Every fight is dangerous in the heavyweight division and just a handful of punches can change an outcome. That's exactly how the fight between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Luis Ortiz played out on Saturday night, with Ortiz technically winning more rounds on the three official scorecards but Ruiz taking a unanimous decision victory thanks to three knockdowns in the fight.
The action was frequently slow and often dominated by Ortiz's jab, but every moment of note belonged to Ruiz. The most exciting round of the fight was the second, with Ruiz dropping Ortiz with a big right hand to the side of the head and scoring a second knockdown moments later as Ortiz had yet to recover his equilibrium.
Ruiz would take his foot off the gas after the explosive second frame and Ortiz would continually grab control of the pace of the fight with little more than a sharp and disciplined jab. This resulted in the fight frequently becoming a tepid affair and drawing boos from the crowd.
Despite the lack of action and Ruiz spending much of the fight absorbing jabs from his southpaw opponent, the first southpaw Ruiz had faced as a professional, another Ruiz bomb dropped Ortiz in the seventh round, leaving a win on the scorecards little more than a prayer for Ortiz.
After the completion of 12 rounds, the official scorecards read 113-112 and 114-111 twice for Ruiz. The knockdowns were the deciding factor, as two of the three judges gave both men six rounds and one saw it seven to five in favor of Ortiz.
Despite the loss, Ortiz showed an ability to still contend at 43 years old and said he was not yet ready to hang up the gloves.
"I told you I was going to be a warrior," Ortiz said after the fight. "I love this. This is Cuba vs. Mexico. It was a war. ... If they said 'King Kong' is old. I gave you a war today. I think I gave a good fight tonight."
Ortiz has now been knocked down five times in 2022, having been dropped twice in a January bout with Charles Martin, a fight Ortiz was able to win by scoring a knockout in the sixth round. The loss to Ruiz was just the third defeat in Ortiz's career, the previous two coming in bids for the WBC world title against Deontay Wilder.
As for Ruiz, the former three-belt heavyweight champion of the world, he said his plan is to be more active, no longer looking to fight just once each year as he tries to get back to a world title fight after shocking the world by defeating Anthony Joshua to win the IBF, WBO and WBA titles before losing them in the rematch.
"Staying active, man. I don't want to be waiting so long before I fight," Ruiz said. "I want to be fighting three or four times a year. I'm ready. I want to bring the belt back to Mexico."
Ruiz, who has now won two consecutive bouts since losing the rematch with Joshua, suggested a fight with former champ Wilder could be next, assuming Wilder defeats Robert Helenius in October. Wilder, who was in the crowd for the fight, entered the ring after the call-out and seemed open to the idea.
"If that's what lines up next," Wilder said. "I gotta handle business first but let's get it on."
CBS Sports was with you throughout the event in Los Angeles.
Ruiz vs. Ortiz fight card, results
- Andy Ruiz def. Luis Ortiz via unanimous decision (113-112, 114-111, 114-111)
- Isaac Cruz def. Eduardo Ramirez via second-round knockout
- Abner Mares vs. Miguel Flores ends in a majority draw (96-94, 95-95, 95-95)
- Edwin de los Santos def. Jose Valenzuela via third-round TKO
Ruiz vs. Ortiz scorecard