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Ruiz vs Arreola predictions, preview, who wins the fight?

Andy Ruiz Jr is back against Chris Arreola. Who wins what could be a heavyweight slugfest?

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Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Andy Ruiz Jr is back Saturday night on FOX pay-per-view, facing Chris Arreola in a match we all pretty well agree doesn’t belong on pay-per-view.

But there are some fights here. Ruiz-Arreola, of course, plus three more bouts on PPV, as well as Erislandy Lara headlining the FOX undercard that starts at 7 pm ET.

Let’s just get to the picks.

Note: Lewis Watson is taking a leave of absence so, for now, the prediction squad is down to three.

Erislandy Lara vs Thomas Lamanna

Scott Christ (26-8-2)

Lara stepping up to middleweight at 38 is fine. If it sets up Lara against Jermall Charlo, neat. Charlo needs opponents. This being for the vacant WBA “world” (“regular”) middleweight title is an absolute laugh. Cornflake Lamanna is a tough dude who comes to fight, but he has no business being in anything called a world title fight. That is leaps beyond his ability and record. Lara will do what he wants to in this one. He’ll drag it out for 12 dull rounds if he wants, he’ll finish it if he wants. And given his last two fights with the similarly grossly over-matched Brother of Canelo and Greg Vendetti, it’s 50/50 what he chooses. Lara TKO-4

Wil Esco (28-6-2)

One would think Erislandy Lara is nearing the end of his professional fighting career, but I think he’s still good enough of a technician to handle most opponents who won’t be able to match him. Lara has been off since last summer but I don’t think the time off would suit him poorly as he could probably use more time in between fights to recover as much as possible. As for Lamanna, I really don’t see what he can do with Lara unless he’s really going to be able to force an uncomfortable pace that Lara won’t be able to keep up with. I don’t see that being the case, therefore I don’t see Lamanna having much success throughout the fight. I think Lara wins easily on the scorecards. Lara UD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg (27-7-2)

It’s going to take a lot more than an extra six pounds for me to pick “Cornflake” over Lara. It’s not hyperbole to say Lara wins this however he wants; he’s still got enough left in his legs to win his preferred sort of slow-paced technical battle, but he could just as easily plant his feet and beat Lamanna down in a phone booth war. This is a man who kept pace with Jarrett Hurd and Brian Castano, which makes him overqualified to smash someone that Jorge Cota walked down with virtually zero resistance.

Whether the classic Lara or the slower, more bloodthirsty version of recent years shows up, this is a stay-busy fight at best. He cruises past Lamanna at whatever pace he desires. Lara UD-12

And the staff winner is...

Erislandy Lara v Terrell Gausha Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Erislandy Lara (3-0)!

How to Watch Ruiz vs Arreola

Date: Saturday, May 1 | Start Time: 9:00 pm ET
Location: Dignity Health Sports Park - Carson, CA
Streaming: PPV (Buy Here!) | TV: PPV
Online Coverage:

Sebastian Fundora vs Jorge Cota

Scott Christ (26-8-2)

I think Cota’s a useful opponent for Fundora. If Fundora wins here, you maybe start moving him toward PBC’s glut of contending junior middleweights; a fight with either Tony Harrison or Bryant Perrella, who recently went to a draw, could follow a win over Cota. But Cota is dangerous and I know every fighter is different, but guys with wild dimensions like Fundora just always seem like they’re a tree waiting to get chopped down by a counter shot they don’t see, and then that’s the lasting memory, big man goin’ down weird and laid out flat. I don’t think Cota gets him, but Cota can punch and will give the effort. Fundora TKO-7

Wil Esco (28-6-2)

To this day I still marvel at the physical dimensions of Sebastian Fundora for the weight class he competes at. I just think it’s going to take an elitely talented fighter to be able to overcome the height and reach disadvantages basically any opponent is going to be up against while facing Fundora. Unfortunately Jorge Cota just isn’t that guy. Cota’s been around a while and is decent enough but I don’t for a second believe he’s good enough to take out Fundora who’s largely been cruising against this level of opposition. I’m not going to dive too deep into this match-up because I don’t think it’s all that necessary, I’m just going to pick Fundora to win clearly on the cards. Fundora UD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg (27-7-2)

I actually really like the matchmaking here; I’m higher on Fundora than I was immediately after that draw against Clark, but I’m not convinced his preferred fighting style has the sort of ceiling his 6’6” frame potentially offers. Cota thrives in the sorts of close-quarters engagements Fundora enjoys, and he’ll definitely make Fundora work for it while illustrating the hazards of his approach.

Not convinced he can actually pull the upset, though. Despite Cota’s bloated knockout percentage, Fundora might actually be the heavier hitter of the two in the pocket, and on top of his ability to hold and neutralize should things get too hairy, he seems to take a better shot. He overpowers Cota after a few rounds of intense slugging. Fundora TKO-6

And the staff winner is...

Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury II - MGM Grand Photo by Bradley Collyer/PA Images via Getty Images

Sebastian Fundora (3-0)!

