By: Hans Themistode
Andy Ruiz Jr.’s moment in the sun came and quickly left.
Following his monumental upset win over Anthony Joshua in June of 2019, Ruiz Jr. wrapped his newly won heavyweight titles around his waist and began partying nonstop. When Ruiz Jr. wasn’t out enjoying the night life, he was making frequent trips to the jeweler and stopped going to gym as frequent as he should have. With the newly crowned champion scheduled to take on Joshua six months later, the Mexican product figured since he had already done it once, repeating what he did should be no problem at all.
Those sentiments, of course, didn’t prove to be true as Joshua boxed circles around him and ended his 15 minutes of fame. For the now former belt holder, he realized what he did wrong. In turn, he put down the bottles of booze, no longer made trips to the local clubs and according to trainer Eddy Reynoso, his newfound dedication has his training like a mad man.
“Andy is very motivated,” said Reynoso during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “He wants to be world champion again. He’s dropping weight and he’s been disciplined. We are gonna make a great team.”
Since the one-sided loss, Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 24 KOs) has sat back and watched as his new stablemates have gone on to pick up big wins.
Just a few weeks ago, Oscar Valdez upset the odds by not only defeating former WBC super featherweight belt holder Miguel Berchelt but flat out knocking him out cold. Canelo Alvarez has continued to win as he easily outboxed Callum Smith to win the WBA, WBC and Ring magazine super middleweight titles in December. Also, in just a few short hours, Alvarez will take on Avni Yildirim at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida. Virtually everyone expects Alvarez to pick up the win and maintain his pound-for-pound status.
As for Ruiz Jr., he simply wants to keep the winning train going. Although nothing is concrete, he will most likely return to the ring in a few months against fringe contender Chris Arreola.
Winning a world title is prevalent on his mind, but more than anything, Ruiz Jr. wants to prove that his success wasn’t a flash in the pan. While he already has all of the motivation in the world, Reynoso believes that with everyone surrounding him ascending, the fire burning in his belly is brighter than ever.
“He’s seeing the success everyone else is having and it’s gonna motivate him even more.”
By: Hans Themistode
The big fights are easy to identify. Even the most casual fans will tune into matchups headlined by Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr. or Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua. While those fights are undoubtedly huge, discussing them has become incredibly repetitive.
The sport of boxing doesn’t revolve around those obvious big fights, and more times than not, those marquee matchups either take years to materialize or fail to happen at all. The anticipation would go through the roof if Canelo Alvarez agreed to take on Jermall Charlo or if Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford came to a bout agreement. But there are a ton of other possible matches that are floating under the radar. One’s that would make fight fans and even casuals run to their television screens. Let’s take a look a look at some of them now.
Luis Ortiz vs Andy Ruiz Jr
When it comes to the heavyweight division, much of the attention is on unified champion Anthony Joshua as well as WBC/Ring magazine belt holder Tyson Fury. There is little doubt that their showdown would entertain. However, a contest between former champion Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) and multiple time title challenger Luis Ortiz would possibly produce even more fireworks.
Both big men know how to box but more importantly, they know how to bang and enjoy doing it. Outside of his defeats to Deontay Wilder, Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) has never come close to losing a fight. The now 41-year-old is fresh off a first-round knockout win against Alexander Flores in early November. Ruiz Jr., on the other hand, is still searching to get back on track following his one-sided loss against Anthony Joshua in late 2019. Both men hit hard, have sturdy chins and need a big fight.
This one has fight of the year candidate written all over it.
Jermall Charlo vs Chris Eubank Jr
WBC middleweight belt holder Jermall Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) has been described in a variety of ways. Brash, brazen, loquacious and even arrogant. In many respects, so has WBA interim titlist Chris Eubank Jr.
Charlo, 30, has done his best to quiet his doubters with his most recent performance, an easier than expected win against perennial contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Eubank Jr. though, is in a similar position. Sure his world title win was a bit fortuitous considering his opponent in Mat Korobov dislocated his shoulder in the second round of their matchup, Eubank Jr. (29-2, 22 KOs) proved in his prior fight that he can not only compete with the elite but beat them convincingly. That much was proven after sending former champion James DeGale into retirement.
In terms of Charlo and Eubank Jr., both men have expressed plenty of interest in facing each other. With nothing set in stone for either man at the moment, both should look to make this showdown happen next.
Erickson Lubin vs Jarrett Hurd
Has there ever been a boring fight involving Jarrett Hurd? Of course not. The former unified Jr middleweight champion was once viewed as the class of the division. Those thoughts however, have mostly dissipated following his surprising defeat to Julian Williams in mid-2019.
Still, with only one loss plastered to his record, the Maryland native is far from done. A possible matchup with Erickson Lubin would prove just that, provided he wins.
Lubin, much like Hurd (24-1, 16 KOs), saw his stock take a considerable hit the moment his head bounced off the canvas courtesy of a Jermell Charlo left hand in 2017. He’s rebuilt himself nicely since then reeling off five straight wins. If he wanted, Lubin could sit back and await his second crack at a world title but the 25-year-old loves a good fight. Ironically enough, Hurd loves himself a good scrap as well. It’s a matchup made in boxing Heaven.
