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Andy Ruiz Jr. loses fight vs. Anthony Joshua
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After Big Loss What’s Next for Boxer Andy Ruiz?

IMPERIAL VALLEY — The defeat of Imperial native Andy Ruiz Jr. in his Dec. 7 fight versus Anthony Joshua for the world heavyweight boxing titles left his home-town fans reeling.

“When he won, we all won. When he lost, we all lost,” Pee Wee Salazar said, describing the sentiment among local boxing experts about Andy Ruiz’s recent fight.

Salazar said he started boxing when he was four and at 12 trained in the same gym as Ruiz, who was six at the time. Despite being disappointed about Ruiz’s losing the fight, Salazar still describes himself as a big Andy Ruiz fan.

“Andy was a lot heavier than he was in his first fight with Joshua (when he won the titles in June),” Salazar said of an issue that has become somewhat of a scandal in the boxing world amid allegations Ruiz was ill prepared for the rematch.

“He obviously didn’t train as hard for this fight as he did for his last fight. If you saw Ruiz in his first title fight, you could tell that he was not the same fighter,” he added.

Failed Strategy

Ruiz conceded in media interviews after the fight that he was disappointed with the result and did not train as hard as he should have.

Ruiz’s game plan for the fight was to chase Joshua down and hit him, media reports stated. Joshua’s game plan was to avoid heavy damage and score points by using the jab. Joshua won the contest unanimously in a 12-round decision.

The contest took place in Saudi Arabia. Ruiz arrived in the Middle East two weeks prior to the event and finished his training in a ring built especially for him inside the hotel.

There are a host of reasons and rumors why Ruiz looked so out of shape for this fight, observers said.

George Munoz, owner of Sparta Boxing said, “Ruiz knew what he had to do, but he did not take this fight seriously. He was not even 20 percent of what he could have been. He just didn’t care.”

Weight Caused Problems

Despite the ring being the largest size possible, Munoz clearly felt that was not the issue keeping Ruiz from successfully defending his title.

“He didn’t move his head. He couldn’t because he was overweight. If he would have been 100 percent he could have won that fight. Ruiz could not throw combinations because he was too heavy,” Munoz added.

Munoz said that despite all the Internet chatter and social media pictures showing Ruiz in shape, Ruiz weighed 350 pounds one month before the fight.

“Those were all old pictures Ruiz’s camp was posting before the fight,” he said.

Ruiz at 30 is still a legitimate contender for the heavyweight title. He fights an average of twice a year, but unfortunately for Ruiz a stipulation in a contract stated there would be no rematch between Ruiz and Joshua if Ruiz lost.

The next heavyweight championship bout will be between Joshua and Deontay Wilder. Ruiz has a long list of potential opponents for his next fight looking to make a name for themselves.

Tyson Fury is the other contender whose name is mentioned the most in the conversation about the future of heavyweight boxing. The most likely match up for Ruiz’s next fight would be with Fury. The winner of that bout could face the winner of Joshua vs. Wilder.

Munoz said, “Joshua is not going to give Ruiz another shot. Joshua got him good because Ruiz was not prepared. Ruiz will probably fight Wilder before he ever fights Joshua again.”

When asked if he though Ruiz could ever win the heavyweight title again Munoz replied, “He always had a shot at getting the title, but he has to train hard to give himself a chance.”

This story is featured in the Dec 19, 2019 e-Edition.

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