Boxing news: Andy Ruiz Jr wrote his name into the history books on Saturday night (Image: GETTY)
Andres Ponce Ruiz Jr, better known by his stage name Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz, doesn’t look the part. He is that guy with his shirt on at pool parties and resembles at least one of every Mexicans uncle. Joking aside, Andy isn’t your typical boxer. He is the now unified WBA/WBO/IBO/IBF Heavyweight Champion of the world after his history making and odds-defying upset win over U.K Superstar Anthony Joshua this past Saturday in Madison Square Garden, New York. Andy Ruiz Jr became a household name literally overnight. Evidenced by his peak #4 position on Worldwide Trending Twitter topics Sunday. Number one in Mexico during the same time. Andy is set to bask in fame and riches following a win of this magnitude. But had it been his decision, his fate would be on a different squared circle. A diamond one.
Baseball was a young Andy’s passion. The elder Ruiz, a Mexican immigrant, nudged him towards boxing after a series of “incidents”. “I was 6 years old when I first started training,” Ruiz told TR Promotions “and I was 7 when I had my first fight. I was a little troublemaker when I was young. I was fighting and all that and my dad just took me in there to the gym.” After what transpired this past weekend, we can confidently say, great call senor!
Heading into Saturdays showdown, Andy ranged anywhere from 20-1 to an 11-1 underdog. Most casual observers took one glance at his physique and immediately chalked it up as a “tune-up” fight for Anthony Joshua. It wasn’t necessarily body shaming Andy for picking against him due to A.J.’s chiseled biceps and ripped abs. A quick game of word association with “athlete” or “pro” instantly brings thoughts of someone in peak and prime shape. And in an individual sport as violent as boxing, fans and experts can usually gauge how a fight will progress simply by examining each combatants body composition. Be it before training camp, during camp or at the weigh-in. Usually. But instead of putting so much focus on Andy’s B.M.I. pre-fight, attention would’ve been better spent focusing on how he was even in position to land a money fight with A.J.
Andy debuted into the paid pro ranks in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The region he proudly reps. “I represent Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico,” he has stated in prior interviews, “I always trained in Mexicali since I was young.” Also fighting in the country, he represented for many amateur tournaments including a dual against their U.S. counterparts and the qualifying round at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Side Rant: Yes, A Mexican born in the U.S. We’re talking heritage here. The full range of inherited traditions and culture one is defined by. The inclusion of Mexican contemporary activities and the meanings associated with them. Millions of sons and daughters of Mexican immigrants, just like Andy, will be damned if anyone tells them they are not Mexican! )
His career was brought along at a normal rate of any top prospect. At 19-0 Andy was matched tough in subsequent bouts against 21-0 Joe Hanks and once touted super prospect Tor Hammer. Neither man made it past four rounds with the latter retiring on his stool, unable to answer the bell. Wining ways eventually paid off in the form of his first title shot versus champion at the time Joseph Parker in Parker's native Auckland, New Zealand. After re-watching the fight for a third time my feelings remain the same, had the city host been neutral, Andy could very well already been champ. A sentiment felt by many. Promotional issues shelved Andy for all of 2017. After buying his contract out with Top Rank Promotions, he signed with boxing mega adviser Al Haymon and the Premier Boxing Championship.
Andy made his P.B.C introduction just 42 days prior to his fight with A.J., knocking out Alexander Dimitrinko in five rounds live on Fox. By then, news of initial Joshua opponent, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, testing positive for P.E.D.’s had made the rounds. It was only after Luis Ortiz reportedly turned down 2 career high seven figure purses was Andy’s name mentioned. On short notice having just recently fought, Andy still stepped up, in similar fashion during his leading contender for Round of The Year. The third stanza versus A.J.
“When you hit Andy in the mouth, he turns into the devil!” said an emphatic Manny Robles during an interview.
Head trainer to Andy Ruiz. The quote resonated with shades of Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales. Mexican legends who when hurt, were even more dangerous! Add Andy’s name to that list. After being floored with a Joshua power left hook, down for the first time in his career, Andy rose composed. When fighting commenced he immediately took a straight power right that triggered something. He immediately began to fire back. Joshua missed with a wild right uppercut that Andy timed with a counter left on the temple. The shot that staggered A.J and would eventually drop him. He beat the count but never fully recovered and was down again towards the end of the round. Saved by the bell. After a valiant effort, two more knockdowns in round seven had A.J. spitting his mouthpiece out, looking at his corner, a defeated man. Referee Michael Griffin agreed and stopped the bout with 1:27 left in round seven. History had been made.
Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz destroyed the myth that muscles automatically equates to fighting ability. It doesn’t. The same goes for a heavier set gentleman. Technique and ability is forged in boxing gyms. Hours upon hours of dedication to a craft. In the fight game, training how to fight will always trump any personal looks stereotypes. There was nothing fluky about how Andy won. One hundred percent of the credit goes to Andy and his team, as opposed to attempts to discredit by claiming something is wrong with A.J. The better man won that night. Plain and simple. With the win, Andy infuses the boxing crazed and extremely patriotic Mexican fan base into the Heavyweight division. If the rematch does happen, the U.K Fans plus the Mexican fan-base will create global event! Seeing as how the Wilder/Fury/Joshua soap opera unfolded, it is a damn good welcome sight!
Article Written By:
Manuel “Hopper” Dominguez