Andy Ruiz Jr is set to face Chris Arreola in a comeback bout May 1 on Premier Boxing Champions PPV, and it’s the “PPV” part that has tripped a lot of fans and pundits up.
We all understand that Ruiz has some name value, but few think this is really a matchup deserving of not just pay-per-view — lots of bad fights are pay-per-view because they are otherwise not getting televised — but pay-per-view being backed and distributed by FOX Sports.
This is a major pay-per-view, not just some independent production.
Fellow heavyweight Dillian Whyte is a generally outspoken guy, and he’s not holding back on this one either. Whyte tells Sky Sports that the fight is “garbage”:
“It’s a fight that’s going to make (Ruiz) look good. Make him look like, ‘Oh yeah, he’s this and he’s that,’ but on paper it’s not. If you run it on paper, it’s not, because Chris Arreola is shot. Chris Arreola has been shot for a few years. If he was fighting Chris Arreola a few years ago, people would be like, ‘No, that’s a garbage fight.’ Now it’s the same, if not worse.”
The 40-year-old Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KO) is still something of a fan favorite, but he’s long been the level he is and nothing more, and that level is a good bit below the top tier. Always has been. He’s had his shots, and he’s always come up short. He still fights hard, but his last bout was a loss to Adam Kownacki in Aug. 2019.
Ruiz (33-2, 22 KO) hasn’t fought since — let’s just say it — taking a dump in his Dec. 2019 rematch with Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia. He showed up so heavy and so out of shape that he couldn’t do much of anything other than survive 12 rounds against Joshua, who never took any risks. He has since shed some weight and made a lot of vows to be more focused, but it’s a story we’ve heard from Ruiz before, too.
How to Watch Ruiz vs Arreola
Fans are right to be as skeptical as Whyte is. This is a tough sell, but PBC are marketing directly to the Mexican-American fan base here. The PPV card is filled with Mexican and Mexican-American fighters in what should be entertaining fights if not blockbusters. And nobody is exactly looking for this one to be a massive success, either — the target bar is pretty low.
Ruiz-Arreola is what Whyte says it is: A strategic comeback fight meant to renew interest in Andy Ruiz Jr, who is a likable fighter when his performance isn’t insulting to a paying audience.