By: Hans Themistode
“It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas,” said hall of fame fighter Marvin Hagler.
Andy Ruiz Jr quickly found out just how true those words are actually are.
The former unified Heavyweight champion was the man for six months. TV shows, pictures, parties, you name it.
Hell, Ruiz could have ran for president in his home country of Mexico and came out with the victory.
An unanticipated win against Anthony Joshua can do that to a fighter.
We’ve all seen it. Ruiz walked into the ring on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City as a late replacement and pretty much pounded Joshua for seven straight rounds until he could no longer take the punishment.
From there, Ruiz was literally an overnight celebrity. You always worry about that with people who aren’t accustomed to that sort of attention. But yet, something about Ruiz seemed to be different. He did change up a few things. He wore iced out watches and chains. Drove around in Bentleys and upgraded his living arraignment significantly. That should have been a sign, but we didn’t see it.
Ruiz was still soft spoken, he wasn’t loud or brash and he wasn’t a jerk to fans who clamored to him grab a picture. It didn’t seem like the money, power, attention and championship status got to his head.
We were all wrong.
Andy Ruiz Jr stepped onto the scale the night before his rematch against Joshua in Saudi Arabia weighing over 15 pounds then he originally did in their first contest. This was after Ruiz and his trainer claimed that he would come in lighter.
Still, for some reason, we didn’t see it coming. Ruiz claimed to want the extra pounds to be stronger.
Did the extra pounds make him stronger? Maybe. But it also made him slower, lethargic and a shell of his former self.
For 12 straight rounds Ruiz plodded around the ring while Joshua easily out boxed and punished him for the entire contest. Following a lopsided unanimous decision loss that saw his 15 minutes of fame come to an end, Ruiz admitted that he didn’t take this fight as serious as he should’ve.
I didn’t prepare how I should have,” Ruiz said. “I gained too much weight, but you know what? I don’t want to give no excuses. He won. He boxed me around, but you know what, if we do the third fight you better [expletive] believe I’m going to get in the [expletive] best shape of my life.”
So let’s get this straight. It took Ruiz losing the biggest fight in his life in order for him to take things more seriously? For fans of Andy Ruiz, that must be a tough pill to swallow.
A loss to Anthony Joshua is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, he has carved one hell of a career for himself already. What Ruiz should be ashamed of, however, is his performance and of course, his fitness level.
Everything was there for Ruiz. Joshua did not by any stretch of the imagination look like a world beater. He fought cautiously and timid as though he did not want to get hit on the chin. He spent the majority of the contest staying on the outside and clinching whenever Ruiz got in close. He landed a few shots here and there but nothing significant. All Ruiz needed to do was be in better shape in order to cut off the ring and keep the pressure on Joshua.
“That would have knocked down a horse,” said Joshua when referring to the punch that ended his championship reign in New York. “Andy’s a strong boy. He’s a strong man, you know what I mean?”
You don’t even need to read in-between the lines to understand what Joshua was essentially saying here. He did not want to get hit on the chin by Ruiz the second time around.
During the build up of their Heavyweight rematch, Ruiz was empathic about wanting to lose weight. Something that not many thought would be a good idea. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Still, Ruiz informed everyone that would listen that losing weight would allow him to be faster, cut the ring off easier and let his hands go even better than before.
You know what? He was right.
Had he gone through with initial plans of losing weight he could have accomplished everything he wanted to. Instead, he sat back, took this huge opportunity for granted and let down a fan base that was starving for their Mexican warrior to hold on to his titles.
“You know what, it kind of affected me a lot,” Ruiz said of the extra weight he carried. “I thought I was going to feel stronger. I thought I was going to be better. But you know what? Next fight, I think I’m going to get more prepared. I’m going to work with my team a little bit more. I tried to train kind of train myself.”
The words spewed by Ruiz are almost unbelievable. How can one night of glory infiltrate the mind of the former champion and force him into such a state of complacency?
This won’t be the last we see of Ruiz. He is only 30 years of age and has plenty of tread left on his tires.
Will he win another world title? It’s difficult to say. He certainly has the talent to trouble anyone in the division. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. Ruiz will always be remembered for his horrific performance in Saudi Arabia on December 7th, 2019.
Ruiz let down an entire country that had his back. Even Mexican superstar boxer Canelo Alvarez made the trek to Saudi Arabia to root for his fellow countrymen. Needless to say, Canelo must have been disappointed with what he witnessed.
The career of Andy Ruiz isn’t over, but he will need to come back better than ever if he intends to win back the fans and hometown support he undoubtedly lost.
The question now is, can Ruiz buckle down and regain his focus?
That will depend entirely on whether or not his pajamas are still made from silk.