When two fighters split two fights against each other, it’s natural to think there is a need for a rubber match. In some situations, the third fight shouldn’t be automatic, and that’s the case with Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua.
On Saturday night in Saudi Arabia, Joshua avenged his previous loss to Ruiz with a unanimous-decision victory. Joshua didn’t just win, he dominated almost every round with a boxing clinic that made you wonder how the events of the first fight ever took place. Despite the importance of the fight, Ruiz was grossly underprepared. He took the first fight on short notice, but this time, Ruiz had ample time to prepare for the biggest fight of his professional career.
He had months to get into better shape so he could prove his victory over Joshua in June was no fluke. Instead, Ruiz showed up 15 pounds heavier than the ill-advised 268 pounds he weighed for the first fight with Joshua.
Predictably, Ruiz couldn’t close the distance and he was frustrated by Joshua’s movement. During the post-fight interview, Ruiz said he wanted a third meeting with his rival. He even disrespectfully grabbed the mic during Joshua’s time with Sky Sports to clamor for a trilogy.
Ruiz’s everyman story was great, but it lost its charm. He has done nothing to earn a third fight. It would have been more acceptable for a fit Ruiz to have been knocked out in the first round than to watch a clearly out-of-shape “champion” wobble around the ring en route to a decision loss. Ruiz’s level of fitness showed massive amounts of unprofessionalism, and his lack of preparedness should not be awarded.
To his credit, Ruiz knows he screwed this up. Even if Ruiz wasn’t ready to admit his issues during training, other members of the boxing community had their valid criticisms locked and loaded.
It’s a real shame watching someone like Ruiz underachieve.
He is an undersized heavyweight because of his height, but if he weighed 240 pounds, he’d still be a serious force in the division. I still think he’s too small and easy to hit for someone like Deontay Wilder, but we haven’t seen everything Ruiz is capable of in a boxing ring.
Unfortunately, his seemingly poor work ethic prevents us from being treated to a more special fighter. If Ruiz is going to get a third shot at Joshua, he shouldn’t be seriously considered until he has shown better conditioning and strung together a couple of wins in a row.
Hopefully, this loss will be a turning point in his career, or he’ll decide to retire and to stop teasing fight fans with potential he’s not willing to work to uncover.