“I tried to kinda do the training on my own,” said Andy Ruiz Jr, who mixed humility and inappropriate lobbying on his own behalf for a third fight against Anthony Joshua, right after AJ had won a severely decisive and undramatic 12-rounder in Saudi Arabia.
Ruiz got a half-point for admitting he didn’t train hard enough and was over weight. But then he got points taken for repeatedly talking about a third bout with the Brit. No, it wasn’t appropriate, not after he weighed 15 pounds more for the rematch than the June outing.
It started in the ring, post-fight; AJ thanked God and showed he was amped. Then he asked Ruiz if he was ready to retire. No way, he said, “I want that third fight.” The 30-year-old now-ex-titleholder did a crowd call: “Who wants to see a third fight?”
The response was tepid, at best. AJ, too, was lost in the moment. “If you heard, we’re gonna do a third,” he said, cackling.
Ruiz can’t be given a pass for this lack of proper prep because he shocked the world in June, because what if you were the person who splurged on a trip to Saudi Arabia to see this scrap, with the understanding that the Cali boxer would have trained as a professional in order to give himself the best chance of winning?
Clearly, he didn’t do that, and so, more than offering explanations and telling folks during the post-fight presser that next time, he will train harder, he should just apologize to his team and his fans and boxing fans.
“I won one and he won one and we’re gonna go to a third one,” he said, infuriatingly. You wanted someone sage to whisper in his ear, stop saying that. No one is in the mood to see that fight again, it wasn’t dramatic or compelling.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have put on all the weight I did,” because it reduced his speed, he said, and again lobbied for a third tango.
He said there’s no excuse, it’s on him, and he gave AJ credit. And WHY? Why didn’t he train harder? He alluded to having a lot of things on his plate, and posted a third reference to a third tango.
Ruiz said he didn’t have fluidity, because he was too heavy. So, again, he did correctly point the finger at himself — but he also tossed in excuses and the like. He hinted that AJ didn’t stand and trade and that’s why he didn’t have more luck on Saturday.
He was asked about a third fight, where it would take place. Ruiz said next time he will prepare better and explained that he missed training because the fight was in Saudi. He told the media that he thought he did pretty well, and bang, the fourth reference to the trilogy.
Ruiz said that the cut felt OK, and then he apologized to his team. “I’m sorry, Manny, and sorry to my dad,” he said, offering his fifth reference to the trilogy.
He said too much of the partying and celebrating hurt him. Yes, we alluded to that for months and months, and hoped it wouldn’t be the case.
Ruiz said he’s young and still has much to offer. The weight hurt his foot speed, too, he said. Bang, another reference to “the next one.” Number six. Seven, when he said, “Next time is gonna be a lot better.”
Then he dissed AJ, saying the “only thing” he did well was move. “The next fight is gonna be a lot different,” he said, for number eight.
Trainer Manny Robles then spoke, and said AJ didn’t stand and throw as much as they thought he would.
If he took the rematch more seriously, he said, he would have done better. The fighter said he thinks people still doubt him, and when he’s at 100 percent, he can dominate everyone.
“I would love to do it again, just in better shape,” Ruiz said, for the ninth reference. “I won one, he won one, I wanna do it again,” he said, No. 10.
Robles said he needed to stand by the fighter during camp, and he wanted to be that way through thick and thin. He said he had to apologize to Ruiz, I’m not sure for what. He said he has Ruiz’ back.
“I know it’s gonna be a lot better next fight,” he said. No. 11.
He ended by saying he will bounce back and be champ again.
Here’s hoping that after a night’s sleep, Ruiz wakes up, and maybe an advisor suggests he cease the lobbying effort. The condition he was in for this fight made him look bad, and left a considerable stain that won’t be scrubbed in a day or two.
He doesn’t or didn’t understand that there is a potential implication of horrific optics when he asks for a third fight, right after he performed comparatively dreadfully to his last effort. “I can train half-ass, and yeah, lose — but then we can have a third fight, and I can make another pile of money.” No, I’m not saying that was his thinking. But to even hint at the appearance of that erodes credibility of the process.
All we can ask as fans is for the athletes to train at their best, and give max effort to win. Ruiz didn’t do that first part, and so he has some work to do to get back the trust of people who believed him when he said the right things leading up to this rematch. He said he was willing to die, he said all the needed things had been done for him to get that W again. That’s just not so, and yes, this is harsh, but he wasn’t truthful in the lead to this fight. OK, I get it, he couldn’t very well admit that he’d lost motivation because of excessive celebration, but facts are facts. Boxing is a different animal, but we all have to try not to have the sincerity of a used car salesman.
When he wakes up, I hope Ruiz is woke. Andy, stop the talk of a third fight, there is credibility to restore before that is an option.