The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro brought a new wrinkle to the biggest competition in amateur boxing, as professional fighters were allowed to compete in the Games for the first time. Only a few took part, and without much success.
None of them names who went to Rio were as big in pro boxing — or nearly as big — as Andy Ruiz Jr is right now, and the current WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titleholder has indicated an interest in representing Mexico at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Sería un gran honor representar a México en Juegos Olímpicos, tengo que ver los posibles compromisos contractuales, pero haremos todo lo posible para aportar de cualquier forma y poner el nombre de México en alto una vez más. ¡¡¡GRAN iniciativa!!! @lopezobrador_ @MiguelTorrucoG pic.twitter.com/ijyAwVrFK1— AndyRuizjr (@Andy_destroyer1) September 30, 2019
“It would be a great honor to represent Mexico in the Olympic Games,” he wrote. “I have to see the possible contractual commitments, but we will do everything possible to contribute in any way and put the name of Mexico high once again. Great initiative!”
Ruiz, 30, is set to rematch Anthony Joshua on Dec. 7 in Saudi Arabia, which will stream live on DAZN, six months after the Californian shocked the world in New York, coming in as a late sub and stopping Joshua in the seventh round to win the three titles.
It was the biggest upset and story in boxing this year, and a candidate for Fight of the Year, too. There was plenty of haggling over the rematch, even though Ruiz (33-1, 22 KO) was contractually obligated to do one if Joshua (22-1, 21 KO) exercised that right, which he did. In the end, the deal got done, and everyone’s going to make a lot of money.
If Ruiz beats Joshua again, there’s the potential for a massive money fight in 2020 with WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder. Both men are PBC fighters, which means it would be easy to make in theory. There are a lot of hoops to jump through — Wilder has to beat Luis Ortiz on Nov. 23, then he’s slated for a February rematch with Tyson Fury, neither an easy task, and Ruiz could easily fall victim to sanctioning body politics if one of the WBA, IBF, or WBO choose to strip him for failing to meet a mandatory challenger or whatever. Plus, you know, he has to actually beat Joshua again.
The Olympics thing is worth noting, but really should be secondary to his pro concerns. There’s a lot of money out there for him — even if he loses to Joshua in December, there’s trilogy potential, and even if they all didn’t go that route, he’s already made himself a major name in the sport with just the one huge win.
More likely than not it’s just him saying something to put it out there. But he did represent Mexico as an amateur, and attempted to qualify for the 2008 Olympics, coming up short with losses to Robert Alfonso of Cuba and Oscar Rivas of Colombia.
Andy Ruiz Jr’s story has already been plenty unexpected, so what would one more curveball next summer be, I suppose?