Abel Sanchez knows Andy Ruiz Jr quite well, as he trained and cornered him before Ruiz jumped to Manny Robles.
The Cali-based Sanchez, working out of Big Bear, was asked his take on Ruiz’ effort Dec. 7, and specifically the fact that he partied like a rock star instead of training like a dialed-in professional, and two days later, doesn’t seem properly chastened by the loss he took.
“A coach can’t want it more than a lazy fighter,” Sanchez said. “A fighter that does not allow coaches to develop them to the higher level — the boxing record books are littered with second-tier fighters beating an unfocused champion, only to lose easily in the rematch.
“I have a small cruiserweight champion whom I’ve had spar with Ruiz three or four times and my cruiserweight (Arsen Goulamirian) had an easy time with him. When I had him in camp for Joseph Parker, I had Murat Gassiev spar with him, and Gassiev was just too difficult for him. In my opinion Ruiz didn’t win their first fight; AJ, the much better fighter, lost it.”
More eyebrows got raised when Ruiz returned to America and was interviewed by TMZ.
Ruiz right away said AJ was the better man, but he wants a third fight.
“It could’ve happened to anybody,” he said, and added that he was hanging with friends, gulping too many Coronas, and “I think I ate everything.” He maintained that “I did pretty good,” despite being so beefy. He said AJ was “running too much,” and because he was so large, he couldn’t catch him.
He didn’t seem bummed out that he lost, in that moment.
“I said in an interview months prior to the fight that the key to the win was Manny Robles. If Manny can keep him in the gym, get him to show up consistently, there’s a chance for Manny to develop the needed attributes to deal with the elite level,” Sanchez continued.
“That’s very possible, Ruiz has skills, he just is not completely developed. But it takes hard work and time. It’s not something that happened just for this fight; this time he fought a determined, focused, elite-level fighter.”
Now, we see how Ruiz acts and thinks a week or a month after the loss. Some of the posse might melt away, and he will have that downtime to think more deeply, possibly. He is telling one and all that next time, he will take it all more seriously.
Maybe so, I’d not bet against it. But one element that could work against him is money. He has piles of it. And so pride probably more than anything will have to motivate Ruiz to bounce back. That pride and hunger and discipline needed to train to the level needed to be the June 1 Ruiz can be undermined by money, by creature comforts. Those Coronas and feasts are still there for the consuming.
Can Ruiz say “thanks but no thanks” moving forward? Time tells.
Follow Woods on Twitter for more news and opinion