Andy Ruiz Jr rode three knockdowns to a close decision win over Luis Ortiz tonight, picking up his second straight win following his 2019 rematch loss to Anthony Joshua.
Ruiz won on scores of 113-112, 114-111, and 114-111. Taking three points from Ortiz due to knockdowns, that would mean two judges had it even in rounds, 6-6, and one judge had Ortiz winning seven rounds to Ruiz’s five. Bad Left Hook also scored it 113-112 for Ruiz on our unofficial card.
It was a fight with bursts of action, mainly in the second round, where Ruiz scored two of his knockdowns. It should be noted that the second one was a questionable judgment call from referee Thomas Taylor, and had that one not been counted, Ruiz still would have won, but by split decision, and the two cards his way would have been by a single point. We’d probably be talking a bit more about controversy in that case.
But the 43-year-old Ortiz (33-3, 28 KO) never really put a true stamp on this fight, either. Most rounds seemed to go whichever way Andy Ruiz approached them. If he laid back too much, it was easy to score them for Ortiz, whose jabs could be said to carry rounds where, frankly, nothing much was happening at all. And it wasn’t hard to find six or seven of those for the Cuban.
Ruiz (35-2, 22 KO) was facing a southpaw for the first time as a pro, and it definitely showed, including the former titleholder usually circling the “wrong” way, into Ortiz’s power hand. It never totally bit him, though, as Ortiz doesn’t have the legs anymore to catch opponents by surprise other than timing them coming in, and Ruiz was able to take advantage of that, and also use his own quickness and hand speed to sting Ortiz pretty often, which Ortiz couldn’t do much about because he’s just slow now.
It wasn’t the all-star performance you would have wanted to see from Ruiz, but a lot of it was very smart, and he gets the job done. He won’t face many fighters like Ortiz, and he knew Ortiz was dangerous with his power and timing, too, if he gave him too many opportunities. We almost saw it late in round two, when Ortiz did crack him, and Ruiz clearly felt it. The fight was never really the same from there, other than a good rush in round seven when Ruiz dropped Ortiz a third time.
“I thought I did a beautiful job boxing him,” Ruiz said. “It was pretty difficult, but the ability that I have, my counter-punching and connecting and dropping him, it was blessing.”
Ruiz said he wants to get more active. “I do not want to be waiting so long until I fight. I want to fight at least three or four times again. I’m ready, man, I’m hungry, I want to be champion again.”
Deontay Wilder, who returns on Oct. 15 against Robert Helenius, and had about 20 percent of the total broadcast dedicated to him this evening, was in attendance, and Ruiz said he would welcome that as a next fight, too: “Me and him are in the same organization, Al Haymon can make this fight happen. Let’s do it, let’s get it on.”
“Anybody who said that ‘King Kong’ is old, I gave you a war today. I felt I gave a great fight tonight,” Ortiz said via an interpreter, adding that he would like a rematch. “Do you think I’m done? You saw a war here tonight. Do the people think ‘King Kong’ is done?”