"There's no excuses. The partying got the best of me" - Andy Ruiz
The American is itching for a trilogy fight, but he may have to wait awhile.
Back in April, Andy Ruiz was fighting Germany's Alexander Dimitrenko at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. He earned ¢200,000 for his win, which was the 32nd of a professional career stretching back 10 years.
When Jarrell Miller pulled out of his title fight with Anthony Joshua, last summer, Ruiz got on Instagram and sent out messages to the Joshua camp informing them he was ready to step up. They accepted and surely regretted doing so when, on June 1 at Madison Square Garden, the 30-year-old stunned Joshua to win the WBO, IBF, WBA and IBO world heavyweight belts.
The one thing the Joshua camp did right, however, was get an immediate rematch clause in that fight contract. And so it was that, at Saudi Arabia's Diriyah Arena, Joshua vs. Ruiz II was played out.
Ruiz talked a good fight leading into the Saturday night headliner but his confounded the expectations of his coach, to weigh in at 265lbs, and tipped the scales at 283lbs. All pre-fight talk of Ruiz lacking the proper conditioning was dismissed but he certainly looked sluggish against the British boxer.
Joshua boxed hard and smart, using his jab to keep Ruiz at bay and barely looking troubled throughout. The champion must have known he was behind on the judges' scorecards, going into the final rounds, as there was a late press at the start of the 11th and 12th rounds but he flagged and could not press Joshua as he would have wanted.
At the end, with Joshua confidently raising his hands before his name was called out, the judges unanimously went against Ruiz (118-110, 118-110, 119-109). The belt's were back in Joshua's hands.
Following the fight, Ruiz admitted that he had been celebrating his June world title victory a little too hard, and for a little too long. He told reporters:
"I should have trained harder. I should have listened to my team and coaches. For this fight I was overweight. I didn't move how I wanted to."
"I don't want to say the three months of partying or celebrating didn't affect me," he added, "as, to tell you the truth, it kind of did. There's no excuses. The partying got the best of me. The next fight is going to be a lot different.
"People are still doubting me. I am still a dangerous fighter to anyone in the division. At 100% I can dominate anyone in the world. You best believe I am going to come back and be the heavyweight champion of the world once again."
Ruiz is pressing for a trilogy fight against Joshua but may well have to take a ticket and get in line. Joshua looks set to defend his WBO crown against that division's No.1 contender Oleksandr Usyk in Spring 2020.
While he awaits that fight, should it come down the line, Ruiz can reflect on the $13 million pay-day he received for defending those four world titles. Joshua, the challenger, is reported to have earned north of $60m for the bout, up from the $25m he claimed for his summer loss to Ruiz.