No big deal, it was simple miscommunication which had Andy Ruiz not on the line for a 10 am ET (7 pm Saudi time) media call with boxing press. His trainer Manny Robles actually made the time pass quickly, taking queries from boxing journos on Thursday.
The California-based trainer, who started tutoring the 30-year-old Ruiz four fights ago, came off as a humble servant to the sport and his fighter. More than anything, he came off just plain curious as to how Anthony Joshua will look in that stadium in the sand in the middle east Saturday.
Robles, a boxing lifer, whose dad Manny Sr trained athletes as well, said that his kid is dialed in, will be a good weight for the fight, and will look to “beat the shit out of” the Brit.
Funny, he said it with such even temperament, it can’t even be said to be trash talk. No, Robles doesn’t seem to get too high or low, and no, he wouldn’t go out on the limb and declare Ruiz (33-1, 22 KO) will definitely get the W.
But, he noted, he’s been around the game a looooong time. And quite often, he said, it is real hard for a fighter to bounce back to what he was, once he gets into a dogfight and gets sent to the mat in the fashion Joshua (22-1, 21 KO) did versus Ruiz in New York on June 1. He will be eager to see how AJ reacts when he gets tagged good for the first time in a bout which screens on DAZN.
Maybe, Robles said, it would have been better for AJ to take a year or more off — or take a couple fights with other foes before circling back to Ruiz.
We’re hearing and we assume AJ will look to be more mobile with his slimmed down look, and his move away from as much weight lifting indicates that’s his plan. Will AJ be a faster fighter?
“I really don’t know how much you can change a fighter in six months,” said Robles.
To that end, he expects and believes it is in Team Ruiz’ best interests to make AJ rumble. Robles wants a “dogfight,” he told media. But never did he demean AJ, or make it seem like a sequel victory is in the bag.
“We got a monster in Anthony Joshua in front of us,” he declared.
More points to Robles for honesty; he told me that yes indeed, he did worry and wonder how Ruiz would react after the June 1. Human nature being what it sometimes is, he could have elongated his victory party, and not had as lengthy a camp. But Robles knew when Ruiz came to work, and started working, that he was not mentally compromised, he wasn’t in coast-on-laurels mode.
“Absolutely I was worried, definitely,” he admitted.
The session also proved to be an advertisement for the sport itself.
“Boxing is a poor man’s sport. It gives you an opportunity to dream,” said the trainer. Those small gyms, they fill with people who are striving to prove the doubters wrong. ”We have to go through so much being a minority in this country, it gives us strength,” he said of the sweet science.
And Ruiz is showing strength, he shared, and won’t be like Buster Douglas in his first defense after beating Mike Tyson. Oh, he will be beefy, sort of like Buster. Manny said he thinks Andy will be around 268, because he tried leaning out, scarfing salmon, but he didn’t like how he felt.
“He was feeling drained,” Robles said, so they decided to let Andy be Andy, and enjoy pizzas and such if that’s what his body and brain wanted.
After all, a not-hungry fighter is a happier fighter, and a happy fighter is less likely to tighten up mentally. Maybe Joshua will be tight, we all wonder, and he hasn’t been able to discern the Brit’s mindset during public appearances. But regardless of that, he expects a fan-friendly fight. Robles reiterated that Team Ruiz has done all the right work to put Andy in a solid position to win.