Andy Ruiz Jr's fight options after beating Chris Arreola on his return
Andy Ruiz Jr is back in the heavyweight picture after winning in his comeback fight… but will he rematch Chris Arreola next or take a risk and face Dillian Whyte or Derek Chisora? And what are the chances of an Anthony Joshua trilogy?
- Andy Ruiz Jr defeated Chris Arreola in his first fight back in almost 18 months
- Mexican outpointed Arreola in an entertaining fight which he was dropped in
- Ruiz has a number of options for his next fight, including a rematch with Arreola
- Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora have slim chances of facing ex-world champion
Andy Ruiz Jr had to huff and puff more than he would’ve liked to but victory over Chis Arreola on Saturday night got his career moving back in the right direction.
Ruiz Jr made his return after almost 18 months out two stone lighter and with a new trainer in Canelo’s right-hand man Eddy Reynoso.
There were some clear signs of improvements from the much-changed Ruiz, whose already blistering hand speed looked as though it had been turned up a notch or two with less weight on his body dragging him back.
But Arreola certainly gave Ruiz a tougher night than many had anticipated on way to his unanimous points win, dropping him in the second and hurting him on multiple occasions throughout the fight.
Andy Ruiz Jr made a winning return to the ring on Saturday after almost 18 months out
Ruiz will take the victory, the 34th of his career, but will head back to the gym with the perception that some work is needed if he is to become a two-time world heavyweight champion.
The first step back on the road towards that goal, though more of a tentative tread than a confident stride, has nonetheless been taken and now talk has turned to where next for Ruiz, or more specifically who.
Sportsmail take a look at his options and assesses whether or not it is likely to happen next.
Ruiz has already admitted he would be open for a re-run with Arreola.
‘I felt a little rusty but I kept going,’ he said afterwards. ‘If he wants to run it back then we can run it back.’
That comment was perhaps born out frustration at his failure to prove that he is a class above Arreola rather than any real desire to face him again.
But Arreola, after he was done telling everyone to ‘suck his d***’ having being irked by the judges scorecards – which is fairness had done him a disservice – said he would be obliging if a second fight was on the table.
Judging by Ruiz’s admission that he is not at full tilt yet and Reynoso’s plan to have him back out again in four months, this one or a fight with someone of similar ability to Arreola would make the most sense next.
Ruiz had a tough night’s work against Arreola and may want to set record straight in a rematch
When Dillian Whyte says he would fight anybody, anywhere, anytime, you can take his word for it.
There is no heavyweight on the planet who has shown more willingness to take on a needlessly tough fight than Whyte.
He discovered the pitfalls of playing with fire when Alexander Povetkin knocked him out cold in their first fight last year before righting that wrong in equally brutal fashion back in March.
That victory put Whyte back at the front of the queue to challenge Tyson Fury for his WBC world title, though he will have to wait some months for that to happen with his British rival set to face Anthony Joshua first in a heavyweight blockbuster at some point this year.
A fight with as dangerous a man as Andy Ruiz in the interlude to a potential world title shot would therefore defy any logic. Try telling Whyte that. It’s never stopped him from rolling the dice before.
Even though there would be plenty for Ruiz to gain, I’m not so sure he will fancy the risk in this delicate period of his career… Every chance it happens a bit later down the line though.
A fight with Dillian Whyte has been touted but is likely too much of a risk for Ruiz right now
There is some appetite for a decider, but certainly not enough to warrant it happening in the immediate future.
Joshua’s super-fight with Fury is on the verge of being announced and that is the only fight fans want to see the Brit involved in right now.
Perhaps if Ruiz can re-build his profile and momentum, then a trilogy clash with AJ could be on the cards in the next 12-18 months. There is a big if inserted to that suggestion though.
Ruiz will need to come through tougher fights than Arreola to convince the world he deserves another shot at Joshua.
The Mexican will be aware of that and won’t even be thinking about a third fight with AJ just yet.
A trilogy fight with Anthony Joshua will certainly not happen next but who knows in the future
There’s been no real talk of Ruiz Jr taking on Derek Chisora from anyone with any clout in the business, but many fans feel it has all the ingredients for a tasty affair.
Chisora is always a good acid test for any heavyweight with world title ambitions and proved that again on the weekend as he was unfortunate to come off on the wrong side of the judges’ scorecards against Joseph Parker.
Similarly to Whyte, Chisora is never one to shirk a challenge but after giving Parker and Oleksandr Usyk a tough night’s work, Ruiz may feel he needs one more tune-up fight before jumping in with Chisora.
Ruiz will view the Brit as more beatable than Whyte, but will know there’s a chance of coming unstuck against him.
It would be surprising if that happens next, less so if it’s the one after.
Derek Chisora would be a good acid test for Ruiz but again would be a dangerous opponent
Had Ruiz blown away Arreola in a punch-perfect performance, we may have been talking about a fight against Deontay Wilder later this year.
Given what we know now and Ruiz’s trainer’s plan to take things at a slightly slower pace, this fight is probably not going to be happening next.
Although Deontay Wilder is clamouring for a trilogy clash with Fury – possibly the only man on the planet who is – he will know he could do with a warm-up fight too before stepping into the ring with world-class heavyweights.
It’s been over a year now since he last fought and there’s still been no real indication of when he may return.
A fight with Ruiz has been touted but again, it’s one in the pipeline for at the end of this year or 2022.
Deontay Wilder needs a tune-up fight and will unlikely want to face Ruiz Jr in his comeback
The 42-year-old has outwardly spoken about his desire to fight Ruiz, which would undoubtedly give him a way back into the world title picture if he could win it.
Ortiz has often been avoided by top heavyweights, Deontay Wilder aside, but is an obvious option for Ruiz with both fighters aligned with PBC.
The Cuban is getting on as well at 42 and this could be the perfect timing for Ruiz to face Ortiz, who would arguably be one of the biggest names on his record.
Again though this fight is reliant upon Ruiz taking a gamble, as Ortiz is still a dangerous customer.
Ruiz would likely want at least one more fight under his belt before taking this fight, but may be more open to facing Ortiz than the other heavyweight’s we’ve mentioned so far.
Luis Ortiz (right) is still dangerous even at 42 but Ruiz may fancy his chances against him next
A top 30 contender
Ruiz knows it is going to take a little more time before he feels fully at home with a new trainer and regime.
It is why he is expected to opt for another tune-up fight in the interim before targeting bigger fights against the top guys in the division.
But it would be a pointless exercise to fight anyone too far outside world level, so Ruiz needs a worthy opponent who would be a decent scalp to add to his record.
The Dominic Breazeale’s, Gerald Washington’s and Charles Martin’s of this world.
Or possibly even someone like Otto Wallin or Adam Kownacki or Carlos Takam – though they would come with an element of more risk than the above names.
Given by what Ruiz Jr and Reynoso said after his comeback fight, facing one of the aforementioned heavyweights or someone of that mould seems like the presumed next step.
Charles Martin or Gerald Washington are ideal opponents for Ruiz, who’s on the comeback trail
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