the pond anyway, the heavyweight division will be in full display as Andy Ruiz takes on Chris Arreola and Derek Chisora faces Joseph Parker. Unfortunately, the matchup that everyone in the world wants to see is Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, a fight that is still stuck in neutral no matter how many times Eddie Hearn claims the two fighters have agreed to terms. A lineal title will not be at stake this weekend however the term crossroads fight can be used here especially for Chisora vs. Parker. Let’s hope the main events are not only competitively entertaining if that makes sense, but also some of these undercard bouts turn out great as well to help ease the pain of having to shell out pay-per-view money.
It’s been around 17 months since Andy Ruiz stepped into the ring from his defeat in the rematch with Anthony Joshua. For Chris Arreola add on another few months as he’s coming off a defeat against Adam Kownacki in an action-packed affair. Let’s begin on the Arreola side Chris’s fought just 4 times since losing to Deontay Wilder in the summer of 2016. Notwithstanding losing all of his spotlight fights, Arreola’s looked way more fit these last few years which as we all know was his biggest issue outside of the ring. Arreola threw 1125 punches landing 298 versus Kownacki and although I don’t see that happening again it’s a good sign coming into fight night. Over the last chunk of months, it’s clear to see Arreola is taking his training camp as seriously as ever.
Moving over to Andy Ruiz it is difficult to not be disappointed with him as a fan after blowing way up in weight coming off a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment by becoming the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent. Ruiz looked horrible on the scale and even worse in the rematch as he plotted his way sluggishly around the ring following Anthony Joshua. Prior to the win in June of 2019, Ruiz did appear to be taking his training seriously hence the reason he was ready as a replacement for the Joshua fight. The rumors swirled last fall that Andy was supposed to be fighting this same opponent in November but it never happened. What did happen is Ruiz joined forces with star trainer Eddy Reynoso most known for developing Canelo Alvarez. It’s wonderful to see just how phenomenal of shape Andy is in right now so let’s hope he remains focused after what should be a victory over Arreola.
The hand speed and punching power of a properly tuned-up Andy Ruiz will be too much for Arreola, who will likely put up an earnest effort but fall short. This boxing junkie hopes the fight features at least say 5 or 6 rounds of two-way action and it’s not one-sided the whole time. Look for a back and forth scrap that turns in favor of Ruiz fairly early and then Andy takes over landing heavy bombs that add up.
This being a PPV main event is subpar to put it lightly now if Andy was facing Luis Ortiz I would be singing a different tune. That said I do like the undercard bouts, Omar Figueroa vs. Abel Ramos should be a banger, it’s one of the most tightly-contested fights this weekend on paper betting-wise. Jesus Ramos has signed up for a very good test this early in his career facing Javier Molina. There’s a mixed bag of opinions on how high the ceiling is for Sebastian Fondura, he will be facing Jorge Cota. Cota is a sleeper here because so many people remember the nasty knockouts suffered by Jorge from Jermell Charlo and Erickson Lubin but fail to respect his outing with Jeison Rosario. Count me in on this being a legit test for Fundura.
Crossing over the ocean from an American standpoint, Derek Chisora attempts to keep his meaningful fight career alive. Which is a funny sentence because most of us assumed Chisora was washed up a long time ago but credit to him for staying relevant enough to headline a pay event. Last Halloween, Oleksandr Usyk was able to out-box Chisora in a bout that had plenty of positives to take from if you in Derek’s corner. Chisora applied pressure throughout the fight and managed to hurt Usyk but ultimately fell short of the win. Early in that fight, Chisora found a home for his power shots that had Uysk looking out of character. Split-decision or close losses to Dillian Whyte, Kubrat Pulev, and Agit Kabayel plus a victory over Carlos Takam along with a valiant effort with Usyk allows for one to think he has a legit chance to pull off this upset.
Joseph Parker used to be a more active puncher, never fully seen as a guy with heavy power but still when you watched his fights you were going to be entertained. Parker engaged in several fun fights as he climbed the ladder into contention at the heavyweight division. His fights would play out something like this, establish the jab, throwing a bunch of combos as the pace increased on the inside; then he would tire but not enough to be in real danger. His close points win over Andy Ruiz and scrap with Carlos Takam are a few that were good TV-type bouts. Then came along Hughie Fury, Anthony Joshua, and with it, the excitement slowly drained out. Don’t get me wrong of course when facing Joshua in a unification bout a fighter wants to be patient and strategic. It’s easy to say throw more punches when that leaves a boxer open to more punishment. It just seems that Parker has grown more and more tentative something that will no suit him well with Chisora.
Look for Parker to use a similar style of outside jabbing and movement in the first part of the fight as he did against Joshua. To keep Chisora a more aggressive come-forward fighter off of him, Parker will need to not only up his work rate. He will also need to throw punches that mean something to keep Chisora from charging in with no or little fear. Uysk is not fully a heavyweight which makes it a little different than Parker but Joseph doesn’t have Uysk’s footwork or skill set. Judging by what this hack-of-a-scribe saw from Chisora in his last outing, gives him a leg up on knocking off Parker then say Arreola shocking Ruiz. As a slight underdog, Derek Chisora will get the job done on Saturday by making it a rough and tumble fight.
Side Note: Keep an eye out for the co-feature for Sky Sports PPV in a fight between Katie Taylor and Natasha Jonas. Also, on Friday Sunny Edwards takes on Moruti Mthalane with Michael Conlan on the undercard on ESPN+.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Com Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio