by: Johnny Walker
The fallout continues from the poor outing by Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) in his unanimous decision rematch loss against the now re-crowned world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of the UK (23-1, 21 KOs) on December 7th.
In marked contrast to his ubiquitous presence following the night at the beginning of June when as underdog challenger he took the titles away from Joshua, there have been no notable recent media sightings of the now shamed ex-champ. Meanwhile, details continue to emerge of Ruiz’s puzzling sloth and seemingly uncaring attitude as the biggest fight of his life approached.
One of the most puzzled parties is Ruiz’s trainer Manny Robles, whose honesty regarding the turmoil in the Ruiz camp, as the champion suddenly decided to abandon his training in order to “party” with friends (if people who would encourage and enable such behavior can truthfully be called friends), has been refreshing.
“At least know that you gave it 100,” said a frustrated Robles in an interview conducted while back at work in his California gym recently. “Money isn’t everything, you want to leave a legacy.”
“Every fight is the biggest fight of your life.”
Robles, blown off early in training camp by Ruiz and finally reduced to begging the fighter via text message to come and train for the biggest fight of both of their lives, obviously feels that despite ample warnings about his self-destructive behavior, Ruiz’s head was turned by money and instant fame.
Far from the friendly and benign guy of TV interviews, Andy Ruiz became both arrogant and deceptive very quickly, judging from Robles’ account.
Ruiz has admitted he thought he could go it alone and “train himself” for the rematch, and Robles says that various people caught the fighter’s ear, turning him away from the task at hand.
Now, in the aftermath of the disastrous loss to Joshua, the seeming bright future for the Robles and Ruiz team has become very cloudy.
“If he wants it, I’m here, let’s go and get it,” Robles says in relation to future fights. “But [Ruiz] has got to know what he really wants.”
A chagrined Robles explains that while Ruiz may have been acting like a wayward teenager, as a trainer employed by the fighter, he could only do so much to try to rescue his charge from what became an inevitable fate at the hands of Joshua.
“At the end of the day, he’s his own man, he’s a man, not a kid,” Robles explains. “He’s gotta know right from wrong.”
“When he was in the gym, I tried to do what I could to get him in the best shape I could,” Robles continues, explaining that Ruiz faced some minor problems including gout (!) and a twisted ankle during the lead-up to the rematch, but nothing major.
“Obviously it wasn’t enough.”
And while there were numerous media stories about Ruiz’s “extreme weight loss” to the point where even former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson felt the need to express concern, Robles admits that except for some weight Ruiz dropped early in camp, it was all smoke and mirrors.
“I’m not responsible for him,” Robles says regarding Ruiz’s party boy lifestyle, documented by the fighter himself on social media with pictures and video of theme parties, mounds of food, expensive cars and even of a mansion and sprawling estate the fighter bought with his payout on the first Joshua fight.
“When he steps in the gym, I’m responsible, but when he’s not [there], there’s nothing I can do,’ Robles shrugs.
Perhaps tellingly, Robles says in the recent interview that he has not heard from Ruiz since the press conference following the loss to Joshua, during which the now ex-champ apologized for his behavior in and out of camp.
“I sent [Ruiz] a message the other day … didn’t get a response,” a crestfallen Robles explains.
“What can I say?”
“Sometimes fame and fortune can be overwhelming.”
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