Andy Ruiz advice: What he must do next
Revered for his stunning upset of Anthony Joshua six months ago, heavyweight Andy Ruiz' popularity has free fallin' faster than a Tom Petty melody since his one-sided loss to AJ in their rematch last week.
Already quite chubby in June, Ruiz entered the ring 16 pounds heavier this time and looked sluggish and ill-prepared to deal with AJ's movement.
At best, Ruiz seemed to have won one round (Round 8).
And to add insult to injury, he admitted he partied too much after winning the title and acknowledged he failed to listen to his handlers who'd attempted to instill some discipline in his training camp.
And worse, he doesn't seem the least bit remorseful about it and even demanded a third fight with AJ moments after the fight.
Mistake No.1: The once-humble Ruiz became quite uppity and overconfident after becoming heavyweight champion. He talked a good game, insisting he'd have his way with AJ in the rematch all while devouring cheeseburgers, partying like it's 1999 and purchasing Rolls Royces in the interim.
Mistake No.2: There was no heartfelt apology to fans after Ruiz admitted, with a big grin, he'd duped us all by not taking this fight seriously enough. And let's not forget his sense of entitlement for another chance.
The boxing community isn't fat-shamming Ruiz because he lost; They're disappointed by his lack of preparation and dismayed by Andy's perceived nonchalance about the whole thing.
After losing to Kevin McBride in the final fight of his career, fight legend Mike Tyson, dejected and mournful, said in the post-fight interview:
“I'm sorry I let everybody down, I'm fighting just to pay my bills. I don't have the stomach for this anymore... I don't have the desire for it. I feel bad for the people... I wish they could get their money back.”
Instead of requesting an immediate title shot, Ruiz should have humbled himself a la Tyson.
We were expecting so much and received so little. Joshua fought brilliantly and Ruiz, even at his best, may not have won. However, a well-prepared version of Ruiz would have been capable of performing much better and would have at least given himself a fair chance to win.
Take time off
Andy Ruiz needs to full enjoy his newfound wealth and get all that partying and eating out of his system. He should travel, enjoy his money and continue on the celebrity circuit for the next 6-9 months before hitting the gym hard, again, in August/September prior to a comeback fight in December 2020.
When preparing for his next bout, he should a) listen to his handlers and b) spend some of that new money to hire a nutritionist. Going forward, fans will be scrutinizing his weight for a long time thanks to last week's performance.
Given Ruiz weighed about 268 pounds on June 1 in his title-taking tilt against AJ, I'd like to see him around 258 for his first fight back. He'd still be chubby but 25 pounds lighter than was the case last week.
Should Andy take my advice, above, he need not face a big name straight away.
If he returns next December he'll have to shake off a little ring rust. Moreover, he'll need to look good (performance wise) against someone respectable in order for the public to start taking him seriously again.
At this moment, I'd start scouting the following:
Lucas Browne (29-2, 25 KO): Australia's top heavyweight, the 40 year old Browne once held the fringe WBA Regular Heavyweight Title and boasts wins over Ruslan Chagaev and a faded James Toney. He punches hard but lacks an elite-level pedigree as well as technique and speed.
Mariusz Wach (35-6, 19 KO)- The 39 year old, 6′ 7½″ heavyweight was formidable in losing to Dillian Whyte on the Joshua vs Ruiz 2 undercard. He's also shared the ring with some big names including Wladimir klitschko, Jarrell Miller Artur Szpilka and Alexander Povetkin.
And if Team Ruiz is feeling brave, they might consider Martin and Washington for Andy's comeback party...
Charles Martin (27-2-1, 24 KO) - Former IBF champion who is ranked by BoxRec as the No. 6 American heavyweight and 19th in the world.
Best of the rest....
- Chazz Witherspoon (38-4, 29 KO)
- Junior Fa (19-0, 10 KO)
- David Price (25-7, 20 KO)
After a successful tilt against one of the aforementioned foes, Ruiz could conceivably earn another title shot with a subsequent win over someone like Dereck Chisora, Kubrat Pulev or Oscar Rivas.
Andy is of Mexican descent, is personable, has a unique physique that defies conventional boxing wisdom and delivered one of the greatest upsets in heavyweight history.
As a result, he's only two wins away from thrusting himself back into heavyweight stardom and public consciousness.
When focused and disciplined, he's an elite heavyweight. He can be on top again but he has earn his opportunity and atone himself after falling so far from grace.