By: Sean Crose
Andy Ruiz’ trainer, Manny Robles, said on a conference call Thursday that he expected the defending WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight champion to weigh around 268 pounds for his Saturday rematch with Anthony Joshua, who Ruiz bested in stunning fashion last June. On Friday, a fully clothed Ruiz stepped onto the scales in Saudi Arabia and weighed in at a whopping 283 pounds. That was between ten and twenty more pounds than the Californian weighed when he fought Joshua the first time – a fact that immediately got the internet buzzing. As for the challenger, Joshua – he came in at a lean and mean 237.
Much will be made of Ruiz’ weight gain in the brief amount of time leading up to Saturday’s fight. Images of James “Buster” Douglas will undoubtedly be floating through the heads of fans and analysts alike. For it had been whispered that Ruiz had been partying rather hard before camp. Ruiz also missed a conference call with the media that he was supposed to be on Thursday. Although it would be wrong at this point to slip into conjecture and gossip, such things become newsworthy when a fighter hits the scales at the weight Ruiz did on Friday in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua was essentially the toast of the fight game when he slipped in between the ropes to face Ruiz last spring. A last minute replacement for Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, who had tested positive for a banned substance, Ruiz was seen as little more than a glorified tune up. The skilled contender took Joshua to school after being knocked down in the third round, however. For Ruiz went on to drop Joshua a total of four times and stopped his man in the seventh. It was a stunning turn of events, especially when one considers the Madison Square Garden hosted fight was the popular Joshua’s American debut.
Much ink and air has been given in speculation as to how Saturday’s rematch will turn out. Although many, if not most, expect to see a different Joshua than the aggressive hitter who lost his belts last spring, there are those who have also been wondering if Ruiz will show that he can consistently perform at the level he did during the first fight with Joshua. And, although there’s room for speculation – no one knows how this bout will turn out until the opening bell rings on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.