Scott Christ (56-28)
Stylistically, I think this is a potentially very tough fight for both men, and I like this matchup. Ruiz at his best — and he looks to be in Good Andy Ruiz Shape — is fast, a sharp puncher, good power, and really tough. Ortiz is no longer near his best form; his absolute peak pro days passed in a largely-forgotten haze of fights with Bryan Jennings and an ancient Tony Thompson, Malik Scott and Dave Allen, before after eight years as a pro and 38 years on the planet, Ortiz finally got an actual big fight with Deontay Wilder in 2018.
Wilder’s the only guy to beat Ortiz, and it didn’t come easy either time. Ruiz fights nothing like Wilder, of course — nobody does, really, or at least they haven’t been nearly as successful at it — but Ortiz looked just plain slow in January against Prince Chuck Martin, and that’s the only real fight he’s had in nearly three years. He’s 43 now, and I think Ruiz’s speed and relative youthfulness could be way too much for Ortiz.
But there’s also the flip side. Ruiz does make some mistakes, sometimes allowing himself to get caught standing still and trading. Let’s not forget that Andy didn’t exactly set the world on fire in his last outing, either, a win over a rickety Chris Arreola where Ruiz got dropped early. And that fight was 15 months ago. If Ortiz can get Ruiz to stand in the pocket, he’s still got the skills and timing that could prove destructive when Ruiz opens up and tries to use that speed.
Counter-punching may be Ortiz’s best approach here, or maybe not even counter-punching, but just waiting for the opportune times to strike. Ruiz can get a little impatient, but on the other hand, Ruiz has also shown a willingness to turn down the heat and box smarter if he senses there’s real danger from the other side. If he does that, he should be able to rack up points on the Cuban and make it to a decision win.
I think it’s a coin toss, though the smart money is probably on the younger man. I’m going with the old guy, though. I like Andy Ruiz, but I always get a little suspicious of guys who wind up doing the constant trainer shuffle, especially when they’re aging and it seems their focus on boxing sort of goes in and out. I’ll take Ortiz with a late stoppage, but I think both are going to have spots of real trouble either way it goes. Ortiz TKO-10
Wil Esco (65-19)
The last time I saw Luis Ortiz he looked like he was on his last legs as an upper-echelon heavyweight. Ortiz managed to stop Charles Martin at the top of the year, but I wasn’t at all impressed by the performance, and I suspect Father Time is simply catching up with “King Kong.” That, I think, is good news for Andy Ruiz, who I think still has enough left in the tank to win this kind of fight so long as he actually shows up physically prepared.
From what I’ve seen so far, I think Ruiz is in fact primed to come into this fight in shape and I believe he’ll do enough to get Ortiz on shaky legs, and even if he doesn’t force the stoppage, I think he’ll take the fight on points. I’m going with Ruiz by decision. Ruiz UD-12
John Hansen (63-21)
Luis Ortiz didn’t look great in January. Age appeared to have caught him. He was hittable, and his punch resistance seemed diminished. Ortiz has never been a speedy fighter, but he looked plain slow against Charles Martin.
Andy Ruiz, dialed in, is a shockingly fast and technically sharp puncher. He’s only fought once since losing his rematch to Anthony Joshua almost three years ago, so there’s obviously some question about commitment and preparation. But, if he didn’t want to fight, he could have just kept on with his side hustle as an Instagram model for back tattoos. He doesn’t have to take on a power threat like Luis Ortiz. He shouldn’t have to fight anyone at all if he doesn’t want to.
Ruiz’s strengths are a nightmare matchup for the Luis Ortiz we saw earlier this year. Ruiz at his best and Ortiz at his January-est will combine for a frustrating, embarrassing night for the old man. There’s always the threat of Ortiz landing a one-shot finishing punch. But Ruiz likely won’t have to press things too hard late in the fight, and Ortiz would have to catch him with it anyway.
I have a soft spot for Ortiz, the brawny great-grandfather I never had. But I expect Ruiz will control things from the start, and fight smart enough late to avoid the sorts of risks that might get him Martinized. Ruiz UD-12
Patrick Stumberg (67-17)
I really do wish things had turned out better for Ortiz, that he could have gotten the big-name fights he deserved before his old Smilodon wounds caught up with him and his body started to give out. It would have really been something to see an elite heavyweight other than Deontay Wilder try and deal with his mix of size, technique, and power during the mid-10’s.
That Ortiz would have had a real shot of overpowering Ruiz. The version we’re getting, the one that had to dig into his very soul to get past Charles Martin, doesn’t. Ruiz’s speed just seems like way more than Ortiz can handle at this point, particularly since “King Kong’s” durability looks to be waning. Ortiz could still catch him cold, of course, but Ruiz has proven exceedingly difficult to put away over the years. Assuming Ruiz didn’t fall into his old bad habits after ditching Eddy Reynoso, he survives a potentially hairy start to wear Ortiz down and ultimately put him away with a flurry once the big man starts to slow. Ruiz TKO-9
Isaac Cruz vs Eduardo Ramirez
- Scott: Cruz TKO-6
- Wil: Cruz TKO-8
- John: Cruz TKO-6
- Patrick: Cruz TKO-8
Abner Mares vs Miguel Flores
- Scott: Mares UD-10
- Wil: Mares UD-10
- John: Mares TKO-7
- Patrick: Mares UD-10
Joey Spencer vs Kevin Salgado
- Scott: Spencer SD-10
- Wil: Spencer TKO-7
- John: Salgado UD-10
- Patrick: Spencer UD-10
Ra’eese Aleem vs Mike Plania
- Scott: Aleem UD-10
- Wil: Aleem UD-10
- John: Aleem TKO-10
- Patrick: Aleem UD-10