Andy Ruiz’ career damaged in loss to Anthony Joshua
He doesn’t get it.
Ruiz’ lackluster performance added more than a loss to his record. It also called into question his commitment to the sport of boxing.
In what was the second most important fight of his career, he weighed in at 283 pounds — a full 15 pounds heavier than when he won the championship in June in one of the biggest boxing upsets in recent memory.
Strategy, I thought. The weight gain was to add more power. He wouldn’t come in out of shape. Not for a fight of this magnitude.
As I watched Andy Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs), stand in the center of the ring allowing Joshua to easily control distance with his jab, I quickly knew how wrong I was. Ruiz’ weight gain left him unable to effectively cut off the ring and move to the inside where he could utilize his fast hands. Except for the eighth round, where Ruiz caught Joshua with a flush right hand that momentarily rocked him, the challenger took every round.
Out of shape: Andy Ruiz had no answer for Anthony Joshua's movement in their rematch Dec 7, 2019
The fight was anticlimactic. It didn’t have to be, but Ruiz’ lack of preparation made it that way. On one hand, I understand his lack of desire. He beat Joshua in June, shocked the world and made money in the first fight and in the rematch. Maybe he accomplished everything he wanted to accomplish?
If that’s truly the case, say that in the post-fight interview. Be honest with the fans. Say goodbye and step away a former unified heavyweight champion with money and health. Sure, fans and media would be frustrated with his last fight, but they could at least understand why he felt the way he did.
However, asking for a third fight without preparing for the one you were just in is disrespectful to not only the fans but also those who have waited patiently for their shot at heavyweight glory — guys like Dillian Whyte or Adam Kownacki.
I firmly believe in second chances and hope that Andy Ruiz eventually gets one. An in-shape, focused Ruiz is still is trouble for anyone in the heavyweight division. However, expect promoters and even other fighters to have doubts about his commitment moving forward. Such doubts could keep him from landing another big fight that would put him back in the title picture.
Ruiz’ knows he handled his preparation incorrectly, but what he doesn’t realize is the lasting effect it may have.
“I was having too much fun and celebrating too much,” Ruiz recently told TMZ. “I wish I would’ve taken it more serious. But for sure on the third fight I’m going to give it all I got. I want those belts back.”
Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs), boxed beautifully and had a smart game plan overall. It was easy to see that he took his training seriously even if some — including myself — wondered if he had. Now that he’s once again unified heavyweight champion, he can set his sights on the winner of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury in February and becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion.
Even if that means leaving Ruiz to learn a hard lesson: Second chances aren’t guaranteed, and sometimes they never come at all.