In a Labor Day weekend filled with college football, there was some notable boxing that took place to kick-off September. Here's a look at what transpired.....
Andy Ruiz returned for his yearly appearance by knocking down the aged Luis Ortiz three times en route to a close 12 round decision (114-111 twice and 113-112). It was chopping right hands that sent the Cuban heavyweight down in the third and then the seventh.
"Everyone was doubting me, but I worked so hard for this fight,” said Ruiz. “Ortiz is a warrior who hits hard. I did a beautiful job boxing him around. I showed more class than I usually do just coming forward.”
In-between the knockdowns, large segments of this bout was fought at a relatively slow pace, with Ortiz controlling rounds with his boxing skills and straight lefts that jerked the head back of Ruiz. But generally it's tough to win a fight when you hit the deck thrice.
While Ortiz isn't a completely shot boxer, he's one who's punch resistance is down to the nub. He was knocked down by Charles Martin back in January, before he got off the deck to stop Martin on New Years night. You get the sense that his days as a world-class heavyweight came to an end on this night at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Regardless, it was a valiant effort.
"I told you I was going to be a warrior and that's what I did,” said Ortiz. “This is Cuba versus Mexico. This is what I live for. To everyone who said that I'm old, I gave you a war today. There are always surprises in boxing, and that's what you got if you didn't think I'd give it my all.”
As for Ruiz, who's body now has more ink than the front page of the Los Angeles Times, he may have set the stage for a 2023 showdown with former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder (who still has to get past Robert Helenius in October).
Stephanie Trapp for TGB Promotions
Skills and talent have never been an issue with Ruiz , who on one special night was the talk of the town as he upset Anthony Joshua for the unified titles. Unfortunately for him, bad habits are hard to overcome and he has never recaptured that magic. He will always be a guy who will be more about potential than actual production.
But fortunately for him, he's a Mexican heavyweight (which is like being a Hope Diamond in this sport), and with that will come unlimited opportunities. I this case, it would be a showdown against 'the Bronze Bomber', a pairing of two flawed, but fun heavyweights.
"If Deontay Wins in October, me and him are with the same management and we can make this fight happen,” said Ruiz Jr. “Let's do it. Let's get it on. I'm hungry and I want to be champion again and bring that belt back to Mexico.”
Isaac Cruz made quick work of Eduardo Ramirez on this undercard, scoring a second round KO. You get the sense that if a bout between Gervonta 'Tank' Davis and Ryan Garcia doesn't come to fruition, that 'Pit Bull' could be in line to face Davis once again.
Last December, he gave him all he could handle in losing a tight 12 round decision.
Stephanie Trapp for TGB Promotions
The shocker of this PBC undercard was Jose 'Rayo' Valenzuela who was stopped by Edwin De Los Santos, in a fight where both men hit the deck more than once. Eventually, it was Valenzuela who succumbed in three.
Some times it's not about if you can pitch, but how well you can catch.
On Friday night, there was an action packed card from Hermosillo, Mexico that was streamed by DAZN. Top-to-bottom these fights provided some heated action.
The headline bout featured the return of super flyweight belt-holder, Juan Francisco Estrada, who got all he could handle from the plucky, Argi Cortes, who didn't read the script that called on him to be an easy tune-up bout. Instead, he set the tempo early and with his quicker hands kept beating 'el Gallo' to the punch consistently.
Eventually he sent Cortes down in the 7th, and had to grind his way to a close verdict (115-112 twice, and 114-113). Perhaps it was ring rust, but maybe it was corrosion on Estrada, who had not seen live bullets since his classic March 2021 battle with 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez. As one fight of his after another was wiped off the slate the past year or so, you wondered if his heart was still in this game.
Well, we'll find out as it was announced that he will tangle with Gonzalez in their rubber match on December 3.
For those who care, it was announced that Jake Paul will take on Anderson Silva on October 29 in Phoenix....He didn't look too bad in his return, but I'm not sure where Abner Mares goes from here....It looks like Georgia will be making a real run for another national title despite all its losses on defense...."House of the Dragons'' needs more Daemon... I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.....