Omar Figueroa Jr vs Abel Ramos

Scott Christ (26-8-2)

Omar Figueroa at his best is fun to watch. But Figueroa had some nights where he was in close calls before Yordenis Ugas took him apart, too. Now he’s back, and, well, I have no idea his level of focus/conditioning/etc. If he’s at his best he should win. But I want to pick one “upset,” and this is the one I’m choosing. Ramos is no great fighter, but he’s tough and durable and can punch a little. If Figueroa just doesn’t have even the drive he did back when the whispers were whispers and not shouts that Figueroa isn’t that dedicated to his boxing career, Ramos is going to beat him. I think we’ll see some of the old warring Figueroa, but I don’t know that he has 12 rounds of it in him anymore, and he’s going to need that. I say this and now Figueroa will blast Ramos out in, like, six. Ramos TKO-11

Wil Esco (28-6-2)

Omar Figueroa is a pretty fun fighter to watch in the send that he always comes to war. How that’s going to suit him in this particular outing against Abel Ramos is a real question here. Both fighters are most recently coming off decision losses to Yordenis Ugas in their last appearances, but I just have a slight feeling that Figueroa might come into this fight a bit fresher after having been out for a long period of time. Of course there’s a double-edged sword there in that Ramos might not be as rusty, but for the kind of fight I expect this to be I think Figueroa can pull it out on the cards on his activity. I’m going to take Figueroa by decision in a fun fight. Figueroa UD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg (27-7-2)

The happy ending here would be Figueroa coming in better than ever after the Ugas loss finally forced him to get his sh*t together. The man’s still just 31 and clearly has heaps of talent; if he actually applied himself, he could be a force. Unfortunately, optimism only goes so far, and if years of wonky decisions, weight mishaps, and legal issues couldn’t get through to him, I’m not sure anything will.

Still, there should be enough in the tank to carry him past Ramos, whose tendency to get stuck against the ropes plays right into Figueroa’s hands. Figueroa’s aggression and well-documented ability to sway the judges should be enough to nick him a close, competitive decision. Figueroa SD-12

And the staff winner is...

Manny Pacquiao v Keith Thurman - Weigh-in Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Omar Figueroa (2-1)!

Andy Ruiz Jr vs Chris Areola

Scott Christ (26-8-2)

Here’s the thing: I don’t think Chris Arreola would ever have beaten Andy Ruiz. I don’t think he has the tools — other than the last time we saw Ruiz. Arreola would have had a good shot then. But Ruiz takes a good shot, he’s got the hand speed to mix it effectively when Arreola starts throwing — and Arreola is going to throw a lot — and Arreola doesn’t have really huge power or anything. Ruiz is a better fighter, he’s going to win. I think the referee will step in late.

As an aside, PBC promoted this in part on social media with a thing where they asked Ruiz for his top five heavyweights at the moment. Ruiz included Arreola at No. 5, which is so laughably dumb and transparent an attempt to make this fight seem bigger and better than it is. It’s either PBC thinking everyone is stupid or Ruiz doing so. Everyone, obviously, clowned on it, and now I’m doing it here. So great promotional effort! Promotion is about lying, but there’s a line you can cross where you’re being so blatant about it that the only thing that comes back is people laughing at you or feeling kind of insulted. Anyway, Ruiz TKO-10

Wil Esco (28-6-2)

For as many questions as there’s been surrounding the dedication of Andy Ruiz Jr, I have absolutely no reservations about picking him to win this weekend. Most of that has very little to do with Ruiz Jr., who I think is certainly a capable fighter when he shows up prepared, and almost everything to do with how washed up I think Chris Arreola is. I honestly don’t mean that in a disrespectful way if I’m being honest, I have nothing against Arreola, but I’ve seen plenty of Arreola of the many years to have a good understanding of where he’s ceiling’s at and he’s far from the best version of himself.

As for Ruiz Jr, he looks like he’s actually taken training seriously under Eddy Reynoso and is obviously showing up in much better shape for this fight than the last time we saw him against Anthony Joshua. I’m going to take Ruiz to win by second half stoppage. Ruiz TKO-8

Patrick L. Stumberg (27-7-2)

I want it on the record that I respect the hell out of Chris Arreola. He’s busted his ass for almost 20 years to stay relevant at heavyweight, and despite all the wars, he fought his heart out against a fundamentally superior fighter in Adam Kownacki. He might actually have been able to outwork and outlast the Ruiz that showed up in the Joshua rematch

Even if you take those training photos with as many grains of salt as Ruiz theoretically cut out of his diet, though, I think we’ve seen the last of that walking disappointment. Without the benefit of self-sabotage on Ruiz’s part, Arreola just can’t handle his speed and seemingly lacks the thump to turn the tide. I say Ruiz comes out looking to make a statement, tearing Arreola apart in the pocket en route to a late-round mercy stoppage. Ruiz TKO-9

And the staff winner is...

Andy Ruiz Jr Training Session Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Andy Ruiz Jr (3-0)!

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