Andy Ruiz Jr will always be a name that is remembered in the annals of boxing history after the job he did on Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden. Few will forget June 1, 2019 as Ruiz became the heavyweight champion of the world by defying all the odds. Those seven rounds would change Ruiz’s life for good but a year and a bit on from that famous evening, it’s hard to figure out if the change has been beneficial for the California native?
That may seem like a strange question to ask, and you’re probably shaking your head and wondering who would have the gall to ask whether becoming the heavyweight champion of the world has actually aided a person’s life? Naturally, it must, but since that night and the subsequent rematch against Anthony Joshua that Ruiz lost in Saudi Arabia, the 30-year-old has given up on training and the disciplined lifestyle that saw him reach the top.
How do you like my new look? pic.twitter.com/u4FAdHfMjn
— AndyRuizjr (@Andy_destroyer1) August 13, 2020
In fact, you could probably go back to the build-up to the rematch with Joshua in December 2019 and find a fighter uninterested and far from focused. Ruiz’s former trainer, Manny Robles, went as far as to say that the 30-year-old woke up a different man the morning after beating Joshua on June 2.
You can only speculate that any motivation that Ruiz did have dried up once he had reached the top. The problem is, once you summit the mountain of world heavyweight boxing, you become a marked man with every fighter in the division desperate to beat you and take your belts. It now seems like Ruiz never had the stomach to defend his titles and we know his reign would only last a mere six months. In reality, you could even ask if Ruiz had the appetite to keep boxing at all as he would only get back into the gym in August 2020, some nine months after his losing clash in the Saudi Arabian desert with Joshua.
Now, compare that to the way that Tyson Fury has applied himself after winning the WBC belt and coming back from the brink of despair. Fury is now fancied to unify the division given that he is the favourite in boxing betting at paltry odds of 1/2 to beat Joshua when the two meet. You either have the ambition to be the best and make the appropriate sacrifices or you don’t. It appears as if Ruiz falls into the latter category, even if there is talk of a potential fight on the cards for him later this year.
It’s been reported that the 30-year-old is preparing for a fight with Chris Arreola at the end of 2020 but until you actually see what type of shape he is in during the ring walk, it may well be a bit naive to think that Ruiz is finally taking boxing seriously again.
Andy Ruiz Jr back in training 💪 pic.twitter.com/I60u5gLscU
— Boxing Exposure (@Boxing_Exposure) August 14, 2020
This all begs the question: Wouldn’t Ruiz be happier if he were to retire?
During his mega-fights with Joshua, it was reported that Ruiz made in the region of $20m, a sum that is more than enough to retire on. If he really is this uninspired to carry on, then call it a day and live off the king’s ransom that he made. The sooner he does, the sooner he will be remembered as a courageous fighter who punched above his weight. But the longer he stays on demotivated, the more damage he will do to his reputation.