When Chris Arreola first sparred Andy Ruiz Jr. many years ago, he could remember how deceptively quick the “pudgy” youngster was with his hands.
Looking back on that sparring session, Arreola knew the two of them would have a proper duel inside the ring. He was right.
What he didn’t expect was that the roles would be reversed for this fight, taking place on a PBC on FOX PPV on May 1.
”At one point he wanted to be like me, and now I want to be like him and become heavyweight champion. He deserved everything he got, and now it’s my time to do everything to change history and prove I’m an elite heavyweight,” Arreola said in a recent press conference.
Although it may have taken time to get these two inside the ring, both Arreola and Ruiz experienced many different styles throughout their careers and both men will look to use that experience in their fight.
For Arreola, he’s faced a number of strong punchers in the past, from Deontay Wilder to Vitali Klitschko to his most recent opponent, Adam Kownacki.
Arreola hasn’t seen action since his electric encounter against Kownacki in 2019. In that fight, Arreola broke the CompuBox record for most punches thrown by a heavyweight with more than 1,100 punches accounted for. Whether or not that level of activity is needed to beat Ruiz is still unknown.
What Arreola does know is that he can’t prepare and fight Ruiz like he did with Kownacki. Ruiz is a much faster fight as far as hand speed is concerned with plenty of power to spare.
Arreola knows the two of them will get plenty of chances to exchange big shots, but also recognizes the need to be a smart fighter. The 40-year-old Arreola firmly believes he can’t afford to have a mental lapse inside the ring against Ruiz, lest he suffers a potential knockout.
“Personally, I know it’s a different style so I know I have to go in with a different gameplan. At the end of the day, we’re going to fight. We’re going to have, like a ‘Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em’ kind of moment. The thing is, we have to be smart. Andy has that hand speed that Kownacki did not. Kownacki is a strong man, but he is not a fast man. Andy has that hand speed where if you don’t bring your hands back, you’re going to get caught. I’ve been on the receiving end of getting caught by someone like Bermane Stiverne. I got caught with a shot that I didn’t see coming and I don’t want that to happen against Andy because I think Andy has a bigger punching power than Stiverne has,” Arreola said.
Ruiz vs. Arreola headlines the May 1 PBC on FOX PPV from Dignity Health Sports Park.
Video Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STTxcif5DRc
Full press conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MkGKVXWwTM