Terence Crawford vs Keith Thurman
No not Manny Pacquiao and no not Errol Spence Jr. Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) should pick a fight with former unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman. By all accounts, Spence Jr. is the top name in the division and the one Crawford should continue to lure into the ring. With that being said, Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs) was Spence Jr. long before he broke into the championship mix.
The biggest wins on the Dallas native’s resume came at the expense of Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. While they were impressive victories, Thurman took care of business against both men in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Injuries, of course, have held back the 32-year-old Thurman. And despite his loss to Pacquiao in his last ring appearance, he proved that there’s still plenty left in the tank.
Fans have grown tired of begging and groveling for a matchup between Crawford and Spence Jr. Instead, they should switch their focus and hope that Crawford faces Thurman. The former champion may have lost countless fans due to his inactivity in the ring but he’s still one of the best fighters in the world.
By: Hans Themistode
Andy Ruiz Jr. is ready to show that he isn’t some one hit wonder.
As first reported by Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, the former heavyweight champion has agreed to a matchup with former title challenger Chris Arreola that will take place on the back end of 2020.
With the 39 year old Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) putting on one of his best performances in his last ring appearance against Adam Kownacki, the California native pondered retirement if he didn’t get the job done on the night. Yet, after 12 fairly competitive rounds in which Arreola had thrown a record setting 1,125 punches, he backed off his retirement claims.
Despite his previous showing though, much of the boxing world will be fixated on the comeback story of the man standing across the ring from him on the night.
Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) found himself on the table of unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua as a sacrificial lamb. The two matched up in June of 2019 and not much was expected of him.
Come in, get paid, get your ass kicked and leave. And in that order. Ruiz Jr. however, didn’t read the memo.
The upset of Joshua has been well chronicled. Ruiz Jr. picked himself up off the mat in the early going, only to drop his man on four separate occasions to become the first Mexican heavyweight world champion.
Those newly found gold belts did not serve as motivation though. They were simply used as beer holders as Ruiz Jr. spent most of the following six months partying like there was no tomorrow. But while the new heavyweight champion was busy making appearances on the Jimmy Kimmel show and signing countless autographs, the old belt holder was hard at work readying himself for their rematch.
The difference in preparation showed as Ruiz Jr. was thoroughly dominated over 12 rounds.
“I think I didn’t prepare as I should’ve,” said Ruiz Jr. immediately following their rematch. “I gained too much weight. Basically I tried to train myself, but if we do the third fight best believe I’m going to be in the best shape of my life.”
The promises of the former heavyweight champion doesn’t appear to be hollow as he has decided to work with trainer of the year and head man of current four division star Canelo Alvarez.
With the world there to witness his rise to the top of the mountain and his unceremonious fall from it, Ruiz Jr. will begin his journey to prove that he isn’t some flash in the pan fighter.
By: Hans Themistode
Demetrius Andrade was an interested observer on December 7th 2019. In one hand was a bag of popcorn as the fan in him sat back and enjoyed a boxing match. In the other, was a pen and paper as he jot down notes. After 12 uneventful rounds Andrade was left unimpressed and holding his chin.
The WBO Middleweight champion looked on as Andy Ruiz Jr. was virtually shutout by Anthony Joshua to lose his Heavyweight titles. Before his poor showing, Ruiz was on top of the world, pulling off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he stopped Joshua in the seventh round during their first contest.
That version of Ruiz would be difficult to deal with, but the one who showed up in the rematch is easy pickings for Andrade.
“I would fight Andy Ruiz,” said Andrade on ABBoxing during an interview. “Don’t train, don’t do anything, let’s fight. Give us the same excuse you gave when you fought Joshua the second time that you didn’t train. Give me that fight and I can beat him.”
Andrade has offered to move up in weight to take on big name opponents in the past. He recently went on record offering to jump up to the Super Middleweight division in order to take on WBO title holder Billy Joe Saunders. But a move to Heavyweight would be a completely different animal. To his credit, Andrade has always been praised for his skills and his heart. But that doesn’t mean he wants to jump into the ring with every and any of the big boys from the Heavyweight division.
“I’m not fighting Wilder. I don’t want to get hit with that shit bro. I would fight anybody in my weight class but if I’m going up to the Heavyweight division, I am only going to name the people that I think I can beat and I know I can beat that kid. I can beat Andy Ruiz, hands down.”
With world titles at both 154 and 160, Andrade, 32, is smack in the middle of his prime and would be favored against roughly anyone in his weight class. But a matchup with Ruiz would leave him at a major weight disadvantage. The former Heavyweight champion last tipped the scale at a grotesque 283 pounds. Over 120 pounds heavier than Andrade.
