So often in the sport of Boxing when it is able to operate under normal circumstances, it is not uncommon to see two fights take place in the same division within a short span of time that has a similar storyline. Such will be the case on Saturday, May 1st when two Heavyweight encounters will headline separate cards that have similarities between them and one might argue given the state of the Heavyweight division, the winners of these bouts could well face each other down the line.
In one of these bouts, former unified IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO Heavyweight world champion Andy Ruiz will return to the ring for the first time since December 2019 where he lost his crown in a rematch with the man he had taken the championship from in June of that year Anthony Joshua. Ruiz will return against longtime Heavyweight contender and multi-time world title challenger Chris Arreola in the main event of a card televised here in the United States by Fox Sports Pay-Per-View at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA.
While it is questionable why this bout, which will be promoted by the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) group of promoters, would not be better suited as the headline attraction of a card televised on the national Fox network given both the ongoing circumstances of the COVID-19 global epidemic as well as the continued decline of the pay-per-view medium, this is an interesting clash of styles between Ruiz a fighter with good hand speed and punching power and Arreola a fighter known for an exciting brawling style.
Although some might say that Arreola, who will enter the bout with a record of 38-6-1, with 33 Knockouts, is a fighter who’s best days as a fighter might be behind him, he is a fighter who’s style is one that will likely force Ruiz to fight early and this could produce a short fight that might see several heated exchanges of offense between the two fighters. Much like Ruiz, who will enter with a record of 32-2, with 22 Knockouts, Arreola is also coming off of both a decision loss in his last fight as well as a lengthy layoff due to the COVID-19 epidemic having dropped a twelve round unanimous decision to then undefeated Heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki in August 2019.
While the former World Heavyweight champion is likely to be the favorite going into this bout, one a that will be present in this fight for Ruiz is the addition of trainer Eddy Reynoso in his corner. Ruiz, who has often been criticized for weight fluctuations throughout his career and weighed 283lbs. for his title defense against Anthony Joshua in December 2019 has dropped nearly thirty pounds since joining Reynoso’s stable and one might expect to see improvements in both his hand speed, which was among the best in the division before hiring Reynoso, as well as in his overall lateral movement.
The danger for Ruiz in this fight in this observer’s eyes is the potential of getting caught in the midst of exchanges with Arreola in a similar way to how he was caught in his first fight with Anthony Joshua in June 2019. Although Ruiz was dropped in the third round of that fight, he also showed the ability to recover quickly and scored a knockdown of his own moments later and ultimately stopped Joshua to become world champion, Arreola does have punching power and is most dangerous when an opponent stands in front of him and is willing to engage in a toe to toe battle with him.
At forty years old however, it is logical to ask after a long career where he has sustained significant punishment just how much Chris Arreola has left in him to give as a fighter. Logic also suggests that this may be Arreola’s last chance near the top of the Heavyweight division and a loss to Andy Ruiz could signal the end of his career.
A fight in the division with a similar storyline that will also take place on May 1st will take place at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. This bout also features a former World Heavyweight champion, who is looking to get another shot at a world championship going against a longtime contender and former world title challenger. Former WBO Heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker will face longtime contender Dereck Chisora in the main event of a card that will be televised globally by digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN.
Similar to the Ruiz-Arreola bout, this is a scenario where Parker, who will enter the bout with a record of 28-2, with 21 Knockouts, is looking to continue building momentum towards another world title shot. Parker is currently riding a four bout winning streak and is coming off a twelve round unanimous decision over over Junior Fa in February of this year. In Dereck Chisora, Parker will face a former British and European Heavyweight champion and a veteran of forty-two professional bouts. Chisora is coming off a twelve round unanimous decision loss to undefeated former Undisputed Cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk in October of last year.
Much like Chris Arreola, Chisora has no shortage of experience having fought many top Heavyweights throughout his career including a challenge of then WBC world champion Vitali Klitschko in February 2012 and two bouts with current undefeated WBC world champion Tyson Fury just to name a few. Similar to Arreola, there have been times where Chisora has looked great in his bouts, but there have also been times where he has not looked good. Some could argue that the other similarities between Chisora and Arreola is they have not succeeded against the elite fighters of the division and now Chisora like Arreola, could be looking at his last chance at potential world title contention down the line.
This fight in my eyes will come down to whether or not Chisora as a pressure fighter that likes to come forward and walk his opponents down will be able to do that against a boxer/puncher in Parker. In his last bout against Oleksandr Usyk, this approach had limited success, but Usyk was able to out box Chisora and get the decision victory. Dereck Chisora does have the punching power to do damage, but it will be interesting to see whether Parker will be able to offset Chisora’s pressure for duration of the twelve round bout.
An obvious question is whether the winners of these two fights will be pitted against each other down the line, There is also a possibility that these two bouts could lead to a rematch between Parker, who defeated Ruiz for the then vacant WBO world championship in December 2016. Of course, the idea that the winners of these two bouts will ultimately face each other for now remains simply an idea. The fact however, is all four fighters are all seeking an opportunity at some point to challenge for a World Heavyweight championship down the line, Before any of them can get that chance, there is business to tend to first. We’ll see what happens on “Heavyweight Saturday.”
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Ruiz vs. Arreola takes place on Saturday, May 1st at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. The bout as well as a three bout televised undercard can be seen in the United States on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View on cable/satellite providers as well as on the FITE TV app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT (U.S. Time) for $49.99. Contact your cable/satellite provider for ordering information or download the FITE app or visit: https://www.fite.tv/watch/andy-ruiz-vs-chris-arreola/2p938/ to order. Check your local listings and FITE TV internationally.
Parker vs. Chisora takes place on Saturday, May 1st at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The bout as well as its full undercard can be seen globally (Excluding the United Kingdom and Ireland) on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 1PM ET/10AM PT (U.S. Time.) For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs, availability around the world, and to subscribe please visit: www.DAZN.com.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the card can be seen on Sky Sports Box Office Pay-Per-View beginning at 6PM (Local UK Time.) for £19.99. To order please visit: https://www.sky.com/boxoffice/chisora-parker.
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