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Andy Ruiz Jr: Teddy Atlas is in, but would Henry Ramirez be a better fit?

Joseph Herron Updated
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To be a successful fight trainer at the world-class level, a coach absolutely must be willing to be a jack of seemingly all pertinent trades to any one of his fighters.

A proficient trainer must be a teacher, disciplinarian, mentor, friend, confidant, psychiatrist, motivator and baby sitter at different periods during camp.

It's often considered by many to be a thankless endeavor and not one for the faint of heart.

By now, most avid fight fans have already discovered that former Heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. has parted ways with offensive-minded trainer Manny Robles. Whether the decision for the switch was a direct result of his recent loss to Anthony Joshua in December, or a mere suggestion from his world-renowned adviser Al Haymon, Mr. Robles is now without the only Mexican-American heavyweight champion in the history of our beloved sport in his roster of aspiring clients.

Rumor has it that veteran fight trainer Teddy Atlas will take over coaching duties in the interim to prepare Andy for a comeback fight in either April or May.

While no one can question the abilities or knowledge of the Staten Island born fight trainer, will the 63-year-old coach prove to be the right fit for a heavyweight as "unique" as Andy Ruiz Jr.?

Perhaps it's neither here nor there which trainer Andy decides to work with at this juncture of his career. Perhaps the 30-year-old puncher is too "set in his ways" for any fight trainer to make a genuine difference in his work ethic or mindset.

Throughout his entire pro career, Ruiz has worked with and eventually parted ways with excellent teachers of the fight game; Manny Robles, Freddie Roach, Abel Sanchez, and Jeff Grmoja.

It's been a virtual who's who among proficient and demanded coaches. But perhaps he just hasn't found the best suited to temper his shortcomings. Maybe he hasn't found one who he can relate to...or a person who understands everything he goes through on a daily basis...truly.

Would it be a wise decision to call upon someone who has dealt with someone of Andy's temperament...his work and play habits? His perpetual battle with the scale?

Think about someone who's actually had to hide his fighter's car keys on occasion, just to keep him "grounded" literally and figuratively before a crucial and pivotal fight.

Would Henry Ramirez be the best man for the job going forward?

For years, Henry had to deal with Chris Arreola's ups and downs, while keeping him motivated for big fights. Although Big Cristobal admittedly never made anything easy for his boxing mentor, Ramirez always remained loyal to his fighter throughout his entire professional career. Even when he was replaced by head trainer Joe Goossen before Arreola's losing effort against undefeated Adam Kownacki, Henry remained in Chris' corner.

Despite coming up short in Arreola's three opportunities to capture major world titles against Vitali Klitschko (2009), Bermane Stiverne (2014), and Deontay Wilder (2016), maybe working with the sport's first Mexican-American heavyweight champ would be exactly what the doctor ordered for both men.

Both Chris and Andy use similar styles in the ring, and like to throw aggressively in combination to the body and head on the inside. The two heavyweights also practice cutting off the ring and closing the distance with proficiency. Henry Ramirez has been teaching that style for decades.

Teddy Atlas has a ton of experience preparing heavyweight champions for their "big day" and is widely known for not tolerating any kind of social or professional deviance both in or out of the gym from any of his clients.

Will Teddy be able to relate, communicate, and most importantly tolerate Andy Ruiz Jr. throughout an entire, grueling training camp?

Coaching a fighter at the world-class level takes a great commitment by any head trainer, along with many great sacrifices. At age 63, is Teddy Atlas ready and willing to "have his heart broken" one more time?

Or would Henry Ramirez be better suited for this assignment?

The truth will inevitably reveal itself in time.

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