Big fight hunting has always been the name of the game for Andrade (29-0, 17 KOs). For years, he spent his time trying to get the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Jermall Charlo into the ring with him. But with both of those contests ostensibly not taking place, Andrade has turned his attention to not just Ruiz, but to another big name fighter. One that seldomly ever gets called out.
“If Andre Ward wants to get back in the ring I would fight him. I’ll beat him with my jab and my IQ. I’ve got way more speed than him, my feet work is way better than him, like he isn’t going to touch me.”
By: Hans Themistode
Heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz is in search of a fight. Which isn’t exactly surprising considering his track record.
The last time he was seen in the ring, Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs) was seemingly just a few rounds away from becoming the first Cuban born Heavyweight world champion.
On November 23rd, at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas Nevada, Ortiz found himself standing across the ring from then champion Deontay Wilder. Through six rounds, Ortiz was on his way to making history. Cuban born fighters have always garnered a ton of respect in the boxing world. They’re often slick, defensively responsible, strong and maybe even a bit boring. Ortiz was all of that, minus the boring part.
For as good as Cuban born fighters have proven to be, the Heavyweights have shown that they are just that. Good, but not great.
Yet, with six rounds left in his second shot at a Heavyweight title, Ortiz almost hit champion status. But then, like most of Wilder’s fights, everything came to an end as Ortiz was stopped in the 7th round.
With two cracks at a world title coupled with two losses, Ortiz seems perfectly content with going from contender to high level gatekeeper.
“All of those people who are out there, Kownacki the one who lost, Povetkin, Dillan Whyte … they all want to fight for world titles, but first they have to go through King Kong. I am the metal test,” Ortiz said. It gives me great joy that people think a little more about me. I am determined to continue my career.”
The soon to be 41 year old Ortiz is on the back end of his career at this point. But the big fights that he seems to always be in search of, could be coming his way very soon.
Former unified Heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz is reportedly ready to take his career more seriously. After causing one of the biggest upsets in boxing history with a win over Anthony Joshua in June of 2019, Ruiz fell off a cliff in the immediate rematch, losing virtually every round.
Now, with Ruiz claiming that he wants to turn things around, the former Heavyweight champ wants to get his hands on a tune up fight before jumping back into the deep end of the water.
Ortiz though, wants to hear nothing of it.
“Why does [Ruiz need] a tune up fight? We as boxers need opponents to help us lift our name. I prefer to always fight against people with marksmanship and not those who are below my level. And now more than ever I am dangerous for anyone who wants to rise in this division. I feel young, my children are the engine of my career.”
With much of the boxing schedule on freeze due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Ruiz might opt to jump into a big showdown with Ortiz to make up for lost time.
By: Hans Themistode
The Heavyweight division has somewhat of an arbitrary list. But just about everyone views the top of the weight class the same. Former WBC titlist Deontay Wilder, current WBC belt holder and Lineal champ Tyson Fury and unified champion Anthony Joshua are all at the top.
One name that is never mentioned amongst those three is Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev. Actually, forget about the top three, Pulev isn’t considered a top five Heavyweight. And seldom cracks the top 10. That is exactly why most are looking at Anthony Joshua’s upcoming match against Pulev as a gimme.
Well, almost. Had this matchup taken place one year ago in early 2019, then no one would think much of it.
At the time, Joshua was on top of the world. He was fresh off a knockout win over Alexander Povetkin and prior to that, he easily outpointed former champ Joseph Parker. To sum it all up, he looked unstoppable. He was six feet six inches tall and looked like you would need hands made out of steel in order to knock him out. If anyone had an aura of invincibility, it was Joshua. But things quickly changed when he got beat down and stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr.
Give Joshua credit though, he came back six months later and won the immediate rematch. But still, promoter of Pulev, Bob Arum isn’t buying it.
“He has no chin. I knew Andy Ruiz prior to his first fight with Joshua. Every one of Ruiz’s fights except the one previous to that [Alexander Dimitrenko] was promoted by us. So we are experts on Andy Ruiz. We know how good he is, what he lacks, we know he has fast hands, a pretty good chin, but he’s not a knockout guy,” said Arum.
“Trust me, look at his record. He fought a lot of ham & eggers and he couldn’t knock them out. The fact that he knocked out Joshua the way he did indicates to me that Joshua’s chin is very, very suspect. If you compare Ruiz with Pulev, Pulev is a much better fighter than Andy Ruiz. Therefore, what I’ve said is if Ruiz can knock Joshua out, then Pulev has an even better chance to knock him out.”
At one point in time, the words of the 88 year old Arum would be taken as gospel. If he said his man is going to win then that’s what’s going to happen. Now however, he seems to be on an island all by himself as oddsmakers all around the world have made Joshua a huge favorite. -1100 to be exact. Meaning you would have to risk $1,100 just to bring back $100. Pulev on the other hand, would bring back betters $700 for that same $100 bet.
The two are scheduled to face off on June 20th, but with this global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus, their bout has been pushed back. When will it take place is anyone’s guess. But when it does, Arum is fully expecting a Pulev knockout win.