Written by Tré Berry III | 04/26/2021
Mexican-American Heavyweight force 🇺🇸Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. (33-2-0, 22KO) has been a very interesting case over these previous two years, experiencing the full gambit of triumphs, and pitfalls in a short period of time, and was forced to deal with the consequences that came with both the rungs of his successes, and the letdowns of his complacency.
Looked at as the chubby, happy-go-lucky kid with fast hands, very few people actually gave him a chance…at all to win against 🇬🇧Anthony “AJ” Joshua on June 1st, 2019, but what occurred was a moment forever stuck in time, as Andy lived up to his destroyer nickname, and bounced AJ around the ring mercilessly before stopping him, to win the WBA, WBO and IBF World Heavyweight Titles in a monumental upset for the ages, killing the 20-to-1 odds against him, and completely upsetting the applecart of plans that was laid out for the giant.
As great of a moment it was in Heavyweight history, the very second that Ruiz earned 3 of the 5 Heavyweight belts, his demeanor went from hungry, to heavily entitled, and what happened is that both of those tones meshed together in an odd way. Ruiz was already big to begin with; He had challenged, and shifted the notion of over-factoring in physical aesthetics into heavy analysis, being the round, stumpy fighter who had just stopped the unified titlist who is built like an Olympic Roman statue.
While that was a positive message to push in its own right, Ruiz took it way too far, as he lost his belief in doing ANY legitimate physical training, despite pleas from his previous Head-Trainer Manny Robles to do so, believing that his skills could overcome whatever amount of weight he operated at, and frankly, that mindset bit him in the ass in his immediate rematch with Joshua. He came in, weighing an absurd 283 lbs., barely even resembling a shape, and lost his recently held titles, as Joshua put the work in to reverse course, to re-stake his claim in the division.
Anthony Joshua himself came in considerably lighter, and used heavy lateral, in and out foot movement, taking advantage of Ruiz’s plodding nature, and thoroughly out-boxed him through 12 rounds. I personally make the case that it would’ve still happened this way even if Ruiz took training seriously, because Ruiz, despite having fast hands, always been notoriously slow of foot, and would’ve been dealt the same fate. To me, regarding the weight, it was much more symbolic imagery that his conditioning indicated a lack of care, no longer taking the sport seriously, and that his outing paired with that put his career in an immediate tailspin.
THE TURNAROUND – As Ruiz lost his confidence along with the belts, fans, and people closely associated with boxing no longer believed in him, as this was one of the more flagrant examples of letting your career slip after achieving the “impossible” (think 🇺🇸Buster Douglas). Where would Ruiz go from here…would he mail it in, or would he look for the guidance to get him to optimal form his next move may prove to be the greatest decision he ever made in his career, pairing up with new Head-Trainer Eddy Reynoso, who may be the best Trainer in the sport today; also Andy being around 🇲🇽Canelo Alvarez, and soaking up the wealth of knowledge that he possesses. How much of a plus will this be? we have to wait to tangibly see.
Now what we COULD see already is the transformation in Ruiz physique which suggests that Reynoso struck a chord with him, being willing to put in the extensive work expected of him throughout the Reynoso camp. The biggest difference visibly are in the legs, as the muscle seems to have doubled in mass, and in training, you could see that he’s doing a much better job with his movement, which makes his return a highly anticipated one, to see what the new version of the 31 year old will look like.
THE OPPONENT – Representation goes a long way, and Andy Ruiz as a kid was influenced to take up boxing. Being from Imperial, California, and there being no relevant Mexican Heavyweights over the years, there was a Mexican-American Heavyweight from Los Angeles that made himself a contender, that being 🇺🇸Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (38-6-1, 33KO), and though he never won a world title, he knocked on the door a few times, and showed young East L.A. Mexican kids that it is something possible to achieve.
Ruiz became the star pupil, and finished off what Arreola started. Now they will get a chance to cross paths.
Chris Arreola is 40 years old however, and should be retired by this point for his health’s sake. This fight however, is the ONE fight that is left for him that brings intrigue, for all the reasons mentioned above, and getting to mix it up with someone who looked up to him. The fight will be the headliner on the FOX PPV card (no idea why this is Pay-Per-View, don’t kill the messenger). The card will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.