By: Hans Themistode
Andy Ruiz Jr had time on his side this time around. Maybe too much.
When the current unified Heavyweight champion stopped former belt holder Anthony Joshua in the seventh round of their contest back on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, he had done so as a late replacement. Joshua was set to take on Heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller but had to change course once he was notified of Miller failing several drug tests.
In stepped Andy Ruiz Jr on roughly five weeks notice. He was fresh off a win against Alexander Dimitrenko a few weeks earlier and lobbied for the fight against Joshua. Once Ruiz got his wish, it was understandable if he was going to come into the fight a little on the chubby side.
With one day before the fight, Ruiz jumped on the scale at 268 pounds. Joshua on the other hand, came in at 247. Ruiz looked flabby while Joshua looked like a hand carved sculpture. None of that however, proved to matter as Ruiz knocked Joshua down four times en route to a seventh round stoppage.
Following the win, both men took a different approach to the rematch. Although Joshua didn’t necessarily say anything, his goal was obviously to shed some of his hulking muscles. He did just that as he came into the rematch weighing 10 pounds lighter at 237. The muscles were still evident, but they weren’t as imposing as they once were.
Ruiz on the other hand weighed in 15.7 pounds heavier than the first match at 283.7 pounds. It was difficult to conclude whether or not it was fat rather than muscle as Ruiz wore a black shirt that only exposed him arms during the weigh in.
The weight gain of Ruiz would normally be a non topic if he had not promised to lose a few pounds for the rematch.
“That’s something that we want,” said Ruiz during a conference discussing the rematch a few months ago. “For the last fight we had about a month and a week to train. I kinda wanted to be heavier for the first fight because Anthony Joshua is big and I wanted to carry his weight and take his punches well, but I think coming in 10 pounds lighter will make me a better fighter. I’m going to be faster and be able to let my hands go.”
Any worries of losing his power was also quickly dismissed.
“10 pounds isn’t going to make a difference,” Said Ruiz.
Now, there seems to be a clash of ideas. During a phone conference with trainer Manny Robles, he indicated that the weight loss was not going well.
“Andy said he was feeling drained,” said Robles. “So we decided to put the weight back on. He is going to weigh the same as he did for the first match.”
Now that Ruiz has tipped the scale even heavier than his trainer was expecting, this doesn’t sound like both the fighter and trainer are on the same page.
Could the success have gotten to the head of Ruiz? It’s difficult to say but this gives an eerie similar feeling of Buster Douglas vs Evander Holyfield almost 30 years ago.
Whether the extra weight will help or hurt Ruiz will soon be found out.